Recently, the school system for which I worked acquired a new bookkeeper. Consequently, my paycheck was late. I called HSBC on the day my payment was due to let them know that due to the above circumstances out of my control my payment would be one business day late. The customer service rep said no problem, I'll note your account. I made the payment as promised.
HSBC slapped me with a late charge. We went around and around on this issue, and I have the emails to prove it, before they finally credited me the late charge.
Two weeks later I get a letter in the mail that they're raising my interest rate to 26.99 percent or I could keep my present rate with them if I wanted to close my account. I emailed and told them I wasn't going to pay, and furthermore, if my business with them isn't important enough to keep my interest rate at its present level and keep my account open, then my money wasn't good enough for them either. We went around and around again (and I have these emails as well) with their repeated request that I call their customer service and me replying to them, you have my phone number and the last time I called your customer service it didn't do me a bit of good.
I prefer everything in writing now when dealing with these banks, whether it's email or snail mail. I believe the raising of my interest rate was pure retaliation, just because they could. I'm through lying down to be a convenient doormat for banks.
I refuse to pay until they lower their interest rate, plus now drop all the resulting late charges they've added to my account. I don't give a damn about my credit rating--this is a merely tool created by the banks to herd frightened people into line. What they don't tell you is that in two or three years of regular, on-time payments to your other accounts, your credit rating bounces right back.
I have two other banks who thought to arbitrarily try to extort more money out of me by raising their rates that I have also refused to pay--Bank of America, who pulled the classic bait and switch when I did try to work out a settlement with them, and WaMu, who tried to extort ten more points in interest out of me just before they went bankrupt.
To my way of thinking, these banks have already made their money on me, in interest alone, and now I get to pay them a second time because of the bailout. I don't feel bad for not paying them. I think more folks should stand up to them in this manner--perhaps then they wouldn't try to blatantly rob us like they do when we let them.