Thursday, April 30, 2009

Double-shift: Tom's a legislatin'

Today, Congress passed an amendment Rep. Perriello attached to the Credit Cardholder's Bill of Rights Act of 2009. Perriello's amendment would require that a 6-month minimum period for promotional or teaser rates credit card companies use to entice new and potential cardholders, usually targeting vulnerable college students. Saith Perriello:
“The movement for accountability scored a victory today against the tricks, traps and usurious greed in the credit card industry. If they can't sell the product without using traps, that's a good time for consumer protection,” said Perriello. “This bill and my amendment put in place common-sense regulations that will protect all consumers, but especially college students who are disproportionately targeted.”
Perriello's amendment passed by an unanimous voice vote, and you can see a video of him, on the House floor, articulating his amendment here.

From Perriello's press release, some background on the Credit Cardholder's Bill of Rights Act:
[T]he Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act of 2009 ... would create new protections for consumers facing excessive credit card fees, sky-high interest rates, and unfair, incomprehensible credit card company agreements.
The legislation would ban retroactive interest rate hikes on existing balances (except when payments are more than 30 days late), double-cycle billing, and due-date gimmicks. Specifically, the bill protects cardholders against arbitrary interest rate increases, and empowers them to set limits on their credit and requires card companies to fairly credit and allocate payments. It also prohibits charging fees just to pay a bill by phone, charging over-the-limit fees unless a consumer opts-in in advance or issuing credits cards to minors.

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