Discover Card

The following story was related to me the other day by someone who is in a temporary financial hardship trying to make reasonable arrangements to pay off her Discover Card balance:

"We had moved to a different state about a year ago and were having difficulty getting jobs.  It seemed as if I had a job, my husband didn't, or if he had a job I didn't.  Both of us are highly skilled, and we need to make a certain amount of money just to keep our heads above water, but finding good paying jobs like we were used to is impossible.  Discover card had worked with me originally, putting me on a lower payment-lower interest plan for a year that allowed me to pay off over $1000 of the principal balance of what I owed at $100 per month for the year. 

"Unfortunately, that year was up and the payment went back to the normal amount of $209, with interest at 24%.  Of that $209, $193 was for interest.  Then my husband was laid off from his job...they had no more work.  So on the due date of that $209 payment, with $300 in my bank account, I called Discover to see if I could be put back on the $100 per month plan for another year.  I told them I could pay $100 right then, but could not in good conscious pay the $209 of which $193 would be to line Discover's pockets.  I needed to buy groceries and gas.

"Discover could not (or would not) do it.  The best they could offer me was to lower my interest rate to 12%, which would lower my payment over time as more of the payment would go to principal.  I told her I could not pay the $209 today, and that didn't help me.  She pointed out that I had a valid debt that I owed and needed to pay.  I pointed out to her that I wanted to pay my debts, but I wasn't able to under these terms.  My situation had changed since I incurred the debt, that I wanted to pay Discover what I owed and I was happy to pay some interest, but that they needed to work with me to make the arrangements more manageable under my current circumstances.  I also told her that I was being proactive, trying to work something out before I had to default on the payments, and that it was a shame that Discover wouldn't work with me unless I was in default.

"There was nothing she could do.  I did not make the payment.  The CEO of Discover Card made $8.5 million last year."

That is what's wrong with America.

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