Who’s in Your Wallet?

Posted on Feb 20, 2014 By Don Lawson

Don LawsonCapital One Tricking Customers to Collect Debts

Recently, Capital One Bank (USA), one of the largest credit card companies in the world, sent an updated “Credit Card Agreement” to all of its cardholders.  While this is standard practice for all credit card companies, Capital One’s new agreement has some fairly interesting new language regarding how Capital One can communicate with its cardholders and how they can collect delinquent debts.  Specifically, Capital One states that “…we may modify or suppress caller ID and similar services and identify ourselves on these services in any manner we choose.”  This means that Capital One can intentionally change the way their Caller ID shows up on your phone, thus “tricking” you into answering their call.  For example, let’s say you are late paying your Capital One credit card this month.  Capital One can call you and have the Caller ID show up as a fictitious, non-threatening company like “Spa Heaven” or “Chocolate Goodies” or to appear as a local number.  When you see the fake Caller ID, you are then tricked into answering the call from Capital One as they try to collect their debt.  Does this sound illegal?  It’s not.  In fact, it’s called spoofing and the only time this is illegal (according to the Truth in Caller ID Act) is if the caller “commits fraud or causes harm to others”.  Capital One has the legal right to hide its identity from you as it attempts to collect its debt.  This is troubling to say the least.  I am not arguing that Capital One should not have the right to collect their debt, but to intentionally lie about their identity when contacting you seems both bizarre and desperate.

Clear Violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act

Capital One goes on to inform its customers that it can also “contact you on your mobile telephone; contact at any time, including weekends and holidays; contact you with any frequency, leave prerecorded and other messages on your answering machine/service and with others; and identify ourselves, your relationship with us, and the purpose for contacting you even if others might hear or read it.” Much of the above appears to be a direct violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) which protects consumers against collection harassment.  However, most of the provisions of the FDCPA apply only to debt collectors, not the original creditor.

Your Debts Could Result in Capital One Showing Up at Your Work

If you think, however, that “Spoofing and telephone harassment” are distressing, imagine finding out that Capital One may show up at your job.  That’s right, Capital One also informed all of their cardholders that they have right to “contact you at your home or at your place of employment”.  Unbelievably, Capital One is stating that they may come to your home or place of employment in an attempt to collect their debt.  The fact that Capital One is informing all of its customers of this is troubling because it appears to be the first time a major credit card company has informed ALL of its cardholders that they can come to your home or work to collect their debt.  This is even more troubling when you consider the scope of Capital One.  According to the FDIC’s website, they have 24 brands of credit cards they issue and each cardholder received an agreement with the above referenced language.  This is shocking.  In fact, it would seem that this would also violate the FDCPA.  However, again the FDCPA mainly applies to collection agencies, not the original creditor.  In fact, all creditors have the right to come to your home but they do not have the right to enter without a warrant or court order.

Capital One is one of the largest issuers of credit cards in the world and has one of the most recognizable corporate slogans: What’s In Your Wallet?”  However, it may be time for consumers to start asking “Who’s In Your Wallet?”  If you feel that you harassed by a debt collector or creditor or that your rights are being violated, please contact one of our local offices.

 

Blogs on your Telephone Rights

Telephone Harassment and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)

Telephone Consumer Protection Act

How Do You Stop Collection Calls and Texts to Your Cell Phone?

 

Blog on Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)

 

Links to Various Acts

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

Truth In Caller ID Act.

Telephone Consumer Protection Act

 

Here is a link to Capital One’s Credit Card Agreement.

The information above is on page 6 under the “Communication” section.