Capital One is revisiting a policy that allows bank workers to make personal visits to customers and identify themselves in any manner they choose, after consumer advocates and others recently lambasted the tactics.
A spokesperson for Capital One said the terms have been in contracts for years and that the bank does not visit cardholders' homes unless it is repossessing a vehicle.
But, under the current agreement, bank representatives have the right to come to customers' homes and places of employment. Backlash from news of the contracts' language will likely make other card companies stay away from such agreements, according to several credit card experts.
"It is a bit over the top," said Bill Hardekopf, CEO of LowCards.com, which provides information on various credit cards. "They can try to get the money back but they can't come to my door and take my stereo away."
Hardekopf, calling the contract's wording "creepy," said he hasn't heard of such agreements and doubts that other companies will follow Capital One's lead.
Pam Girardo, a spokeswoman for Capital One, said the language has been in contracts for years.
"The agreement was recently sent to a group of customers as part of the ongoing HSBC integration," she said in an e-mail. "We are reviewing the language because we do not want to create any unnecessary insecurity among our customers and we apologize for the confusion."
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The company only sends debt collectors to homes and workplaces in connection with partnerships it has with several sports vehicle manufacturers, Girardo said. As a last resort, jet skis, snowmobiles and other vehicles might be repossessed, she said.
Girardo added the company wants its name displayed on caller ID but that "some local phone exchanges may display our number differently."