Whats This About?
You may or may not have heard of Advanta before, but if not you may want to read about my experiences with them first. Advanta bank began in 1951, founded by a school teacher from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Originally Advanta operated as a company that offered private loans to Teachers. Today Advanta is a major corporation that produces, services, and sells small business credit card and home equity loans. They also provide credit life, disability, and unemployment insurance. At one time Advanta Bank was ranked by Fortune Magazine as one of the best companies to work for in the United States. That is not the case today!
WHAT LED ME TO ADVANTA
A few years ago I was running a daycare in my home (yes me). I did not have alot of finances to support the home business in the beginning to purchase all the necessary supplies that are needed in the daycare setting. Shortly after the business began, I received a notice from Advanta Bank offering me a low interest "Small Business Credit Card". Apparently they were known for their business credit cards. With a very generous credit line offering as well as that low interest rate, I quickly jumped at the offer. A few weeks later and I had the financial support I needed in my hands to buy the necessary items I needed for my daycare. My daycare by this time was making enough money to allow me to make my monthly bills including this new business credit card. Life seemed swell at the moment.
THE TURNING POINT
I had the card a couple of years and had a fair amount of debt accrued on the limit. My initial low interest rate that lured me in had now jumped up to 12.9%, but I expected it with the struggling economy. My daycare however was thriving keeping me busy 6 days a week, 12-14 hours a day. As a result, I could handle the new higher interest rate on the card.
Then, I received a notice from Advanta Bank that they would be closing my business credit card account effective the end of that month...May 2009! It had nothing to do with me they said, because they were actually closing every single business card account for every customer they had. I was a bit stunned by the short notice and abrupt closure, but by this time I was financially able to effectively get by in my business without that credit card anyway. I could just keep paying it down every month and eventually pay it off in full when I could.
Unfortunately for me, the following month I receive my bill, and the account is closed as expected, but my interest rate had went up.... WAY up!
This company had raised my interest rate up to 34.99%. That means I pay 35 cents in interest for every dollar I pay on my balance. This was just insane and I was not going to have this for sure. So I had to do something about it!
AN ANGRY MAN
I have been paying on that closed account ever since then faithfully including the obscene interest rate. I just cant let my credit go down just because of these crooked credit card companies. But finally, I decided enough is enough. I don't deserve this kind of treatment after always paying on time, and usually more than the amount due. Advanta had filed for bankruptcy and even settled a lawsuit which resulted in them sending out measly little checks to customers like me that was supposed to make up for all the headache that they had put us through. That $120 check they sent didnt ease my headache much and the 34.99% interest rate was still there. I had been researching the company for several months reading the numerous complaints by other people who were in the exact same predicament I was in. I tried calling the customer service phone number on my statement. That only resulted in me getting a foreign accented man on the other end of the phone telling me there was nothing that could be done because the account was closed. A few days later I tried again and got another foreign accent telling me the same thing. I tried arguing my way to success both times and still no luck. Then it struck me....I went to the BBB website BBB.ORG and I looked up Advanta. From the website, I was able to get the name and address of the VP of the company. I filed a complaint online with BBB while I was on the website, and then I sat down and I wrote a letter to the VP of Advanta Bank. I explained my situation to her and asked that my interest rate be reduced to the rate before the account was closed and that they reimburse me for the extra interest money I had paid since that time ( I was pushing it, but I was angry).
Today, just over a month since I sent that letter, I received a response. Effective on my next statement of March 2010, my interest rate will be reduced to the current prime rate...which puts it at almost 17%. I know its not very low still, but I did manage to get the rate cut in half by writing that letter, and for that I am happy!