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Capital One claims the right to visit cardholders at home or at work

Capital One's Terms of Service Update seems to give them extraordinary powers over their cardholders
Capital One's Terms of Service Update seems to give them extraordinary powers over their cardholders
Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid /

Actor Samuel L. Jackson is known for singing the praises of Capital One credit cards. They certainly do provide a lot of benefits for their cardholder. However, according to the Los Angeles Times on Feb. 17, one benefit you won’t hear Mr. Jackson crowing about is Capital One’s ability to drop by your house if you use one of their cards.

You may be thinking. . . huh? It’s a joke, right? Well, no, it isn’t. Capital One recently updated its Terms of Service (those things you never read) and it’s fairly clear that they can drop by for a cup of coffee any time they want. More specifically, it states “we may contact you in any manner we choose,” that manner including calls, emails, texts, faxes or “personal visits.”

And it’s not just dropping by your house. The Terms of Service also states that the visit can take place “at your home and at your place of employment.”

The police need a court order to do something like this. The IRS needs an arrest warrant. All Capital One needs, so it seems, is their Terms of Service. And what about the 4th Amendment to the Constitution?

"It sounds really invasive, but I don't think it's a violation of your 4th Amendment rights," said Daniel E. Kann, a Santa Clarita lawyer who specializes in illegal-search cases.

That amendment, by the way, is mostly for search and seizure by law enforcement or other government agency. It doesn’t apply to civilian businesses like Capital One.

And what about those phone calls? Have you heard of spoofing? It’s a legal practice of disguising your phone number in an attempt to get the other person to pick up the phone. This is from Capital One's Terms of Service, too. "We may modify or suppress caller ID and similar services and identify ourselves on these services in any manner we choose."

Normally, this is against the law; however, courts have ruled that “non-harmful spoofing” is not against the law. Sadly, this allows businesses to shield themselves so the party they are calling will pick up.

It’s going to take one good court case to find out if Capital One is truly within its legal rights to enforce their Terms of Service as written. If this doesn't convince you to read all the paperwork that comes with your new credit card, nothing will.

What’s in your wallet?

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