WILMINGTON – New borrowers are increasingly employing executive-style signing statements while entering agreements with lenders.
A signing statement is a written pronouncement, heretofore used primarily by the President of The United States upon signing a bill into law. Such statements potentially have the effect of modifying the meaning and intent of the law in question.
For example, credit card holder Chad Bennett of Halterville recently received an amended notice of terms from one company. He read the fine print and responded in writing that he agreed to the terms with the following provisos:
- “Interest” shall be construed to mean “a feeling that accompanies special attention to an object”.
- We (cardholder) reserve the right to switch between U.S. and Zimbabwean currencies at such times as it will benefit us.
- Any change in terms such as due dates and mailing addresses shall be construed as incapacitation on the part of card issuer, and cardholder will revert to last known stable terms. Any fees or penalties arising out of such change in terms shall be treated as imaginary and not subject to observance.
- Cardholder naturally assumes that you (card company) are swimming in cash, what with the fees you charge us and the flotillas of bailouts coming your way. Therefore, we will cease immediately paying any fees construed to be associated with operating expenses.
- Monetary values shall be treated as hexadecimal values, truncated to binary for calculation, then converted to decimal for payment. This may have the effect of reducing the apparent value of some entries.
- Citing the desire for us to be friends, and the cultural edict “neither a borrower nor a lender be”, we hereby declare certain parts this contract that sound like usury null and void. We (cardholder) will be the final arbiter of what that means.
- Your decisions over the years to extend credit so recklessly to credit risks such as cardholder calls into question your business judgment, and therefore we intend to show you some tough love.
Critics, among them credit card companies, say that such statements are contrary to the law.
“They basically mean you can interpret the agreement any way you like,” said credit card lobbyist Phil Copros. “It renders the agreement powerless. Regular people don’t get to to that.”