Capital One Burrows Into Your Wallet, Makes Your Life Hell

Gerard, now 26, has spent his entire adult life fighting with Capital One. No, we are not exaggerating: he got his first credit card with the company at age 18, and they have been causing him payment and credit-report headaches ever since.

I’ve had an endless battle with CapitalOne, and when I say that, I mean it.

When I was 18 I got a credit card to help build my credit. I got it through CapitalOne. I was very good about paying but CapitalOne, being as wonderful as they are, would often post the payment after the due date (despite my paying them up to 2 weeks early online), making me late and forcing me to pay late fees and jacking up the interest rates. After they did this to me a few times I got sick of it, zeroed out my balance, and closed out my account. Good riddance, I thought. But I was far from done with them.

Fast forward two years later. I get a letter from a debt collector regarding my $700-something dollar Capital One balance. “Not a chance,” I thought, “I zeroed out that account and closed it YEARS ago, there’s no way it’s in collections. Simple mistake, I’ll call and sort it out.” The collections agency, of course, claimed they could do absolutely nothing, so I contacted Capital One directly. The customer service rep on the phone told me that it wasn’t for the account I thought it was, it was for “my second account.” Excuse me? Second account? So I’m immediately thinking “my identity was stolen.” I asked them some extensive questions and explained to them that I never had a second account. They told me that they didn’t believe that anything was a stolen, since payments were posted to it! I asked for any sort of confirmation: where did the charges come from? Who made the payments? Anything to get to the bottom of it, but I was stonewalled. I was told that if it wasn’t my account, they couldn’t disclose that! The damn thing is in my name! I asked for management and escalated my way up as high as possible. Ultimately the highest supervisor available to talk to me told me that “the burden of proof was on me” (which is legally incorrect) and that I should “just pay it.” Clearly someone at Capital One screwed something up and opened up an account in the wrong person’s name, there’s just no other explanation for why a seemingly normal account would be tied to the wrong person. On the other hand, if you ask Capital One their system is perfect and no such thing could ever possibly happen. So it’s a bad situation.

So I continued to call and ran in the same circles over and over for years. Last year I contacted a business that fights issues like this by way of petitioning the credit bureaus to force Capital One to give up proof of ownership of the account (something that confirms I opened it- which will simply not exist no matter how hard they look). Unfortunately for me, TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian are just as disorganized as Capital One. One had the wrong information for me (even so far as my middle initial being completely wrong), another had more wrong information (wrong addresses, wrong dates), and the third did not know I existed. At all. Despite the fact I was born in the US and have lived here my entire life. So even with outside help this is still taking longer than expected.

Now I did say endless battle for a reason – I’m 26 now. This has been going (and affecting my credit score) for 8 years and still no resolution. I’m just so tired of dealing with these idiots. I’ve heard that the consumerist is pretty good about helping people fight back in situations like this. Please help in any way you can – I’m just so tired of this. I want to put the nail in the coffin on this issue that is creeping up on almost a decade of my time, energy, and money (credit score is perfect other than this). I was originally angry enough to want to resolve this and then sue Capital One for their negligence. Really stick it to them. At this rate I’d settle for “fix my credit and go away.”

You can reach Capital One’s executive customer service at 703-720-2500. Ask for the executive customer service team, and be prepared to make your case for why you’re calling.