Here are a few of the many things one very major credit card company says in their "terms and conditions."

Nobody ever reads this stuff, but read it now! It will give you a chill on a hot day.

  • All your APRs may automatically increase up to the Default APR if you default under any card member agreement that you have with us because you fail to make a payment to us when due, you exceed your credit line, or you make a payment to us that is not honored.

    [Do you get it: one mistake could raise all the interest rates on everything.]

  • We apply your payments to low APR balances before higher APR balances. That means your savings will be reduced if you make transactions that are subject to higher APRs.

    [Get it? Maybe not, since the statement is confusing, and seems to be written to imply that it's good for you. But here's what that misleading statement really says: we don't pay off your charges you made at high interest rates first. We pay off the charges you made at low interest rates first. That way, we can keep charging you high interest rates! Thanks!]

  • We have the right to change the rates, fees, and terms at any time, for any reason in accordance with the cardmember agreement and applicable law.

    [Not nice, but at least clear: they can change the rate for any reason in the world. And look at some of the specific reasons they can raise your rate:

    • Failure to make payments to another creditor when due.
      [You are one day late on your telephone bill, for instance.]

    • Amounts owed to other creditors.
      [Do you know the word "vague?" This statement defines vague.]

    • Competitive or market-related factors.
      [This is funny! For them, at least! Here's what this really says: If we think we can get away with charging you more, we have the right to charge you more! Thanks again!]

Better read the fine print next time!