Thursday, August 16, 2007

You MUST be kidding, consumers personally bear the price of crime?!

Well, El 3atal and I went to apply for credit cards for our business and personal accounts today (I'm beginning to hate any trip to the bank as it invariably takes almost an hour, by the way). We started signing documents and completing paperwork and what not. Now, I'm one of those rare people who reads everything (and I DO mean everything) that is put in front of me before I sign it. I made the mortgage closing attorneys in the US crazy. I even caused one to be late for her next closing because she scheduled it too close after mine thinking I'd be like all the other clients and just sign everything she gave me trusting her that it said what she said it did... :).

So, while signing documents, I took the time to read this special paper they gave me. Whenever a company of any type gives me a paper about one specific term from their terms and conditions, it tells me that it is either a) very unusual, b) very problematic for them, or c) both. So this specific paper called out term 5 of their Terms and Conditions document. What is term 5? Well apparently it says that if someone STEALS my credit card, I will pay for ALL of the charges. Yes, that's right. A criminal steals my credit card and I am liable to pay the money THEY spent back. Okay, I'm sorry, but you MUST be kidding. Theft is, indeed, a cost of doing business. It is a cost that offsets the profit they make charging interest, etc. So, I have no sympathy for them.

Having had very personal experience with this (in the US someone stole our credit card number, created their own card with THEIR name on it, and spent several thousand dollars right out of our bank account when El 3atal and I were out of town), there's no way I'm bearing the bank's risk for this. I'm not sure if it's a good thing that they don't have enough of these serious, sophisticated crimes to even conceptualize of them, but for the consumer it sure isn't. So, once again I'm amazed at the lack of logic and willingness of consumers to take on costs that should not be theirs. In the US, the lender must explicitly state what your liability is in case of a stolen credit card, etc. For most credit cards, it hovers around $50 of liability as long as you report the theft within 2 days of receiving a bank statement or becoming aware of the issue. There is a government-mandated maximum as I recall as well.

So, El 3atal and I did exactly what we can do as consumers, we voted with our feet and walked out the door. No thank you, Arab Bank, we don't want to bear YOUR cost of doing business. And, I highly recommend to all of you out there, read EVERYTHING before you sign it!

Happy reading!


At 10:02 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arab bank sucks, they treat their customers terribly.

At 8:22 AM , Blogger Dave said...

Apparently that's not one of the 5 rings of "service" that they are touting in their new advertising campaign.

At 10:35 PM , Blogger MommaBean said...

Anon, Thanks for visiting. Given our lackluster experience with HSBC, we've found Arab Bank's service in general to be not bad. But, this was rather over the edge of reason for me.

Dave, must not be ;).

At 1:05 PM , Blogger Sam said...

wow how pathetic! im glad i do not have a credit card with them..


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