There are those who wonder why Americans are not in love with faceless banks, giant retailers and credit card purveyors.

A reader writes that, "Last week, we received a special $25 charge from a television service provider who had raised their rates about a week after we had paid our bill two months in advance. After investing considerable time in challenging the charge - which, of course, includes spending countless minutes on hold while they tend to other customers - we finally found someone who realized we had paid our bill religiously for years and did not deserve a surprise attack.

"Sears, one of this country's older corporate institutions, advised us recently, via Citibank," We may change the rates, fees and terms of this agreement at any time for any reason." This little treasure was found on page 10 of a 24-page credit agreement. How many of their customers actually read all 24 pages?"

These multinationals can arbitrarily change the date our payments are due and all of a sudden there is a $39 late charge. Most people never challenge it. It isn't worth the hours it takes to fight the system.

Corporate American also can decide when to post a payment. Although a charge is recorded within milliseconds, it somehow takes days for a payment to be posted - sometimes just enough days to incur a late fee. It can take months to correct an error that might go in our favor.

The practice of sending credit cards to students, most of whom are desperately needy but lack the means to repay the charges, is yet another scandal that we'll save for another day.

Corporate greed isn't just reserved for executive perks, bonuses and mismanagement that will cost our children billions of dollars. That same greed is applied each and every day as those we used to trust wring extra charges and fees out of innocent consumers.


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