At that Senate hearing, Chase, Citibank and Bank of America were under fire. The credit card industry stood accused of raking in excess profits by devious use of the fine print in its contracts to hike interest rates, rack up penalty charges and impose extra fees. ABC's Lisa Stark (subscription required) focused on onerous fines for exceeding credit limits. CBS' Sharyl Attkisson told us about hidden automatic triggers for high interest rates. Consumer protection law stipulates that contracts must be written in the plain language that an eighth grader can understand. For NBC's In Depth Lisa Myers chose the enterprising angle of taking a camera crew to Harvard Yard to ask Ivy League college students to read impenetrable clauses aloud.
CBS followed up with a second story on debt. Anthony Mason looked at the strains in the real estate market caused by an increase in foreclosures as mortgage rates are adjusted upwards and housing values fall: an economist warned that these delinquencies "could prolong the slump another year." ABC had David Muir cover the same issue yesterday. Presumably, NBC will too when its stepped-up coverage of Iraq relaxes upon Williams' return.
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