Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Steffy: An open letter to dearest MasterCard

Loren Steffy, a business writer with the Houston Chronicle, has published an open letter to Mastercard in an attempt to introduce new terms to her credit agreement with the company: - Steffy: An open letter to dearest MasterCard:

"... Effective May 1, 2005, any compromise of my data will result in a $50 liability for you, the card issuer, owed to me, the card holder.

Cashing the payment check I sent you last month (which you did) shall constitute your acceptance of this agreement. Subsequent security breaches will compound the fee. I will spell out the terms of just how much these fees and related costs will escalate as soon as I find a typeface that is small enough.

Failure to comply with these changes will result in finance charges, compounded monthly and based on the average daily balance of the amount lost to fraud.

By the way, I recently incorporated myself in South Dakota, which means I can now engage in usury as much as you can. Therefore, I have selected an annual percentage rate of 28.7 percent. However, failure to make payments will force me to raise this rate to 73.9 percent, just because I can.

And one more thing. I expect my payment to be on my desk by 12:37 p.m. on the day it's due. I'm usually at lunch at that time, so I will consider it late if it's not there by 11:24 a.m. After that, all the previously listed finance charges will apply. The date the payment is mailed is irrelevant.

Also, given the widespread nature of the security problems, I am going to share information with my fellow consumers. If I determine you failed to secure their private account information, I may be forced to enact the terms specified in this agreement even though you did not violate the agreement with me. Call it universal default in reverse...."

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