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Credit cards are optional

November 01, 2009

Re: David Lazarus' consumer column "Consumers need credit card laws, fast," Oct. 25:

I'm beginning to think that David Lazarus and I live in different universes. He relates a story of how a man got a notice from Citibank that his rate was increasing dramatically and is now planning to switch cards.

To me, this shows that our free enterprise system works: Customers are free to go elsewhere when they feel a business doesn't treat them well.

In Lazarus' universe, this makes it clear that we need government protection. He compares bank practices to how Tony Soprano operated.

But in my universe that doesn't make sense at all. As far as I can tell, Citibank never threatened to break its customers' kneecaps if they switched allegiance to another bank or cut up their cards.

So just what do we need protection from?

Adam Beneschan

Mission Viejo

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The quickest, easiest way to avoid such abuses is to join a credit union. Very few credit unions charge fees for their credit cards, and their interest rates tend to be much lower than those charged by banks.

Of course, few credit unions offer cards with "points" or "miles." But when you consider the cost of such rewards, are they really a benefit?

David E. Ross

Oak Park

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It's naive to blame banks for reacting to government regulations instead of blaming the government for instituting the regulations. Increased fees, higher interest rates and account closures are a product of the regulations that take effect next year.

This was predicted by many as exactly the response the banks would take if this silly law passed. Congress and the media ignored the warnings.

Remember, the banks are providing a service that must be paid for. If consumers didn't like the rules before the law passed, they had the option to cancel their credit cards and use cash, debit cards or different credit cards.

Jeffery Smith

Westminster

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Lazarus seems to think the government should protect citizens from their own foolishness. Owning and using a credit card is strictly voluntary and a privilege. Most, if not all, people who carry a balance on their cards should be heading for the nearest pair of scissors.

William Smith

Lake Arrowhead

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