Credit Card Companies Raising Rates Ahead of Reform

Rep. Betsy Markey Calling On Companies To Stop

New federal rules are supposed to protect you from high credit card fees and surprise rate hikes, but before they go into effect, lawmakers said some credit card companies are rushing to raise rates while they still can.

"I assume I got the same letter thousands of others got," said Ed Robert, of Fort Collins. "It meant much higher fees from my credit card company."

He called his congresswoman, Rep. Betsy Markey, D-Colo., who has heard the same story from too many constituents.

"We have asked the taxpayer to bail out these same companies that are now turning around and kicking it to the taxpayer, in terms of increased rates," said Markey. "And it is absolutely unfair. It is ridiculous."

Markey led a group of 18 House members, including Colorado Reps. Ed Perlmutter and John Salazar, in sending a letter to the country's major credit card companies urging them to avoid "unreasonably raising rates" before the Credit Reform Act takes effect in February 2010.

Lawmakers are working to move the effective date forward to Dec. 1, but banks such as Wells Fargo are raising their rates starting Nov. 30.

Robert said what happened to him is a perfect example of why the reform was needed in the first place.

"I just think it's a positive step for the government to step in and have some kind of control over these increases and letting people know ahead of time what to expect," he said.

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