Wednesday, January 7, 2015


If you live in the United States, you have most likely received a solicitation to obtain a credit card from Capital One Bank, a major credit card issuer whose marketing program is seen daily in many television advertisements. What if you accepted what you thought was a Capital One offer, and sent in the application, only to learn later that you had, in truth and in fact, signed up for a Credit One Bank Visa card, from Credit One Bank ,whose brutal fee policies and practices are clearly excessive, and may be illegal ?

Look at the above logos; clearly, the Credit One logo is deceptively similar to Capital's; the layout, color scheme, and even the image, could confuse even the most careful consumer. No wonder that some of the hundreds of Internet postings complaining about Credit One state that they thought they were signing up for Capital One; some consumers even believed that the two companies were affiliated. I am wondering whether the confusingly similar logo constitutes a deceptive consumer practice, and is therefore actionable by regulators or by consumers in court.

Additionally, I have been reviewing the large number of Internet consumer gripes  against Las Vegas-based Credit One Bank, NA., and conclude that some governmental regulator had best open an investigation into the huge number of consumer credit and collection violations that are pending against this bank. One website alone had 500 consumers angry at the bank, with apparently just cause, and I quickly found several others.

Among the potential fair credit & collection violations listed:

(1) Charging the user a $9.95 fee to pay their bill online, on on the telephone. This might seem fair to you, except Credit One charges interest from date the charge is incurred, not after 28 or 30 days, and checks mailed in to it seem to get cashed quickly, but are not timely credited to the user's account, resulting in accrued interest. Some users have verified that their funds are debited immediately via ACH, while not credited to their account for weeks.

(2) Sending unsolicited credit cards to users, and charging them annual fees, notwithstanding that they did not accept them.

(3) Charging a fee when a third party pays a customer's bill.

(4) Crediting payments to future monthly installments of an account, and not applying a payment to late charges.

(5) Using a foreign call center, apparently in India, judging by the accents, and lack of fluency in American English, whose staff is uncooperative, combative, and without any apparent authority to resolve consumer complaints. Users report receiving multiple calls, at all hours, including legal holidays and weekends, demanding money, even when the user is not in default; some unsolicited calls demand money to increase credit limits. Some non-card holders also report receiving the call, all made through American telephone numbers, some in the users' own area code, evading the tell-tale signs of overseas solicitations. I have checked out the numbers, and they come back to Credit One.

(6) No method is available to communicate with US-based management, to resolve issues. There is apparently no email address available, no US telephone hot line, and only a Post Office Box, which makes delivery of certified or registered mail doubtful.

I think that it is time for American regulators to take a hard look at this matter, and for the management at Visa to consider terminating its relationship, with prejudice, with Credit One, who has given the credit card industry at large a bad name. I also wonder whether a class action against Credit One might be in order, due to its multiple violations.

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