Friday, April 02, 2010

THE WORST PEOPLE ON EARTH. Today's Times article about the scumbag banks ("Pay Garnishments Rise as Debtors Fall Behind") has stories of predatory lending and dunning practices so disgusting that I'm surprised Megan McArdle hasn't risen to their defense yet*.

One of the names of the banks' factota rang a bell, so I googled HSBC spokeswoman Kate Durham and found she'd appeared in this Chicago Tribune story I'd noticed a few days back:
When he died July 17, Elmer Duncan left a $2,361.04 balance on his Carson Pirie Scott credit card, which is administered by HSBC bank.

Since her name was never on the account, Ruby Duncan sent HSBC a copy of her husband's death certificate and assumed the debt would go away.

Instead, HSBC sent a new bill -- with her name on it...

In November, HSBC sent the account to collections in Ruby Duncan's name...

[Kate] Durham said she could not discuss the specifics of Duncan's case, citing privacy concerns. But she said the company's goal is to ensure "all of our customers receive a positive card experience with each and every interaction."
Helluva way to make a living, isn't it? Sometimes, though, Durham gets to report that HSBC has taken mercy on some of its victims -- when a newspaper threatens to publicize the situation. Other times, she updates the press on the legal disposition of the bank's crooked schemes ("HSBC spokeswoman Kate Durham confirmed the bank settled the case and said it admits no wrongdoing") and does straight-up stonewalling.

I used to work in public relations myself, and may again, but if things get so bad that I have consider a job like Durham's I may have to do the honorable thing and start breaking into church poor-boxes. God, is there anything lower than a banker?

* McArdle was apparently too busy being outraged at the post office -- which has outraged me in the past, too, but leave it to McArdle to put me in sympathy with the P.O.:
Now, I have no idea whether this is regulation run amok, combined with Soviet-level distributional inefficiency; or whether she simply didn't feel like dealing with my wedding invitations, and started making up rules to force me to take my damn business elsewhere.
Oh, what are the odds?

UPDATE. The comments are all about Megan McArdle! Banks, people! Don't you care about -- oh, the hell with it, she's appalling, isn't she? Next she'll complain that she has to pay money for the marriage license, which will just be used to subsidize looters and wreckers. Or has she done this already? I'm scared to look.

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