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Knock, Knock. Capital One Is at Your Door

Knock, Knock. Capital One Is at Your Door

Capital One made major inroads into the travel-rewards universe with its 110,000-mile sign-up bonus for its Venture card launch in 2011. It was the richest bonus ever offered for a rewards card.

Capital One followed up with a similar promotion in 2012, although the bonus was slightly more modest, at 100,000 miles.

The company is making news again, albeit of a very different kind.  This time it’s the stick that’s newsworthy, not the carrot.

In a contract update recently sent to cardholders, the company added ominous new language to its terms and conditions. Capital One now claims for itself the right to “contact you in any manner we choose,” including phone calls, emails, texts, faxes, or a “personal visit.” If that weren’t enough to set alarm bells ringing, Capital One goes on to specify that said personal visits may be “at your home and at your place of employment.”

Just picture it: a knuckle-dragger from Capital One pounding on your door to collect your overdue credit-card payment. Or maybe they would deploy celebrity spokesman Alec Baldwin as their enforcer?

Either way, it’s a pretty disturbing prospect. And there’s more.

The company further asserts its right to “modify or suppress caller ID and similar services and identify ourselves on these services in any manner we choose.” Misrepresenting yourself on caller ID? That’s a tactic generally employed only by the sleaziest of telemarketers. It may not be fraud, legally speaking, but it’s certainly beyond the pale as far as business ethics go.

Either of these changes would be enough to knock Capital One out of consideration for any of my future credit card or banking business.

I was very tempted to apply for Capital One’s Venture card during that historic first promotion. In my review at the time, I called it “a compelling offer.” I know of at least a few readers who got the card on the strength of that recommendation.

If Capital One persists in subjecting its credit card customers to such onerous terms, I will have to retract any positive comments I’ve made about Capital One or the Venture card. And I’d have to apologize to any readers who may have acted on my advice.

Luckily, Capital One hasn’t yet claimed for itself the right to harass critical reviewers.

Reader Reality Check

Would you do business with a company that threatened to harass you at work or at home?

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  • Callum Green

    I pay my credit cards on time so no, it wouldn’t stop me signing up.

  • asfasdfasdfsd

    fuck capital one… they pull all the bureaus when you apply for credit

  • fasdf

    So if you have an accident which prevents you from accessing your bank account, are you OK with them harrassing your wife on her way to the hospital?

  • Callum Green

    I don’t have a wife, but I sincerely hope the future wife has the mental capability to either ignore the call or hang up when the “hassling” begins. It’s really not that hard a task to do…

    Not that your absurd scenario is remotely likely to happen – particularly as my bills are automatically paid off each month anyway, so I’d have no need to access my bank account.

  • emcampbe

    I’ll admit I’m not a player in the CC game – I’ve got the few cards I like, from over the years, and keep them. The oversize bonuses for a new card are certainly nice, and might be the thing to put me over the top to apply for a card that I was already considering, but that’s all.

    That said, I’d never apply for a Capital One card, just based on the annoyance of their ads going years back. If they are that annoying before they have my business, I can’t even imagine the potential after. And here, we have an example of that potential – that annoyance is now going beyond. I get the how companies might send an email to remind me my payment is due (and I understand even getting this the day after, to remind me the payment was due, so they can collect their late fee, which is a bit sleazy, but let’s face it, I’m not under the illusion that the CC companies are in the business for more than to make their $). But to get a personal bill pay reminder, at my home or business? Seriously? That’s just creepy and sleazy (even if they do send Mr. Baldwin to do it). And a reminder that I was right about not wanting to apply for any of their cards.

    Look, I get that Chase, where I have some of my other cards, is a big bank, and has the tendencies of such. I’m under no illusions that the services they provide are to earn a buck. But I have a good relationship with them, we both get something out of it, and I’ve never felt that they had even 5% of the sleazy quotient as Capital One.

    Which brings me to another product – my ING Direct Savings account which I held going back 10 years or so, now owned by….you guessed it…Capital One. I still refuse to type their name in the URL when going to their web site…preferring still to go to IngDirect.com. I had considered switching when the changeover happened, just never got my act together to actually do it. Now might be the time…

  • SnarkyBarky

    C1 cards are already bad to have based on what they do to your credit. they refuse to report to the credit bureaus what your actual credit limit is for their cards. Because of this, the CBs by default just use whatever your highest charge balance has been on that C1 card. So unless you have charged to your limit, this skews your debt to credit ratio which impacts your credit score.

  • Edgar Numrich

    No problem here with Capital One except for Alec Baldwin’s chronic boorishness in real life.