November 20th, 2009
09:00 AM ET
13 years ago

A push to simplify credit card 'gobbledygook'

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Have you ever read your credit card contract? If not, you're not alone. Most cardholders never read the long complicated legalese in a credit card agreement.

It's one reason so many people are stunned when they're hit with unexpected rate increases or penalty fees: It's in the small print.

CNN asked 13 credit card holders to review a basic five-page credit card agreement. Only four of them were able to find the annual percentage rate, and it wasn't easy.

"It's very confusing, and I'm an intelligent person," Amy Gould said, adding that she thinks the credit card companies have a stake in keeping their agreements opaque. "I think it tries to make the consumer confused. It takes advantage."

Alan Siegel thinks he has the answer. He runs Siegel+Gale, a marketing firm that's specialized in contract simplification for 30 years. He's simplified agreements for the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Mint, major banks and insurance companies. He believes that it's time credit card companies got on board.

According to Siegel, the current contracts are full of "gobbledygook." He insists that "it's a total disregard and disrespectful to the relationship with the consumer." He believes that card companies can make their agreements crystal clear.

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soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Lynne

    Why isn't CNN reporting that the Republicans killed legislation which would have frozen credit cards interest rates.

    It seems that regardless of what Congress does big banks, insurance companies and corporations always come out the winners?? Who is running the show in this socalled "democracy??

    November 20, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  2. The First Dud

    First they decry analysis by DHS on right wing religious extremists. Now they complain Hasan wasn't "profiled".

    They want to say we are "at war" w/ terrorism and designate Hasan as a "terrorist", thereby defining our own troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan as terrorists there by the very same definition.

    Who do they love? Not America.

    November 20, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |