An Open Letter to CapitalOne (and other US financial institutions)

Dear Capital One:

I have been a customer of your credit card service since 2014. I signed up for one of your cards just to be able to rent a car when I returned to the U.S.A., since no other type of payment is accepted by car rental businesses in the U.S. anymore. They won’t even accept debit cards. Due to my student loan debt, I was only approved for a credit card with a massive 25% interest rate, but I figured that was alright since I only planned to use the card to rent a car and nothing else.

I returned to the U.S. from living overseas to take a rather acceptable job as the coordinator of an Intensive English Program at a state university. The benefits were the best, but the salary was a pittance compared to the cost of living in the U.S.A. I ended up adding to my credit card debt, and eventually decided to leave the U.S. again to take another overseas job, and within 6 months of doing so, I had paid off your card.

Last year, I used your card again to book a round-trip flight to visit family back in the U.S., and again, to rent a car. A year later, I am back overseas, and still trying to pay off the debt raised just by this 2-week trip to the U.S. Not a problem, as I have a steady salary here, but I was hit with other financial burdens during that time. I spent three days in the hospital here due to a “heart complication.” Three days in the Intensive Cardio-Care Unit, multiple EKGs, two CT scans, blood work, chest X-ray, and whatever that procedure is where they stick a fiberoptic camera into your heart thru an artery in your left arm to look for arterial blockage. Here, that cost me around $780. How much do you think that would have cost me in the good ol’ U.S.A.? Still, even here outside the shameful U.S. healthcare system, it was a hefty expense for my meager salary. Then, right after that, my laptop crashed and died and I had to order a new one. That ran me about $570. Still, I kept up my regular payments to your card, usually paying two or three times the minimum.

Now it seems we have hit a fatal snag in our relationship. Being overseas, in order to log into my CapitalOne online account to manage my payments, I had to receive a code to my email account and then enter that code into a secondary login screen. The other verification options were only phone call or phone text. Because I do not have a phone in the U.S.A., those options were not made available to me. And then, for some reason, you removed the email option, leaving me unable to log in to arrange payments.

I called your customer service line twice, and both times, I was told there was nothing that could be done. Both times they asked, “Do you have the app on your phone?” I checked. The only CapitalOne app available here is the CapitalOne Arena App, which will keep me posted on upcoming events at your arena. Why the hell would THAT be useful to me? How long til you are having poor people fight like gladiators for your amusement there?

Now, I could just call up and make a payment by phone, but here is the problem: I will not have the money to make that payment until the 25th. You insist on taking the payment on the 20th. I cannot change the automatic payment date without logging in. I asked your customer service to move it up by 5 days — 5 DAYS! — and they said, “No, we’re going to keep taking your payment on the 20th.” Why can’t they change it? Seems they just want to be difficult. Now, my U.S. bank account is held with SunTrust, which is like any other U.S. bank — they nickle and dime customers to death each month. When I was in the U.S., I noticed that some ATM fees were as much as $4.00! I am betting they are even higher now. They charge me $15 to send money from my overseas account to keep money in my U.S. account — they CHARGE ME to RECEIVE money! It’s like American cell phone companies who charge their customers for sending AND receiving calls! They get you coming and going. Just so you know, none of these things exist in my current country. No ATM fees (usually, regardless of which bank’s ATM you use), no receiving bank transfer fees, and receiving calls is free (as it should be)! Also, my U.S. bank account charges $10.00 a month for a “maintenance fee”. That also is not a thing here. When I put money into my bank account here, it STAYS IN THERE, untouched, until I take it out or spend it.

Now here’s the real issue: My U.S. bank also charges me an “overdraft” fee if someone — anyone, including themselves with their “maintenance fee” — takes out more than I have in there. This fee is $100, and the longer I go without paying it, the more charges I get hit with. Now, I have not been able to send money home due to the fact that I recently relocated to a new job in a new country, and this is an expense as I do not get paid immediately upon arrival. I don’t get paid until the 25th. Right now, there is only $30.00 in my U.S. bank account. You, in your bizarre business practices, insist on taking out your minimum payment of $80 on the 20th. So… this will cost me an extra $100 from my bank, plus the extra $15 it will take to send money to fill it back up again. And this is not the first time this has happened.

I tried to send money to my bank and to you via my PayPal account, but PayPal said they could not verify who I was despite my logging into my account with the correct username and password. Why couldn’t they verify me? No U.S. phone number. I linked up my foreign account with PayPal and easily transferred the funds to my account here, so I cannot complain too much about PayPal. Still… they could have made it easier to send that money to the U.S.

Now this overdraft/late fee cycle is becoming an issue, and despite my several attempts to make satisfactory arrangements with both you and SunTrust, including trying to use my foreign bank account to make payments, neither of you is willing to work with me. I even got a message back from SunTrust that began with the sentence, “We look forward to assisting you with this issue,” and the very next sentence read, “Unfortunately, we cannot assist you with this issue.” Genius!

Rather than continuing to struggle to deal with you and your obvious disregard for the average customer (it seems the entire U.S. system is set up to infuriate and abuse the non-wealthy), I have decided to say FUCK YOU and burn both accounts. I will max out what is left on my CapitalOne card, and you will never see penny 1 of repayment. My credit in the U.S. is already shit because of the student loan scam, so what’s a few thousand more?

If you have an issue with this, feel free to contact me. I will block you from my email, of course (unless you can provide me with a private phone number to verify your identity) and apparently, you do not know how to access phones listed overseas. Your other option is to COME AND FIND ME, you c*nts.

I am a sporting man, so I will even give you a clue. I am somewhere in the gray area on this map:

usa-in-world-map-united-states-and-satellite-image

I detest how the U.S. has become owned and operated by your corporate oligarchy, and how you use your power to squeeze the poor to line the pockets of your already-super-wealthy cohorts, and then create problems like this to really tighten the screws on those of us who are already hurting under your dictatorial control.

Let’s see if you can find me before I steal the paltry $1200 of your money left on my shitty 25% interest card. Game on, motherfuckers.

 

FOLLOW UP (March 17): I contacted my bank to ask them to block any attempt by CapitalOne to withdraw funds from my account. They said they couldn’t do that, and suggested I contact the merchant. They said my only other option was to stop the payment when it was in the “pending” phase — and, of course, there is a $36 charge for any stop order placed.

2 thoughts on “An Open Letter to CapitalOne (and other US financial institutions)

  1. Excellent blog! Do you have any hints for aspiring writers?
    I’m planning to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you recommend starting with a free platform like WordPress or go
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    Like

    • Thanks, that’s very kind of you. I went with the paid option here on WordPress because I liked the options better, but if you are just starting out, never pay for anything until you are happy with what you have started with and wish to improve and/or expand. Just kick around for a bit and try different venues. You should see my friend’s blog at http://www.peninsularity.com/. He’s a pro. Good luck!

      Like

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