About half of consumers claimed they were repriced by their credit card company, while 20% reported a credit line decrease. Although one-quarter of consumers admitted that the increased interest rate was a result of some action on their part (i.e., they were late or over the limit on their card), the remaining three-quarters said they had no idea why or felt they were not the cause of the change to their credit card account, according to a survey of 503 credit card users in June 2009.
"Even consumers who weren't entirely surprised to be re-priced expressed strong dissatisfaction with the reason given by their credit card issuer," says Nancy Stahl, editor of Cardbeat. Eighty percent of these consumers reacted to the re-pricing by reducing their usage on the affected credit card, using some type of cash equivalent (debit card, cash, or check) as an alternative form of payment.
"While issuers may feel that their communications were
adequate, consumers, to a large extent, don't agree," Stahl says. "At a time when credit cards are suffering from an unfavorable image, it's important to make cardholders feel that they've been given
a clear explanation, however unwelcome the news itself may be."--Tanya Irwin