Credit card debt negotiations may be tougher

With new credit laws in effect, some consumers may find that trying to negotiate with card companies about their debt problems has become a little stickier.

In a recent column from MarketWatch, Chuck Jaffe noted that stories of consumers being hit with new rates or minimum payments on their credit card debt have become more commonplace. As card companies try to deal with more uncertain economic times and new federal regulations, consumers may be the ones who are affected.

Given that, Jaffe said some consumers may want to know what they can do when dealing with the new operating procedures of credit card companies. As it turns out, there might not be a whole lot consumers can do.

“Arguing with a card issuer over the way they have treated you – or mistreated you, more likely – is like fighting City Hall or working with a nasty boss: resistance feels futile,” Jaffe noted.

There was a time when cardholders could try and traverse the corporate chain of command in order to get what they want, but times have changed. Though card companies may work with consumers to give them what they want, creditors may ask for something in return, such as increasing interest rates.

Under the terms of the new Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act, credit card companies will have to give cardholders 45 days notice when making changes to their account’s fees or rates. Consumers have the right to opt out, but will have to freeze their accounts in order to do so.