A few weeks ago, my wife and were trying to consolidate our credit card debt and we saw a mailing from Capital One for 12 months interest free for balance transfers with no balance transfer fees. We both read the terms and this looked like a great deal. As you may remember I wrote about credit card debt on ne of my previous posts about credit card debt.
We called up Capital one and went through their process of applying using the “Code” they gave us and after a few weeks we were approved. So we called back and re-confirmed the terms of the balance transfer deal and asked to transfer a substantial amount of money to the new Capital one Account. We were assured that we had 12 months of 0% interest on the transferrred balances, as well as Zero % on purchases for 12 months!
A few days ago we get a bill from Capital one which includes interest at 14.90 %. Naturally, we called up customer service and asked for clarification on why were we being charge the 14.90% rate when we signed up for the 12 months of interest free financing. Based on Capital One’s records WE NEVER SIGNED UP for the Zero Percent financing. Of course this sent both of us over the edge and we escalated to the next level to the finance manager. Same result.
Would you believe that Capital One asked us to provide proof of the offer. Of course we had already discarded the orignal offer mailing (our mistake obviously in trusting the transaction). Additionally, Capital One does not give any emails confirming this type of transaction. Again obviously our mistake for not asking an email confirmation when we made the transfer.
Now here’s the kicker. the first finance manager we spoke to was down right hostile and during our conversation, hung up on us, as we probe deeper into this policy of rate changes. I guess, us being upset with our rate change and our raised volume contributed to him hanging up on us..
In the end, we were finally able to get another finance manager to “forgive” the interest charges, but we were told, that we would have to move our balane AGAIN to ANOTHER card, otherwise, we would be charged the 14.90% on an ongoing basis.
After this, I decided to report Capital One to the NJ State Consumer Affairs and the Better Business Bureau. This is after all the only recourse I have as my “friends” at Capital One insist that I was the one that did not understand the terms of the balance transfer.
The silver lining from all of this is that I have learned some valuable lessons:
- Keep all written offers until AFTER you get the first invoice. Capital One asked me for written proof of the offer and of course I could not provide it, as I had discarded the original snail mail that I had received from Capital One.
- I learned that the Web is a valuable resource in protecting the consumer from this type of “Bait and Switch” tactics.
- eHow is the best site I found for a step by step method to submit complaints against credit card company fraud
Has this kind of thing happened to you? If so what did you do?
Right now I’m scrambling to move my balance to another card under terms that I can live with…