TESTIMONY OF
TRAVIS B. PLUNKETT,
LEGISLATIVE DIRECTOR
ON BEHALF OF
THE CONSUMER FEDERATION OF AMERICA AND
CONSUMER ACTION
BEFORE THE
COMMITTEE ON BANKING, HOUSING AND URBAN AFFAIRS
OF THE
UNITED STATES SENATE
THE EFFECT OF CURRENT CREDIT CARD INDUSTRY
PRACTICES ON CONSUMERS
JANUARY 25, 2007

Mr. Chairman, Senator Shelby, and Members of the Committee, my name is Travis Plunkett and I am the legislative director of the Consumer Federation of America (CFA.)1 I am testifying today on behalf of CFA, the national consumer protection organization, Consumer Action,2 and Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports.3 I appreciate the opportunity to offer our comments on the effect of current credit card industry practices on
consumers.

Given the dramatic changes that have occurred in the credit card industry in recent years – and the negative impact that some of these changes have had on consumers – no industry in America is more deserving of oversight by Congress. For example, agencies that receive consumer complaints regularly report that credit card problems are a major concern. The U.S. Better Business Bureau reported more than 17,000 complaints about credit cards in 2004, the third highest source of consumer complaints after cellular phone services and new car dealers.4
There is clearly a need to examine many questionable practices in the industry including marketing, credit extension, the terms and conditions of credit card contracts and rising fees and interest rates. We applaud you for calling this important oversight hearing and look forward to working with you and the committee to enact legislation that will make this industry more consumer-friendly. In particular, Mr. Chairman, we urge this Committee to consider and to
move your legislation, S. 499 of 2005, which will address many of the abuses I will speak about today.

For the full testimony click here (PDF format only).