Oh no! I’ve been dumped by my credit card!

Did you know your credit card company can drop you for any reason? I didn’t either until I got the letter yesterday.

“We regret to inform you we have closed your credit card account,” the letter read.

I paused to deal with the shock.

“What?” I thought. “This can’t be happening to me. Not now. Not like this. There’s still so much I was hoping to do together.”

I read on.

“Our decision was based on your account having been inactive for 12 months. We will notify the credit bureaus within 60 days to advise that this account has been closed. We have appreciated the opportunity to serve your credit needs,” it continued.

“Well,” I thought, “that’s it then.”

Dumped by my credit card.

I’ve been on the receiving end of some harsh break-ups before, but this one hurt. No warnings. It just came out of the blue.

And they did it by mail? Cold.

Like others who have been scorned before, I couldn’t figure it out.

I had been faithful – no suspicious activity on my part. I was never late – I made all my payments on time. I never expected too much. I always stayed under my credit limit.

And now, kicked to the curb, and with such language!

“Inactivity?” Okay, well, I may not have always been the most physical, but “inactive” was going too far. “Notifying the credit bureau?” Well, that’s doesn’t seem necessary. And, “appreciated the opportunity to serve my needs?” Ouch.

There was only one thing to do. I needed some advice from a close friend. I consulted Google.

What I found didn’t help. It turns out I’m not the only one who has suffered at the hands of a fickle credit partner.

Ever hear the break-up line, “It’s not you, it’s me?” Well, in the case of your credit card, it’s true.

Seems it doesn’t matter how good you are to your credit provider. If they want to dump you, they will, because they can.

However, closing a credit card account for “no reason at all” is a bit of an overstatement. There is one reason: because you’re not profitable.

From the company’s perspective, if you’re not using the card, it makes more sense to offer that credit to someone else that will – and rack up lots of interest along the way.

Although the Credit CARD act of 2009 helped to increase protection against interest rate hikes and over-limit fees, credit cancellation policies remain largely unchanged.

Even if you’re not in default, your credit issuer can ditch you any time. The most common reason? You’re not using the account often enough.

“Sometimes we close accounts based not on your actions or inactions, but on our business needs,” my credit card agreement reads.

One consumer tried to battle a cancellation but to no avail.

After his card was cancelled, Paul Dieffenbach Jr. tried to sue Citizens Bank, but lost. Judges upheld the bank’s right to cancel his card despite the fact he had never missed a payment and never asked for an increase to his line of credit.

So, do card issuers have to warn you before they cut off your credit? Nope.

According to the CARD Act, creditors need to provide written notice to consumers 45 days before an interest rate increase or a “significant change” to the account’s terms.

Cancelling your card doesn’t qualify.

And how about your credit score? The news isn’t good there, either. Thirty percent of your FICO score comes from your “credit utilization ratio.” In other words, how much credit you’re using compared to how much you have available.

When your card gets canceled, you lose a big chunk of your available credit, resulting in a sudden increase in your utilization, if you carry balances on other cards. What does that mean? Your credit score will drop.

If you find yourself in that position, the best thing you can do is to pay down your existing debt or apply for a new card, which will again reduce your overall utilization.

In the end, no matter how responsible you may be, there are no guarantees you won’t receive a break-up letter like mine.

But at least you can try to learn from my mistake. If you’re looking for an equitable relationship, don’t count on your credit card company.

They’re very high-maintenance partners. If they’re not seeing you all the time, they lose interest.

Should a credit card be able to cancel your account for any reason?

Airline cancels route – but what about my credits?

Bruce Leibowitz/Shutterstock
Bruce Leibowitz/Shutterstock
Nancy Palmer cancels her flight from Seattle to Baltimore. Then her airline stops flying from Seattle to Baltimore. So what happens with the ticket credit she was offered? Is her ticket really nonrefundable?

Question: I’m writing about a recent issue I had with AirTran Airways and Southwest Airlines and am wondering if you can help. Last April, I booked a flight through Expedia from Seattle, where I live, to Baltimore, to see my parents. I had to cancel the flight, scheduled for June of last year, and Expedia sent me an email saying I had $399 in flight credits through AirTran, to use within one year.

Just recently, I tried to book the same flight — Seattle to Baltimore — and called Expedia to use my flight credits. Expedia got AirTran to release the tickets back to them, but then Expedia staff told me they found out that AirTran no longer flies from Seattle to Baltimore, or from Seattle to anywhere.
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What are airline ticket credits really worth?

Songquan Deng /
Songquan Deng /
Bethany Tully might have been forgiven for her confusion. After canceling an upcoming flight from San Francisco to Boston under unhappy circumstances, she discovered that her ticket credit on United Airlines was worth about half what she expected — an increasingly common complaint among air travelers.

Earlier this year, Tully, a chef based in San Francisco, had booked three tickets on to visit a close friend. “Tragedy struck just before the trip,” she says. “He committed suicide.”

A Hotwire representative assured the grief-stricken customer that she didn’t need to worry. “I was told that I could cancel the tickets and Hotwire would issue a full credit to be used within 12 months,” says Tully. “But I have tried numerous times to use the credits — one being for his funeral service — with no luck.”
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What is an airline credit really worth?

Yu Lan/Shutterstock
Yu Lan/Shutterstock
It happened to Louise Andrew twice last month. She made reservations on the United Airlines Web site, tried to cancel them within 24 hours for a full refund, and was told that the airline would be happy to issue a ticket credit instead.

“Both times, I was initially told that my purchase value would be applied to a future ticket,” says Andrew, an attorney from Redmond, Wash.

That didn’t make sense to her. United promises a no-questions-asked refund on most tickets as long as the request is made within a day of the reservation. And since 2011, the Department of Transportation has required airline reservations to be cancellable without penalty for at least 24 hours after the booking is made, unless the ticket is purchased one week or less before a flight’s departure date.
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That’s not the ticket credit you promised me

After a canceled flight, a merged airline and crossed wires with Expedia, Anoop Ramaswamy is the proud owner of a worthless airline ticket. Now what?

Question: I booked a roundtrip ticket from Buffalo, NY, to Chennai, India, on Continental Airlines, just before it merged with United Airlines. I used Expedia to make the reservation. I completed the one-way trip but due to a family medical issue, I had to cancel the return. I called Expedia and requested a cancellation.

Expedia issued a cancellation, saying it would be in the form of an airline credit that would last a year. I called Expedia a few months later to use my voucher, but was told they couldn’t book the flight because of the merger with United. They asked me to call United directly.

I called United and they informed me that fare rule mentions that I can only book the same return flight and nothing else.
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