“The credit card industry thrives on the confusion and powerlessness of consumers to both nickel and dime the average card-holder and to commit highway robbery of anyone who slips up even in the slightest,” said Levin.
The committee heard testimony from the CEOs of the top three credit card issuers in the U.S., as well an Ohio consumer, Wesley Wannemacher, who used a Chase Bank credit card in 2001 and 2002 to pay for approximately $3,200 in expenses for his wedding. These expenses exceeded the credit card limit of $3,000 by about $200. Over the next six years, he made payments toward the debt averaging about $1,000 per year, and as of February 2007, he had paid about $6,300 on his $3,200 debt. However, his statement showed that he still owed $4,400 – a total of $10,900 in charges for $3,200 in purchases.