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Author: daddyphi Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 308695  
Subject: Seeking advice for handling Capital One Date: 11/9/2003 10:51 AM
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After lurking on these boards for some time, I've finally worked up the nerve to seek other's advice rather than going-off half-cocked with my usual go-it-alone decisions/reactions: My apologies in advance for the long post.

First, I'm seeking advice on a direction to take. My first inclination is to send another letter to Capital One (CO), with copies to the various regulatory agencies, to report what I perceive as wrong actions taken against my credit card accounts by CO. In addition, require CO to delete all negative information with the credit reporting agencies and to indicate the accounts were paid in full.

About four years ago I obtained both a secured MasterCard and Visa to use in rebuilding my credit record after a BK six years ago. Toward the end, I had a credit limit of $1,000 and $1,500, and at its high, balances of $1,854 and $2,149, respectively.

In March 2002, I sent a letter to CO notifying them of a temporary financial difficulty I was experiencing due to an emergency room visit, which resulted in a short stay in the hospital, and several other extraordinary financial circumstances that had occurred. I explained the situation was temporary and that I expected to be back on a regular repayment schedule in three to six months. As anticipated, I started repaying sizeable amounts on both accounts in September 2002.

Between March and September 2002, CO cancelled both credit cards, applied the security deposit to the card balances, sent the Visa account to collection (and, stopped sending Visa statements), applied exorbitant over-limit and late fees to the accounts (resulting in hundreds of dollars in additional charges), and subjected me to a barrage of non-stop collection calls.

In January 2003, I wrote another letter to CO detailing what was transpiring and reminding them of the March 2002 notification letter I sent informing them of my situation. I informed them my intention was to notify the appropriate regulatory agencies concerning their handling of my accounts, and that I wanted a full accounting of my Visa account reflecting all payments, interest charges, late fees, over-limit fees, etc. I also wanted all telephone calls by CO and their representatives and/or agents to cease; all communications were to be in writing.

About two weeks after I sent my letter, I received a Visa statement from the collection agency indicating a balance due of approximately $1,300. Toward the end of January 2003, I received a letter from CO, basically sympathizing with my plight, but sticking to their decision. The CO apologized for the "inconvenience" resulting from their decision to close the delinquent accounts and stated that, "[W]e do retain the right to change the terms of your accounts at any time."

I wrote yet another letter to CO in early March 2003, which went unanswered until my third request in early June, in which I requested an answer to why my original communication of March 9, 2002 was disregarded, why CO charged off the Visa and not the MasterCard account (especially considering that both accounts were paid in tandem, and the Balance to Credit Limit and Balance to Limit Ratios for the Visa account were less than the limit/ratio for the MasterCard account), and the bulk of the over balance to limit dollar amounts resulted from over-limit, past due fees, and finance charges - not additional card transactions.

In addition to my requesting the criteria CO used to write-off one account versus the other, I also mentioned that their decision resulted in a department store credit card being cancelled during a periodic review of my history at a credit reporting agency. Further, I again requested CO to delete all negative information with the credit reporting agencies and to indicate the accounts as paid in full. I also requested the current Visa balance due.

On May 1, 2003, I paid-off the MasterCard account in full. In early July 2003, I received a response from CO, apologizing for the delay in responding and detailing (obfuscating) their rationale for charging off one account versus the other: "all accounts may not meet the necessary criteria to be eligible for specialty payment arrangements." The letter also stated that, "I regret that we are unable to delete accurately reported payment history from your credit files. However, if you wish to discuss potential settlement options, please do not hesitate to call me...."

I believe I owe approximately $300 on the Visa account. They did not provide me a balance due in their letter and I have yet to call them, which brings me to the crux of my request for advice. Do I have any basis for reporting them to any regulatory agencies for mishandling my accounts? Should I hold out for an agreement (in writing) that they report to the credit reporting agencies that my accounts have been paid in full; or should I just bite the bullet, call them for the balance due, chock it up to experience and walk away from it?

I appreciate your input, and again, my apologies for the long post.

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Author: Crosenfield Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 172969 of 308695
Subject: Re: Seeking advice for handling Capital One Date: 11/9/2003 11:01 AM
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Sounds like they stuck to the terms of the agreement which you signed when you opened the account.
Of course the system is very rough on people who get into problems with unexpected expenses. Thus the need for an emergency fund.
You have learned a fairly expensive lesson about what happens if you don't pay credit card bills as agreed. You can negotiate with them for removal of the late fees, over-limit fees, etc. if you have the money available to pay the original balances. "I will pay off the amounts I charged if you will remove the late and over limit fees." Get their agreement in writing and then do it.
Best wishes, Chris

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Author: Frydaze1 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 172970 of 308695
Subject: Re: Seeking advice for handling Capital One Date: 11/9/2003 11:11 AM
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I'm afraid you're not going to like my answer much. Apologies in advance...

