Friday, July 23, 2010

Credit card contracts unreadable for most Americans

Credit card contracts unreadable for 80% of Americans"Credit card contracts and other such documents are written in dense prose for a reason: So that the customer will NOT be able to understand it," notes Roy Peter Clark, a national expert on writing and a senior scholar at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla. "I may be cynical, but I don't think their writing strategies are accidental, the collateral damage of a bureaucratic mindset. I think those writers know exactly what they are doing."
Yes. And one might say the same thing about CC&Rs.


Anonymous said...

And if there's some clause in either the credit card contract or the CC&Rs that waives your 13th amendment rights and contracts you into slavery -- even if the slavery clause is a post-signing unilateral amendment -- the Ayn Randians will side with the slave owners.

gnut said...

from :


Actually going through the mortgage process is a reminder of one of the reasons that things went so badly wrong during the housing bubble; we are inundated with paper. There are disclosures about the Mortgage Disclosure Improvement Act telling us we have seven days to review any change in our APR; disclosures about the Home Valuation Code of Conduct, even a disclosure solemnly informing us that the bank intends to check credit scores and may not loan us money if there’s a bad payment history of too much debt.

I’m pretty good with paperwork, and I understand all the terms being used (not to mention the laws being referenced), and I find it impossible to keep track of it all mentally–especially when you add in the tax returns, the W-2s, the bank statements and sworn certifications that all the money being used was legitimately earned or received as gifts. In fairness, we’re going through our credit union, which is apparently especially bureaucratic, but still–it’s very easy to develop a sort of attentional blindness and keep signing things. I requires heroic effort to read every document.

This illustrates, I think, the limits of transparency.

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If you follow the link to the original Atlantic article, reader "GWMustGo" (and others) posted a comment about HOA adhesion contracts that most readers of this blog are aware of, but makes an observation that I suspect that many of the conservative and libertarian and Republican apologists of privatized corporate communism are clueless about.