- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Capital One has a new, ominous-sounding contract for its credit card customers — one that has some users wondering about the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures.

In short, the company’s new contract clarifies that Capital One “may contact you in any manner we choose,” by telephone, email, text, facsimile, or “a personal visit,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

The contract states that the personal visits can be “at your home and at your place of employment,” the paper reported.

Customers — at least the ones who have noticed — are spooked.

“Even the Internal Revenue Service cannot visit you at home without an arrest warrant,” said Rick Rofman, 71, who told the Times of his new contract terms.

Still, it’s not a violation of the Fourth Amendment, Santa Clarita attorney Daniel Kann told the Times.

“It sounds really invasive, but I don’t think it’s a violation,” he said, adding that it nevertheless could set the stage for harassment charges against the company.

Other Capital One strategies to contact customers: Modifying or suppressing caller ID services so that customers think the call is from a local, or a charity, or some other friendly-sounding group. The tactic, called “spoofing,” has already been ruled legal, as long as companies engage in “non-harmful spoofing” that doesn’t cause fraud, the newspaper reported.

Capital One spokesperson Pam Girardo told the Times that the company “does not visit our cardholders, nor do we send debt collectors to their homes or work.”

Miss Girardo said visiting a customer’s home is a “last resort” when it becomes necessary to repossess big-ticket products for partnering companies such as Jet Ski — and only after “appropriate notification” has been given.



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