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Card companies' 'usurious' rates

March 01, 2009

Re: David Lazarus' consumer column, "Loophole lets rates rise on credit cards," Feb. 18:

Thank you for the superb columns regarding the unscrupulous practices of credit card companies.

I live in Virginia, home to one of the worst national operations: Capital One.

The columns are both timely and extremely important.

For some time, I have been wondering why my own Virginia newspaper isn't writing about the powerful credit card companies and their unethical practices.

I am not opposed to credit cards. They are a great convenience to me personally and to my family.

I am opposed to usury, however, and as Mr. Lazarus pointed out, the national credit card industry got the green light to implement usurious interest rates and invent any and all kinds of new fees -- over-limit fees, late fees, cash advance fees, annual fees, etc.

When coupled with unregulated interest charges, the fees could push the actual rates charged to more than 100%.

How can this be legal in the U.S.? Why is our government not protecting us?

Barbara Martinet

Roanoke, Va.

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