Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sometimes the little guy wins after all!

Congratulations and kudos to Ann Minch, who mounted a one-woman crusade against Bank of America for its treatment of her, and called for a consumer's revolt against it and other banks like it.

On September 8th, Ms. Minch posted this video on YouTube.

Within days it had 'gone viral', with tens of thousands of views. On September 11th, she posted this follow-up video.

It seems Bank of America couldn't take the heat. The Consumerist reports:

A BoA executive contacted Minch to talk about her situation, her video, and her debts, and negotiated a 12.99% interest rate. The executive explained to her that her interest rate was hiked up to over 30% because of one missed payment. In 2008.

Interestingly, the bank has not asked her to stop her Internet activities or to take the video down. She plans further "debtors' revolt" activities in the future, and hopes to help other Americans in similar situations. As banks tighten their lending standards and are generally more cautious, this is a good thing for all credit card customers to keep in mind.

There's more at the link.

Ann Minch posted this video about her victory on September 19th.

A professor has pointed out that such consumer activism is growing in popularity - and having an effect.

Tom Hollihan, a communications professor at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Journalism in Los Angeles, said social networking sites such as YouTube and Facebook have caught the attention of companies big and small.

"She was able to use it to embarrass the bank," Hollihan said by phone Monday. "Social networking sites are very useful in a way to get the word out and help drive consumer choices in a way businesses have to take notice."

Hollihan noted there are several examples in which consumers have voiced their outrage with companies over the Internet.

"One of the most dramatic is the Whole Foods political activism against the founder," Hollihan said.

. . .

Even more impressive is Canadian singer-songwriter Dave Carroll's YouTube protest song against United Airlines' treatment of his guitar. Posted in July, "United Breaks Guitars" has generated more than 5.5 million views.

Carroll is scheduled to speak in Washington, D.C., today during a Congressional hearing on passenger rights.

Meanwhile, Minch told her audience Saturday that the war against the big banks isn't over. She has started a Web site ( that's under construction.

"Just because my personal account situation has apparently been resolved, this is a small victory for the debtors revolt movement," Minch said Saturday on YouTube. "The movement marches on."

And so it should! More power to you, Ms. Minch. Fight the good fight!



Anonymous said...

I can't watch the videos yet (I'm at work). But I know how Ms Minch feels. Yes, I carry some credit card debt. But I've never had a missed payment yet, and I always pay more then minimum. But because of the new laws coming into effect (1 Oct?), suddenly my APR been bumped up 3-5%. WTF!!

My resolve is to bitch over the phone as often as possible to try & get my APR back down; to use the plastic as seldom as possible (none at all if I can help it); and to bust a gut paying it off as quick as possible.

After that, they can put the APR anywhere they want. It won't matter if I don't have a balance.

B Woodman

On a Wing and a Whim said...

I refuse to use a BOA card at all, as they not only make money on the consumer's interest, but also on the fees they charge the vendor (yep, they double-dip. That's why places don't carry AmEx when they're a nice card to have - because the vendor fees mean charges under $25 are usually unprofitable.)

I don't like them or their practices, so I refuse to fund them.