Unfortunately, everything they did was not only legal but clearly outlined in the agreement you signed in order to receive the card. They have the right to charge over-limit fees, and then interest on those fees, etc. They have the right to cancel your card.

While we would like them to be "nice" people and work with you through your financial problems, they are a business and as such they will make whatever decisions are financially right for them. They are under no obligation to work with you through your difficulties.

As suggested by other posts, you may try to offer them payment in full of your outstanding balance if they will remove late charges and other fees. Again, they have no obligation to do so.

Financial hardships come to all of us. This board IS dedicated to helping us all climb out (usually after finding ourselves in a situation like yours). I recommend you live without using CC's for a while, pay off whatever balance you eventually negotiate with CO, build up an emergency fund, and be very aware in the future of what one bad month can do to your credit.

Best of luck to you,
Frydaze1

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Author: daddyphi Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 172971 of 308695
Subject: Re: Seeking advice for handling Capital One Date: 11/9/2003 11:14 AM
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"You can negotiate with them for removal of the late fees, over-limit fees, etc. if you have the money available to pay the original balances."

I should have stated that I have paid all the additional fees - I haven't attempted to skirt them. Now it's a question of how do I get them to indicate that they have been paid in "full."



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Author: Frydaze1 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 172972 of 308695
Subject: Re: Seeking advice for handling Capital One Date: 11/9/2003 11:26 AM
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Should I hold out for an agreement (in writing) that they report to the credit reporting agencies that my accounts have been paid in full; or should I just bite the bullet, call them for the balance due, chock it up to experience and walk away from it?

Others may disagree, so please don't act on MY advice, but wait for more responses.

I really believe that you should call them, pay the balance they request, and walk away. Once you do so, they should report the balance as paid. If not, then you can take further action. Since nothing they have reported is inaccurate, you currently have no position to stand on.

Frydaze1
(Will it help you to hear that I was in your situation 10 years ago, and now have excellent credit? I have just recently learned to truly budget properly and am climbing out of my debt, but my credit score is very good now.)



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Author: Crosenfield Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 172974 of 308695
Subject: Re: Seeking advice for handling Capital One Date: 11/9/2003 1:50 PM
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"I should have stated that I have paid all the additional fees - I haven't attempted to skirt them. Now it's a question of how do I get them to indicate that they have been paid in "full.""

That should happen automatically. If it doesn't show up 30-60 days after they cashed your check, call and remind them.
After you have paid an overdue balance you've lost your clout as far as getting them to do anything. What they wanted was the money. Once they have that they are finished. Yes, they SHOULD report promptly to the credit reporting agencies, but you no longer any clout to get them to do it if they don't do it in the normal course of business.
Best wishes, Chris



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Author: windyelliott Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 172981 of 308695
Subject: Re: Seeking advice for handling Capital One Date: 11/9/2003 3:47 PM
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Do I have any basis for reporting them to any regulatory agencies for mishandling my accounts?

How did they mishandle them exactly? They are under no obligation to grant you a 6 month break on your payments. I hate them as much as the next person, but everything they did, they had a right to do and you gave them that right by missing your payments for 6 months.

Because of that, they have the right to close the accounts, charge you late fees and penalties, send your account to collections, and report negative items to the reporting agencies.

I am you are up the proverbial stream without a paddle.

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Author: windyelliott Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 172982 of 308695
Subject: Re: Seeking advice for handling Capital One Date: 11/9/2003 3:50 PM
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I should have stated that I have paid all the additional fees - I haven't attempted to skirt them. Now it's a question of how do I get them to indicate that they have been paid in "full."


They will report them as paid when they are paid, but it won't erase the fact that the payments were late or that the account was closed due to non-payment. As for getting it to show up on your credit report, just wait a month after the last payment was sent in, contact the credit agencies and see if it was updated. If it was, do nothing, if it wasn't then dispute the information.

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Author: DBAVelvet74 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 173240 of 308695
Subject: Re: Seeking advice for handling Capital One Date: 11/13/2003 3:46 PM
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I really believe that you should call them, pay the balance they request, and walk away. Once you do so, they should report the balance as paid. If not, then you can take further action.

Please realize that although they will show up as paid, the past history of having been deliquent will also still show.

That will stay on for many years, but the further it gets in the history, the less impact it will have.

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