Living In a Society of Deceit

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No one likes being lied to, and yet we intentionally mislead others

I don't like being lied to. It was bad enough when I had little children, and discovered now and then that they were twisting the truth to get out of a jam. (I'll confess I did that as well, and too often when I was no longer a small child--leaving my parents in the same distressed state of mind).
But it's ever so much worse when the person doing the lying has deliberately conceived a falsehood. We're talking about someone who, with an eye on cheating or injuring you, tries to trick you by saying something that absolutely is not true.

I had something like that happen this morning--and my guess is that you've experienced similar efforts. The attempt to deceive me came in an envelope from a bank with whom I've done business for 20 years. "Borrow $1,000 from us," the bank said, "and we'll charge you no interest for the coming 14 months." Or: "Transfer up to $27,000 in other balances, and we'll let you use that money interest-free for the coming year."

To make it especially easy for me to fall into their trap, the bank sent me a blank check. All I needed to do was fill in the amount and sign my name.

No interest, they promised. The fine print explained, of course, that I would be billed for a "fee" amounting to 3 percent of whatever amount I borrowed. If I chose, for example, to borrow $10,000, I would immediately owe the bank $10,300--and nobody bothered to explain how such a "fee" is different from "interest." Neither did they note why such "interest" gets tacked on at the front end of the loan. And they didn't explain why the bank lumps this $300 in with the rest of the loan, but doesn't include the $300 in the interest free offer--feeling free instead to charge its higher interest rate (15½ percent) on the $300 until it's paid back. Or why all payments I make must go first to pay off the interest free part before even one penny goes to pay off the high interest $300! 

Complicated? Complicated on purpose. Did I feel snookered? You'd better believe it. I felt lied to. 

I'm sure the bank behind the mailing vetted all the copy with its lawyers--and that its officers would argue in court that the fine print was technically accurate. There's a big difference, though, between accuracy and honesty. 


Source: World Magazine | Joel Belz
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