One of the nation’s largest financial institutions has been ordered by a state court judge in California to pay $2 million after it was accused of violating the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by making “harassing and annoying” debt collection calls to its customers.
Capital One will pay a civil money penalty of $1.45 million, $300,000 in investigative costs, and $250,000 in restitution. Going back as far as 2015, the bank made phone calls with “unreasonably excessive frequency” while also persisting in calling wrong numbers in attempts to collect on unpaid debts. Under the terms of the stipulated final judgment, Capital One, which did not admit any liability or wrongdoing, has also agreed to limit the number of calls it will make in the future as part of its debt collection efforts. The frequency limits might look familiar to some — Capital One will not make more than seven calls to an account in a consecutive seven-day period, will stop calls to all accounts for which it does not have a valid telephone number, and will stop contacting individuals who ask — verbally or in writing — for communications to be ceased.
The case is the latest in a series of actions stemming from a Debt Collection Task Force, which is a joint effort by the District Attorney’s offices in Riverside, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Santa Clara counties in California. Last November, Synchrony Bank reached a settlement and agreed to pay $3.5 million in fines and restitution. And back in 2018, iQor Holdings paid $9 million to settle a lawsuit that was filed by 18 prosecutors in California. The task force is also arguing a case before the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit against Credit One Bank.