For quite awhile I have recommended books by Suze Orman and (when I had cable) I watched her show regularly. I lost a bit of faith in her awhile back when I found out that she was being paid to promote the FICO score. I have lost every single bit of respect I had for Suze Orman on Tuesday.
Tuesday saw the announcement of a new product being offered by Orman. She is now promoting The Approved Card, a prepaid debit card. This product, in my opinion is not beneficial to consumers. It is full of fees that rob consumers of valuable dollars. (Admittedly she does offer suggestions on how to avoid some of the fees)
An example of the fees in addition to the $3 monthly maintenance fee:
“The Monthly Account Maintenance Fee of your Approved Card is $3.00. The first month’s fee is waived when you purchase your Approved Card for $3.00. The Monthly Account Maintenance Fee is charged to your Card Account each month on the anniversary of the date your first load of the Card.”
“If you do not sign up for Direct Deposit and make a qualifying deposit or Bank Transfer you will be charged $2.00 per withdrawal at Allpoint ATMs.
If you do not sign up for Direct Deposit and make a qualifying deposit or Bank Transfer you will be charged $1.00 for a balance inquiry or transaction declined at Allpoint ATMs.
If you use an ATM that is not part of the Allpoint network, you will be charged $2.00 per withdrawal and $1.00 per balance inquiry or transaction declined plus any fees charged by the owner of the ATM.”
In addition, if you want to contact customer service more than once in a month, be prepared to pay (first call is free $2 there after). And heaven forbid you want to close your card and have the remaining balance mailed to you:
“In the event that your Card Account is cancelled, closed, or terminated for any reason, you may request the unused balance to be returned to you via a check to the mailing address we have in our records. There is a fee for this service.”
I’m just amazed at the great number of fees involved in that card. If an uneducated consumer were to pick up that card and not read the fine print (and let’s face it, most people do not!), they would be subjected to an absorbent amount of loss. There are a number of free pre-paid debit cards. I wrote about the pros and cons of prepaid debit cards. But I stress, it is only if they were free. A fellow blogger wrote a great post covering many of the free prepaid debit cards out there.
While Suze’s choice to promote this product was enough to stop me from recommending her, it was her blatant disrespect on twitter that has caused me to lose complete respect for her.
When a fellow blogger sent her tweets questioning her decision to develop this product, she resorted to name calling, rude comments and extremely unprofessional conduct.
She has called one of the top Personal Finance Bloggers on the internet, Mr. Phil Taylor of PTMoney.com an “idiot.” She couldn’t be further from the truth.
This tweet is in response to a tweet from @20andengaged defending @PTMoney
She addresses other tweets by saying that people are uneducated, yet she is clearly uneducated about the quality of writing Phil has published for a number of years and the great respect he has from his peers.
She continues with her rude comments by tweeting:
What I find even more disappointing is the quote she tweeted the day before:
Clearly Orman does not practice what she preaches.
Suze Orman has disappointed 100s of personal finance bloggers. She may not consider us “legit reporters” but she seriously underestimates the power of the blogger.
If you want to read more, here are a few more articles to do so.
- From PTMoney - http://ptmoney.com/suze-orman-approved-card-prepaid-card/
- From Girls Just Wanna Have Funds – http://www.girlsjustwannahavefunds.com/suze-orman-pre-paid-debit-card
- From 20 and Engaged – http://20andengaged.com/suze-orman-approved-card-denied
- From The New York Times – http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/09/your-money/suze-orman-to-offer-her-own-prepaid-debit-card.html?_r=2
- From Business Insider – http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-01-09/news/30606540_1_russell-simmons-rush-card-debit-cards-kardashian-kard
- From Time Moneyland - http://moneyland.time.com/2012/01/10/suze-ormans-new-prepaid-debit-card-debuts/
- From SoOverDebt – http://www.sooverdebt.com/2012/01/11/suze-orman-prepaid-debit-card/
- From MoneyCone – http://www.moneycone.com/suze-ormans-approved-prepaid-card-bad-wine-in-new-bottle/
- From MyBankTracker - http://www.mybanktracker.com/bank-news/2012/01/10/suze-ormans-approved-prepaid-card-reviewed/
What is your reaction? I’d love to hear what you are thinking. Would you ever use a Prepaid Debit card?
Suze Orman has apologized for her comments and name calling. (if you are not familiar with Twitter, read from the bottom-up on this screen cap)
The PR nightmare that has resulted in the past 36 hours has forced her to admit to the wrongdoing. She will need bloggers to advertise her products, to post reviews about her books and to continue to recommend her “ways” of managing their finances. In my opinion, she is trying to save face and I continue to be disappointed. By saying “I’m not good at defending myself against things that are not true.” I am sorry Ms. Orman but I have not read a single blog post that as been inaccurate. All of the information that I have read has come from the fine print.
Further proof that she doesn’t think very highly of bloggers, nor does she seem us as reporters:
I would very much like to hear what she says about the criticism that has been expressed. I tweeted her and was shocked to actually receive a reply.
I look forward to reading her defense. I truly hope it comes to fruition.
Update Number 2:
There has been A LOT of social media attention this and tonight it was covered on Fox Business’s Willis Report! Great 4 minute segment that specifically addresses bloggers.
Fortune Telling: The Approved Card will disappear very soon BUT Suze Orman will find an alternative excuse as to why it has disappeared.
One more great blog post about this debacle (and it’s not just great because he mentions me!):
From DollarVersity: http://www.dollarversity.com/suze-orman-teaches-you-how-not-to-handle-criticismImage Credit: The Approved Card image was a screencap from the official website for the card. No copyright is intended.
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