My hat’s off to Linda Sherry, the director of national priorities at Consumer Action (CA), for her 13 years of work in protecting our rights, whether the issue is unfair credit card practices, Internet privacy, insurance fraud, or bankruptcy reform. Linda is in charge of researching and writing the many free publications CA offers on these and other subjects – in addition to its important annual surveys of banks, credit cards, prepaid phone cards, and long distance telephone carriers. Much of the information Linda and her team assemble are available right on CA’s easy-to-use Web site, in Chinese, Korean, Spanish, and Vietnamese, as well as in English.
During a recent phone conversation, the topic quickly turned from what Linda has accomplished over the years to what we can do now to get more consumer-friendly credit card legislation in place. The first step, Linda says, is to pay a visit to the Take@ction Center on CA’s site, where you’ll find lots of info on unfair credit card practices, and a form letter that makes it easy to tell legislators you want them stopped.
From where Linda sits, Congress is at a real "tipping point." As she explains it,
"Congress is poised on the edge, and it could go either way. Many would like to say that the credit card industry will clean itself up. The reality is that many in Congress understand that consumers are really being hurt. If consumers push hard enough, we can convince legislators to focus on consumer rights."
Now Is the Time
Linda believes "we all need to be incredibly active’ now if we are to get this legislation through. She urges everyone to contact their senators and representatives – ideally via snail mail. Linda wants us to spring for the stamp because she believes a printed letter doubles the impact of an email. But either way you want to connect with your legislators is a big help from her perspective.
Consumer Action’s form letter is a snap to modify with your personal comments, if you’re so inclined. Want some additional points to make? I recommend "A Brief Summary of the Proposed Credit Card Reforms," by our chief CreditBlogger, Emily Davidson.
Whether you add something extra to your letter or not, you can then either email it, or print and send it off to your elected officials. If you’re willing to take it one more step, Linda recommends that you call your legislators’ local offices. Tell them about your letter, and say that you want their votes for consumer credit card protections.
Let’s make it clear that while they are off on a summer vacation, we’re focused on what Congress needs to do for us bill payers when they return. Please let us know what your elected official have to say in response!
Curtis Arnold, is the Founder of CardRatings.com, a website that provides ratings and reviews of over 20,000 credit card offers.