Capitol One just made a $286 million mistake, cardholder going to Disney Land

Blind_Io

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http://legalblogwatch.typepad.com/legal_blog_watch/2010/12/lawsuit-of-the-day-capital-one-sues-cardholder-for-286-million-and-fails-to-appear.html

Credit card debt collection actions are a dime a dozen. But it's not often that Jane Q. Consumer is accused of failing to pay a bank for running up charges to the tune of close to $300 million.

Courthouse News Service has linked to a complaint filed Wednesday in a Pennsylvania state court, accusing Capital One of harassing Patrice Perry in an attempt to collect on unpaid credit card bills. Allegedly, Capital One didn't like that Patrice responded to their initial collection letters by hiring an attorney. At that point, the bank was seeking something in the neighborhood of $4,000.


Not only did Capital One ignore the demand, under Pennsylvania's version of the FDCPA, that all future communications be with Perry's lawyer, continuing to make phone calls to her home, her office, and even some of her friends and relatives, but it kept arbitrarily changing the alleged amount due. Finally, Perry received a letter demanding payment of $286,651,237.00.

Capital One then allegedly filed suit against Perry but failed to appear for a scheduled court hearing. So Perry sued 'em right back. She contends that this couldn't be a mere computer error, since "no computer program at Capital One could have possibly contained an algorithm allowing for a 9 digit debt to be printed on a letter seeking payment without human intervention."

The icing on the cake is contained in Perry's prayer for relief, which demands, among other things, "Damages equal to amounts sought by Defendant from Plaintiff." If Capital One has to pony up $286 million, there may be some angry Vikings roaming the streets of your neighborhood. And, no, I'm not talking about this kind of angry Viking.
So Capitol One turns bully and tries to extort the cardholder for millions and fails to appear for their own court case which allows the cardholder to sue them for equal damages.

Whoops.
 

maxtortheone

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Looks like the bank's plan took this route



Congrats to her for not being scared off by some big bank. And what's with Capitol One calling relatives and friends?
 

TC

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Probably a stupid processor error. I work for a bank, it's sad how often dumb mistakes are made and overlooked. That $286,651,237.00 dollar figure is probably her account number or something, accidentally placed in the wrong field of the letter by a careless processor.

They deserve to be sued for harassment though.
 
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TerranCmdr

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Honestly, all that stuff about calling friends and relatives is probably in the contract that you sign when you get a credit card. You know a great way to deal with debt collectors? PAY YOUR DEBT. They're harassing you because you owe them money. That lady's lucky she didn't owe the mob money. You can't sue them.
 

GRtak

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There are laws regulating what those companies can do to collect the money owed to them. Harrasing them fails outside of the law.
 

Blind_Io

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I've been on the receiving end of debt collectors due to my medical bills from two years ago. Most are very courteous, but firm, I listen to them and try to come to an arrangement to get them paid - often I convince them that their best chance of getting paid is putting a lien on my settlement. It ensures they get paid right away and it helps my case against the woman who hit me.

Every debt collector I've talked to has followed the law, has not harassed me or anyone else I know, and has been entirely professional - even helpful. I had one person call because I had been sent to collections by the State of California for failing to pay money that they had refunded to me. I sent back my toll tag and it activated when the mail truck crossed the bridge. The account was supposed to have been canceled, they even sent me back my deposit. I then get a ticket for failure to pay a toll; I call and ask them to pull up the photo. As they wait for the image to load I say, "just let me know when you see the mail truck." They said they cleared the violation and I was good to go. Then, months later, I get a call that I not only owe them for the toll, but they want to charge me for the deposit that they refunded me. I explained the situation to the collection agency, and they said that they would just take care of it. Apparently California had been sending a ton of people to collections who they never should have. The woman at the collection agency, who sounded like a no-nonsese black woman from the south, listened to my side and then said, "Oh, honey, I'm just going to take care of this for you. Don't you worry about a thing, sugar."

She was very nice to me on the phone, but I could tell that she had a "don't fuck with me" streak that was about to come out. In a battle between her and the state of California, my bet was on her.

I never heard about it again, so I assume that she set someone's head on fire back on the West Coast.
 

ashspet

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Honestly, all that stuff about calling friends and relatives is probably in the contract that you sign when you get a credit card. You know a great way to deal with debt collectors? PAY YOUR DEBT. They're harassing you because you owe them money.
Just don't be someone like me who happens to have the same name as a person who appears to be either scamming the system for every cent they can get their hands on, or have very poor financial management skills. I don't know who this person is yet, but I'm getting a bit tired of being harassed by debt collectors that are after her.
 

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Look, I'm not going to contest against that credit card companies are dicks or that what Capitol One did was entirely stupid and out of line, but only idiots owe debt on their credit cards.

DON'T SPEND MONEY THAT YOU DON'T HAVE

Is that so hard?

"no computer program at Capital One could have possibly contained an algorithm allowing for a 9 digit debt to be printed on a letter seeking payment without human intervention."
Something tells me that those are her lawyer's words :rolleyes:
 

That American Girl

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DON'T SPEND MONEY THAT YOU DON'T HAVE
DING! DING! DING!

I know that medical bills and such are different, I've been there. But I have no sympathy for folks who repeatedly max out their cards then whine about the bills.
 

jebjeb

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About to be the most hated man on the forum but as part of my job I help do some medical bill collections.
I actually sell electronic medical records and medical billing applications but when I'm not out selling or doing support calls I help in our medical billing office.

