Capital One's new contract raises privacy concerns

Feb. 18, 2014 at 3:40 PM
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MCLEAN, Va., Feb. 18 (UPI) -- A Capital One's representative said as "a last resort" in select cases the U.S. financial company would send an agent to a consumer's home.

The new contract language for Capital One says the company has the right to send someone to a customer's home or their place of employment and to electronically trick their caller I.D. service into registering a phony name when calling.

The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday that company representative Pam Girardo explained that the company would only send someone to a consumer's home if they were repossessing a big-ticket items bought with a credit card, such as a snowmobile and only with proper advanced notification.

"As a last resort, we may go to a customer's home after appropriate notification if it becomes necessary to repossess the sports vehicle," she said.

She also said the company was reviewing the language in the contract that says Capital One can "modify or suppress caller ID and similar services and identify ourselves on these services in any manner we choose."

Some consumers have been unnerved by the new, invasive policies that show up on Capital One contracts, the Times said.

While private companies do not need warrants to send someone to your home, it raises questions when a company announces on a contract it can do so.

"Now more than ever, consumers need to be able to trust companies," said Emily Rusch, executive director of the California Public Interest Research Group, a consumer advocacy organization.

The Times said it was also illegal to trick a phone into masking the caller's identification when it is done so during a crime, but it was legal to do so when doing something legal, such as calling for debt collection.

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