Monday, July 03, 2006

Capital - Quite Capital

This morning, like everyone else, I assume, in my road, I had a letter from Capital One Bank shoved through my door.

On the envelope was the message: “Dear Occupier, specially delivered by hand to ensure you receive the enclosed. Please read carefully.”

Now, I’m on a mailing preference exclusion list and I hope you are too. It keeps most of the junk mail off my doormat and makes my postman’s bag a little lighter. Inside the envelope was an invitation to apply for a “Capital One Visa Card with a host of great benefits.”

Benefit #1 was a typical APR of 23.9%
Benefit #2 was an APR of 29.94% on cash withdrawals
Benefit #3 was a foreign currency conversion charge of 2.75%

There were more similar benefits, too many to list here but equally attractive and so I called Capital One. It wasn’t easy, they don’t really want callers unless you are a customer checking your credit balance, applying for a new card or “Enjoying manageable monthly payments”, at 23.9% APR.

“Why am I receiving offers like this?” I asked the nice girl at the other end of the phone. She didn’t know and apologised. After all, she said, if I’m on a mail preference list I shouldn’t be getting letters from them but she wasn’t sure about the hand delivery part and thought, like me, it could be a “loophole” in the legislation.

“I’m not getting at you”, I said, “it’s not your fault but this is Thanet and it’s one of the most deprived areas of the country. Shoving unsolicited invitations to apply, “In three easy steps” for a new Visa card at 23.9% through people’s doors is offensive in my opinion. There’s enough debt here without making it worse. She agreed. “I’m not supposed to say anything”, she remarked “but I think it’s awful too. You should write to our head office. Do you want the address?

“No, it’s alright”, I said, “I’ll write it somewhere else instead.”


Anonymous said...

I admit it, I'm a credit card tart, and always persue the best cash back rates. What I hate, is those companies who post me credit card cheques. Firstly, I find it insulting that they think I might actually use them with there vastly inflated charges, (they are treated as cash withdrawals), secondly, they are a security risk if they fall into the wrong hands due to a postal slip-up (not unusual). Jammy Dodger, Birchington

Anonymous said...

Just as an afterthought, if the offender has included a pre-payed envelope, write something like "Do not send me unsolicited mail" across the paperwork, and return all the bumpf in the pre-payed envelope. I have found this a successful ploy with several companies, including SAGA and Capital One. Jammy Dodger, Birchington

Anonymous said...

I believe I have allready made mention on your site. I always return junk mail to sender. If Royal mail charged to original sender for returning the unsolicited post perhaps Royal Mail would make an even bigger profit and of course we wouldnt receive so much junk mail.


Anonymous said...

Last week I wrote to all my creditors (several credit card companies). I explained that as a result of difficulties which started 10 years a go my wife gave up work to look after our first (special needs) child making us £900 pcm poorer. There has been no social income support for people in our predicament and a lot of necessities had in fact defaulted to credit. I'd had various part-time jobs too on my days off which knackered me out. Now facing our 4th year without a holiday too I decided it was time to sort things out. So far one card company has responded and agreed instantly over the phone to my offer of £5 pcm, atleast until January. They were suprised as I have never defaulted on anything. They were very helpful and fortunately it was the card with my biggest debt on! I did note that there was an article in the paper yesterday about a guy who had £130K of credit card debt and killed himself and that card companies were facing some stringent questions of . (Mine is under a tenth of this fortunately...or unfortunately, how you look at it!) I hope to take up a job soon that will take earning from £23K to £31K and which will be an internal transfer and one which I am well qualified for. Not a popular job but means must. My wife is back to work part-time and earnings for her are increasing slowly. The law on consumer credit can be used to protect you so long as you can produce a written statement of why reasonably you are in the situation you are in, that you can produce an itinary of expenditure and what you can reasonably pay to creditors per month. So long as you pay something and do not turnaround and tell your creditors to go away they should act reasonably. It's not in their interest not to for numerous reasons. If credit is needed I think the credit unions that spring up seem like a good idea, they also encourage saving.

Anonymous said...

If you want to complain even if the company has a revenue earning expensive 0870 phone number you can sometimes find a freephone number (that will cost THEM) or at least a regular number to call by using a very useful website called