When banks go wrong: Part 2

Abuse the law, violate the law

Call it when to spot abuses on your billing statement.  Capital One had sent their latest bill,  only because they had acknowledged three payments that totaled over $131.38 did they barely nudge the account balance to $1,108.35.  Which was interesting, because the last billing statement showed an account balance at around $1,184.00.  Well, you see, even though all payments were on-time, Capital One was intent on charging penalty interest rates and late fees.  The reason why was that they didn’t get their minimum payment due of close to $400.00 and according to the credit card rules:  Late Payment Warning:  If we do not receive your minimum payment by your due date, you may have to pay a late fee of up to $35.00 and your APRs may be increased up to the Penalty APR of 29.40%.  Therefore, they can assess all of these late fees and penalty interest rates.

Now for some history.  Capital One Bank had been engaging in various abusive, unlawful and predatory lending practices since 2006.  With a change in the laws being passed by Congress in 2009; Capital One Bank decided to suddenly on an account that had not actively been used for purchases and was only actively being paid off, that they could not only drive up account balances some $500.00 from June to September of 2009 in the wake of the consumer protection act being signed into law by President Obama, but also to fully avail themselves of the knowledge of the law in order to “waive” $500.00 worth of fees accumulated in a three month period, reset the inactive account’s balance to $1,036.00 about where it had been before they started raising the account balance on this card through the roof.  But then decided that they could demand a minimum payment due of $160.00 for the account balance.  Thus, long before the new credit card rules would ever be implemented, they could try to abuse them to an advantage.  Thus, if they didn’t get their $160.00; they could assess fees and interest rates, drive up the account balance, and increase even more dramatically, the minimum payment due.  When they didn’t get their almost $200.00 minimum payment due, the process would start all over again.  And that they continued to engage in such abuses and trying to take advantage of this consumer protection law even during the course of an OCC investigation.  Even to claiming to the OCC that their abuse of such a law to obtain “debt” through the violation of its spirit and intent that the consequence still resulted in lawful debt.  However, it needs to be a reminder here, the account had been inactive for more than four years and was actively being paid off.  The replacement card was never activated and thus, the account was closed.  Seems to me that there are laws against a bank showing this much willful disregard toward addressing closed accounts.  Over a year later of constant abuse on this card by the bank, I am either told it is unusable (the account is closed), or that it is restricted (the account is closed), if I don’t want any more damage to my credit (from a bank actively damaging my credit).

Then there is the account balance that Capital One Bank drove up in the hundreds of dollars from the time that they had reset the balance back to approximately $1,036.00.  —The account is closed.  Current billing statement$338.72 minimum payment due for an account balance of $1,108.35.  A bit of history here, Capital One Bank had been receiving since the spring of 2006, minimum payments of 40s of dollars at a time.  In a period of three years, and until they decided to engage in abusive and predatory lending practices on this inactive (closed) account, I had actually eliminated some $500.00 from the account balance.  (Until as described above they proceeded to throw a lot of charges onto the account.)  Since September of 2009, I continued to pay in the 40s of dollars to this account even as the bank drove up both account balances and minimum payment due.  And that the bank continued to drive up account balances and minimum payment due to about $430.00 for a minimum payment due and an account balance of over $1,200.00 before they slowly and grudgingly began to reduce these amounts.  By then, I was paying in the 40s of dollars every two weeks beginning in May of 2010; for an approximate total of $344.00 from September of 2009 to April of 2010.  From May to September of 2010, approximately $430.00 more was spent on this account in an attempt to pay it in full.  This is very important, approximately $1,200.00 (after the bank’s constant abuses) minus $774.00 should be approximately $426.00.  But Capital One Bank showed no desire to reduce the account balance to what it approximately ought to have been because they were way too busy adding late fees and penalty interest rates to it instead.  In the one case:  $258.55 in penalty interest and $337.00 in late fees.  An effort after all to keep the account balance on this closed account from being paid off.  So they were literally eating up between the two that approximately $774.00 with $595.55 in predatory charges on a closed account.

Now for the clincher; the account balance on this closed account is $1,108.35 after all the predatory lending abuses that Capital One Bank has engaged in.  The minimum payment due is $338.72.  According to the credit card rules this account balance would take 9 years to pay off…  According to my calculation:  $769.63.  Unless Capital One Bank wishes to heap even more abuses on this account even if the minimum payment due were in fact sent, it would not take “9 years” to pay off such an account.  But rather three months with interest rates, etc. factored in.  Not that Capital One Bank wishes to acknowledge that it has of course any intentions of engaging in abusive practices (feeling overwhelmed?); no, it just demonstrates a desire to engage in abusive practices.  But since a billing statement is in fact a legal document, Capital One’s billing statement has become evidence of dishonest practices and statements.

What’s in your mail?  Many banks do indeed comply with the changes in credit card laws, new credit card rules, and do not set about overcharging a minimum payment due for the size of the account balance.  Many banks do not in fact hit their customers up for late fees and penalty interest rates for on-time payments.  But Capital One did by June of 2009 through August of that year.  And continued to do so from September of 2009 to the present.  —Remember, this is a closed account.  If your bank is complying with these consumer protection laws, good for you.  But if instead, you see a billing statement such as I have described coming from Capital One Bank, then you are dealing with a bank that is in fact engaging in predatory lending practices regardless of the fact that this is a consumer protection law.  You do have a recourse:  to place debt incurred through abusive practices in dispute, challenge the bank, demand they correct it, if they do not in a period of 45 days (Fair Credit Billing Act of 1999); you are not required to pay it.  If the bank doesn’t “write it off,” as they are required to by law, it is still not your debt because the bank abused you to try to obtain it.  The bank that violates or abuses these consumer protection laws, can not claim debt through predatory practices.  Certainly, not legally.  Keep a record, then hold the bank to account.


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