A Wisconsin man has filed a proposed class action in which he claims Capital One Bank (USA), N.A. has mailed hundreds of credit card offers addressed to his deceased wife after he requested on several occasions that the solicitations stop.
Alleging violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the 18-page lawsuit contests Capital One has acted with “blatant, intentional, and willful disregard” of the plaintiff’s right of privacy by accessing his wife’s credit information and sending “sham” credit offers despite having “actual or constructive knowledge” that she is deceased.
“Capital One acted maliciously toward Plaintiff, and with intentional disregard of Plaintiff’s rights,” the complaint scathes.
The case says that while the plaintiff was grieving the loss of his wife in January 2009, he received by mail a number of “pre-qualified” firm offers of credit from Capital One addressed to his late wife. According to the suit, the offers were made after the bank had accessed the plaintiff’s and his wife’s credit information from a consumer reporting agency.
The plaintiff relays he was “distressed and distraught” to receive the credit offers in his wife’s name and, after receiving them for several years, called the National Consumer Opt-Out Hotline to request that the solicitations cease. Per the complaint, however, the hotline is jointly maintained and administered by the “Big Three” consumer reporting agencies—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—from whom Capital One obtains credit information.
Despite the plaintiff’s request, he continued to receive what he estimates to be hundreds of credit offers from Capital One addressed to his wife, the suit says. Upon information and belief, the complaint continues, the credit reports the Big Three reporting agencies provided to Capital One stated the plaintiff’s wife was deceased.
The plaintiff spoke by telephone with Capital One representatives at least three times throughout 2018, asking that the bank cease and desist mailing the offers of credit to his deceased wife “because they were causing him additional grief,” the lawsuit relays. Each time, the representative stated that the communications would stop, according to the suit.
Notwithstanding Capital One’s assurances, the plaintiff continued to receive advertising addressed to his wife, sometimes as often as four times per week and even more than once in the same day, the suit claims, stating at least 60 specific dates between September 2018 and September 2019 on which the plaintiff received Capital One credit offers directed to his wife.
“The constant barrage of advertising materials sent to [the plaintiff] reminded him of the loss of his wife, and left him sad and depressed,” the complaint reads. “Moreover, his inability to get the marketing to stop left him feeling less than human.”
The lawsuit alleges Capital One’s conduct amounts to a violation of both the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Wisconsin Right of Privacy, on top of causing the plaintiff emotional distress.
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