WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — A local couple is warning folks to read the fine print before signing everything after learning a payment plan they were on to buy hearing aids could cost them hundreds more than they were lead to believe.
The third-party credit card provider the couple is using is one with a troubled past. In 2015, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) announced a settlement against Comenity Capital Bank for “deceptive practices related to credit card add-on products.” Years later, the couple says they feel the company needs to be held accountable once more.
“I didn’t read the fine print because I trusted them … it’s ridiculous,” David Rau, a disabled Vietnam War veteran, said.
Rau says this all started over a new $6,000 hearing aid for his wife the couple was considering purchasing in November 2021.
“We didn’t know if we wanted them or not, and they [Miracle Ear], said, ‘Well, we’ve got this card … we’ve got this program, and it’s equal pay for 60 months, and I said ‘Well, how much is it?’ [To which they replied] ‘$158 dollars a month,’ [We agreed and said] ‘Well, we’ll do that,'” Rau said.
But in June 2022, the minimum payment of $158 per month grew to $246 per month to pay off the balance in not four, but six years.
Rau says he spent four-and-a-half hours attempting to contact Comenity Capital Bank.
“Finally, I got ahold of ’em, and they said, ‘Well, I didn’t read the print,’ then they hung up on me while she was trying to read it to me,” Rau said.
Later, Rau says the bank told him a glitch in its system led to the increased payment, but when he tried to make his payment online, he was denied.
Brian Gensch, the Senior Vice President of AGH Health Management, says folks going through this should reach out to the state agency in charge of industrial banks (especially as the federal interest rates increase).
“If you’ve been paying a minimum payment as a fixed number, but your interest rates is going up, you may not be covering all your interest, and that could be compounding your issue,” Gensch said.
Comenity Capital Bank is based out of Utah. In a statement to KSN News 3, the Utah Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) says, in part: “The various state and federal regulatory agencies, including the Utah DFI, all have consumer complaint processes designed to ensure consumers receive fair, timely and accurate responses from their bank.”
Gensch also says rate increase notifications to cardholders are also the standard, but they’re not required and are not as common with smaller credit card providers.
“We kind of have a term in the industry that says: ‘What the big print sayeth, the small print taketh away,'” Gensch said.