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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > October 2020 > Consumers Bombarded with Credit Card Interest Rate Phone Calls

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Consumers Bombarded with Credit Card Interest Rate Phone Calls

Imagine picking up the telephone and hearing a message supposedly from your credit card company telling you that you’re eligible for a lower interest rate. Every credit card customer would like a lower rate, but these calls are often illegal automated messages that are from a third party (not your actual credit card company). In those cases, they may have a scam to offer you but not a legitimate lower rate to save you money.

In July 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that three marketers connected to CSG Solutions and Second Choice Horizon “targeted financially distressed people with illegal robocalls and telemarketing. Their goal, says the FTC, was to sell a bogus credit card interest rate reduction service. For an upfront fee, these companies falsely guaranteed zero percent interest rates for the life of people’s credit card debt. They also promised thousands of dollars in savings. But, says the FTC, people never got the financial relief they were looking for.”

So, what did consumers get that responded to these calls wanting lower rates? The FTC alleges many paid extra undisclosed charges, in addition to paying the companies’ huge fees. The companies collected personal information such as Social Security and credit card numbers – even security codes – over the phone.

Additionally, the FTC alleges that even consumers who declined the companies’ “services” had their information used to apply to credit cards without their consent. The companies even sent out invoices to people charging them for those credit cards.

Recently, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced settlements in a lawsuit against ten defendants - six companies and four individuals - that deceived Ohio consumers with illegal robocalls offering bogus credit card interest rate reduction services. This groundbreaking lawsuit was the first of its kind in the country to go after a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service provider that was knowingly facilitating the scheme.

If you get phone calls like these and want a lower interest rate, here are some tips:
  • According to the FTC, the best way to lower your credit card interest rate is to do it yourself by asking your credit card company directly and for free. 
  • Refuse to share personal information with telemarketers who call you unexpectedly. This information could be used to commit fraud.
  • Know that most robocalls are illegal unless you have given permission for a company to send you these prerecorded calls. Remember, the best advice to help you combat robocalls is: Just Don’t Answer! Ohioans can report unwanted robocalls to the Ohio Attorney General’s Robocall Enforcement Unit by texting “ROBO” to 888111, visiting or calling 800-282-0515.
  • Also know that it is illegal for a company to charge you fees before they provide you with a debt relief service, including reducing the interest rate on your credit card.
  • Remember that there may be legitimate opportunities in the marketplace for consumers to transfer their balances to a new credit card with a low or 0% introductory rate. Be sure to read all the terms and conditions before signing up with these offers, and shop around for the best deal for you.
Consumers who suspect an unfair business practice or want help addressing a consumer problem should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at or 800-282-0515.