None of the doctors I work with actually send to a collection agency or report on your credit but we will send you statments with words like "collection account" or "final notice" on them after 5 statments. To get that treatment you either have to be stupid and not deal with your stuff(dont open you mail or contest an error) or just be a general dead beat.

The doctors are all family practice and they know if you have money and they advise us on if you can pay or not. Dont drive up in a SL550 and claim you cant pay your $15 copay. If you are on fixed low income and cant afford it they will normally help in alot of ways like giving you as many samples to your meds as they legaly can or have us write off part of it(due to contracts with insurance companys we cant just write off unless we show a reasonable effect to collect but that dosnt mean we cant print 2-3 statments that never really get mailed).

Alot of our older hospital patients are put on low payment plans of like $5-10 a month. We know they will never pay off the $4,000 that Medicare didnt pay but as long as they arnt spitting in the face of the doctor by not even trying they are happy.

We never call out side of normal work hours, we wont call you friends or family unless you list them on the responsable party section of your paper work, wont report you to an agency, we will tell you to find a new doctor if you refuse to pay if you have means to.
 

Blind_Io

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Jebjeb, it sounds like you are an ethical professional with respect for both the doctor and the patient. You're ok in my book, and I've been on the receiving end of those calls.
 

ninjacoco

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We kept getting calls for a dead person. It was really, really annoying because they only wanted to speak to him. I know this is to keep personal information safe, but sheesh. At least stay on the line long enough for us to explain that he's deceased and that they should look up the family's new contact info. Instead, they kept hanging up in our ears whenever we said he wasn't there. I think Mom just skipped ahead to "he's dead" one day and that finally ended the calls, but those guys are really persistent about getting their money back.

I'm fond of "not spending money you don't have" and avoiding this situation completely. If this woman has a case, good luck to her because financial institutions have it coming if they've bullied her into a hole. On the other hand, that's a really convoluted way to come up with that $4K.
 
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chaos386

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Look, I'm not going to contest against that credit card companies are dicks or that what Capitol One did was entirely stupid and out of line, but only idiots owe debt on their credit cards.

DON'T SPEND MONEY THAT YOU DON'T HAVE

Is that so hard?
Might be hard to buy a house, then.

Also, my mother recently had to pay off $35k worth of hospital bills for a kidney stone she got while in the US, and she paid for them with her credit card. It was all eventually paid back by her and my dad's medical coverage here in Saudi Arabia, but until then, she did technically have quite a bit of credit card debt.
 

Matt2000

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That $286,651,237.00 dollar figure is probably her account number or something, accidentally placed in the wrong field of the letter by a careless processor.
Keep hold of that number then, might come in handy if she gets the $286 million.
 

Blind_Io

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Look, I'm not going to contest against that credit card companies are dicks or that what Capitol One did was entirely stupid and out of line, but only idiots owe debt on their credit cards.

DON'T SPEND MONEY THAT YOU DON'T HAVE

Is that so hard?


Something tells me that those are her lawyer's words :rolleyes:
Ever done financing on a big purchase, like an appliance, car or house? Congratulations, you just spent money you don't have. Financing purchases is necessary for those of us who don't have a quarter million dollars in cash laying around to buy a house, or a savings account worth fifteen thousand for a used car.
 

spicysaurus

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Some debt collectors are just assholes. I didn't realize my ex had closed the account that was paying my student loan, and it went delinquent as a result. Sallie Mae called 12 times and left robotic messages on my voicemail during the weekend, when their offices are closed (this was the first I knew there was a problem). As soon as they were open Monday I called and paid the bill. They called me another 5 times following that, including twice after my surgery, when my mom had to tell them, "She just had throat surgery and can't speak to you." They only finally got the message when I emailed them threatening to sue them for harassment if they didn't stop calling me.

Some companies make harassment part of their standard practice, it would seem.
 

phuckingduck

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We kept getting calls for a dead person. It was really, really annoying because they only wanted to speak to him. I know this is to keep personal information safe, but sheesh. At least stay on the line long enough for us to explain that he's deceased and that they should look up the family's new contact info. Instead, they kept hanging up in our ears whenever we said he wasn't there. I think Mom just skipped ahead to "he's dead" one day and that finally ended the calls, but those guys are really persistent about getting their money back.

I'm fond of "not spending money you don't have" and avoiding this situation completely. If this woman has a case, good luck to her because financial institutions have it coming if they've bullied her into a hole. On the other hand, that's a really convoluted way to come up with that $4K.
My uncle has been in and out of the debt collection business for a few decades and at one point my cousin was working for one of the firms. My cousin had to explain that the whole "They're dead" thing doesn't really phase anyone who's been in the industry. Why? At least all will in the first month of working have an experience where they get the "your debtor is dead" speech. They will then call back in a few days to a week, at the direction of their boss, and the supposedly deceased will pick up the phone. They're not being dicks about dead family, it's dicks who owe money and stoop low enough to have others say they're dead. I know it sounds cruel but people need to owe up to their debts.
 

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You think credit card companies are bad? Try child support. I got harassed by them and they would not stop until I paid.

No, I don't have kids, this was child support for me. We mailed the death certificate to them and everything and they were by the end addressing the letters to me. :|
 
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