Capital One Customers Outraged Over New Debt Collection Policy - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

From Anchor Tony McEwing

Capital One Customers Outraged Over New Debt Collection Policy

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If you are a Capital One customer, as I am, news about the company's new credit card contract may have hit you like a ton of bricks. Capital One, which touts itself as the "no hassle" credit card company, has apparently added clauses to its consumer contracts that would allow the company to indeed hassle you a lot if you don't pay the bill on time or not at all. Such harassment can take the form of phone calls, emails, texts, faxes or even showing up at your home or place of employment. Really????

Even law enforcement or the IRS would not be able to just show up at your home without some type of judicial authorization. The 4th Amendment to the Constitution prohibits it. But those are government agencies. Capital One isn't. It's a private company to which, arguably, the 4th Amendment does not apply.

Now just to be clear, I'm not in arrears with Capital One and I have no plans to not pay my bill. That being said, I'm still uncomfortable with the idea of a company being able to use intimidation and fear by showing up to my workplace or, even scarier, to my home to try to squeeze me for money. I'm sure many of you reading this might be thinking to yourselves, "there ought to be a law against that." Well, actually, there is. The question is, does it apply?

A viewer who heard us debating the issue on Good Day LA today emailed me a summary of the federal and California fair debt collection practices statutes. In the introduction, it makes it clear that you have a right to cut off contacts by a debt collection agency as well as the right to specify periods when and places where contacts with the debtor may and may not be made. The question is, can you legally lose those rights simply because you decide to hang on to your Capital One credit card? Presumably, Capital One would argue, if you don't like its policy, you don't have to keep the card. But since the company's policy has not been challenged in a court of law, at least not yet, it's difficult to know what the judicial outcome would be.

Capital One has certainly created a public relations nightmare with its new contract, if not a legal one. Then again, maybe not. Let's face it, most people don't even bother to read the voluminous fine print before agreeing to carry one particular credit card or another. It is a fact not likely lost on Capital One executives or their lawyers.

Tony McEwing co-anchors FOX 11 Morning News at 4:30 am and provides news updates for the Emmy award winning Good Day LA, broadcast weekdays from 7:00 - 10:00 am. He also co-anchors the FOX 11 10 am News and the FOX 11 News at Noon.
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