The Commonwealth Bank sent me and presumably all other Mastercard holders a letter stating that a $30 annual fee would now apply from May 2005 as their records indicate I no longer qualify for an exemption.

Of course, I went into my local branch yesterday to cancel and when they checked the balance, the $30 had been charged. I jumped up and down and rightly got it removed and closed the card. It made me wonder how many CBA customers will be not only charged the $30 fee but also the interest on it being charged one month earlier than the letter. There seem to be no end to “profit initiatives” at the banks!

Stephen Mayne writes:

After gouging the old Crikey owners more than 4% on all manual credit card subscriptions over the past five years, we were delighted to recently receive a letter from the CBA claiming they were improving our merchant agreement by introducing a $100 fee if we ever closed it down. Gee, and we were just about to do that.

Even more amusing was the occasion three years ago when we tried to set up a second merchant agreement were charged the $500 establishment fee and then knocked back. That was a bit rich, even for the bank cartel, and they eventually provided a refund. As you can tell, we don’t just talk about bank cartel gouging, we regularly experience it.

All these sorts of stories are prominent examples of exactly why CBA CEO David Murray should not be appointed CEO of Telstra. His whole approach has centred around slashing costs, jacking up fees, closing branches and sacking staff – exactly the sort of record that the Howard Government does not want people talking about throughout the T3 selling process.

Peter Fray

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