It all began with travel plans for a trip to Australia. In discovering that my bank, Wells Fargo, charges “foreign transaction fees” in the use of their card abroad, I did some internet searching and discovered that “Capital One” was recommended for a travel credit card because they don’t charge “foreign transaction fees” for purchases abroad. Being an individual against credit cards, I went against my better judgement and applied for a Capital One Card. Since I don’t already have a credit card, they approved me on January 17th, 2011 for a “secured Master Card” requiring a $200 deposit. I went ahead and transferred from my bank $250 so that I would have that amount to use for foreign transactions. Not hearing from Capital One for a month and a half, I became concerned. Finally I get a letter from Capital One to my home address stating that they put a temporary hold on my Capital One Account to make sure no one is using my Capital one credit card without permission. However, Capital One had not yet sent me a card. I received phone calls from their “fraud” department requiring me to submit a utility bill to prove who I am. Since I’m about to embark upon a journey abroad, I was renting a room from a friend pre-travel. Since I did not have a utility bill, as it was all inclusive in my rent. The agent then said I had to send my bank statement or my W2 forms. Invasive? Certainly. That they needed my Bank Account Statement or W2 form was none of Capital One’s business. If they were giving me a loan that might be different, but a secured card is me giving them money to loan back to me. I thought this was ridiculous. I told the agent this, he agreed, but claimed it was their policy.
He then claimed I could circumvent this by driving to any bank, preferably where my bank is, and have them do a visual identity check. I had to leave early from work to do this before the bank closed. Wells Fargo said they would not do that for other banks. I called back the agent who then said if I faxed my drivers license, passport, and/or social security card, it would remove the hold and Capital One would send me the card. I drove an additional 10 miles to a fax outlet, paid them $3 to fax Capital One a copy of my passport, drivers license, and social security card. The next day, Capital One stated these documents were received, but were not worthy of identity proof. Really? A US Passport? Drivers license? Social security card? They then stated they required a bank statement or W2 form. I stated I only wanted this account because Capital One doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, and I would be leaving soon for a trip to Australia. He said he found a “Chase bank” at 3306 Centennial Blvd in Colorado Springs who was willing to do a visual ID check. He even had a representative named “Krista” who said she would do it. So ONCE AGAIN, I leave work early, to drive 10 miles to this said bank, to make sure I arrive before the bank closes. The representative at Chase wasn’t informed that I did not have a bank account with Chase. Just like with Wells Fargo, they will not do a visual identity verification for another bank unless I was one of their clients. Again, Capital One had cost me “time away from work”, “expenses in gas and time driving, wear/tear on my vehicle, for useless trips. As this was the third trip they had caused me to drive when gas prices are at a stunning $3.30-3.50/gallon now? As my current rate of pay at the time was $26 an hour anyone could do the math to see that Capital One has already cost me more time than this card was worth.
Figuring if this is representative of the hassle that Capital One is going to give me in using their card, I don’t want the service. I told them to send me back my money. The representative said he didn’t know how and couldn’t. Really? Capital One representatives are not informed on how to do reversals? Send me back my money to the account it came from? If me, an average Joe can do it with credit card transactions I accept from clients through Quickbooks, I guarantee their agents could do it immediately. The agent suggested I dispute the charge with my bank to get my money back. I did this, and Capital One refused to release the funds as it is a valid authorized deduction. A couple of days later I receive the card stating I now owe “$29.00” for a membership fee. Really? Capital One charging me a membership fee for a service I cannot use? I call Capital One and they still state I cannot use the account or get a refund without sending my Bank Statement. I fax them my statement. It takes them 3 days to get back to me. I called their “Fraud” department. The Agent said they had received my bank statement, but my representative had to call me back to verify the account. On March 16th, I Faxed a letter to their office and mailed copies requesting full refund of money. I finally get in touch with them and on 3/17/11 I speak to their agent Shyr. She asks personal info again from me. She had the nerve to ask for my pin number for my debit card with Wells Fargo. Excuse me? She claims they cannot verify my bank information with Wells Fargo. She put me on hold for 20 minutes. Finally Capital One gets “Olivia” from Wells Fargo on the line. They warn me that the 3rd party on line exchanging sensitive information, I accepted for certain private information. Upon mentioning the claim # I did with Wells Fargo, Olivia ouldn’t pull up on her display, and then connected us 3-party with Chris at Wells Fargo claims. He notated the conversation and updated my claim. He was witness to “Shyr” stating they would return the money that day. I was put on hold for another 15 minutes while “Shyr” transferred me to “Kyle” of Capital One’s Retention / Account Closure department. He was very apologetic with my Capital One experience and said he submitted the transaction to refund my money. He stated it would take 5-7 business days to appear in my account. No refund was received by 3/28/11. So I contacted Capital One inquiring where is my money on 3/29/11. Agent “Joseph” said the previous Capital One representative should not have said 5 business days, For Joseph said it will take 2 billing cycles to return money. I told him this was not acceptable. Capital One had my money for over 45 days with no services delivered but hassle and waste of my time. I need my money back. I Told them I’m going to file complaints with state attorney office, Better Business Bureau, The Department of finance, etc. He promised that my funds would be returned electronically Friday at the latest on Monday that the account representatives are refunding my money now. On May 31st, I received a Refund check in the mail for $250. Relieved I Deposited it. I then receive on April 5th notice from my bank that Capital One put a stop payment on the refund check and now Capital One was charging me a return item fee. On 4/7/11 I called Capital One to find what was up. I spoke to Supervisor Lor and explained the situation – she said she doesn’t see a stop payment request so was investigating the matter. Nothing showing up in her computer. She took my direct deposit information and said she would get it straightened up but no action resulted by 4/21/11. Capital One has now stolen my money and has held it hostage for over three months and have not delivered product, services, only hassles and headaches. To all fellow travellers and individuals thinking about using Capital One – Avoid them at all costs. They are thieves. This article will be updated if and when action is taken to repair the damages done by Capital One – or if the fact that their action of holding my money hostage leaves me stranded while travelling abroad. I see a lawsuit in the making.
Thomas M. Baurley