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A while ago I mentioned CapitalOne's perpetual-finance-charge machine. At the time I'd just gotten off my second call to get them to stop pettily half-dollaring me, and had been promised that the problem was solved.  

Not only was it not solved, but where the first call had produced a $.49 credit that failed to counteract a $.50 charge, the second call ended up yielding nothing. The following month's statement contained no credit, and yet another $.50 finance charge. So I called again, this time explaining the original problem and the two failed attempts to fix it. This third call produced a $.52 credit, which wasn't the right amount but at least showed they were trying to catch up. I deliberately overpaid my bill for that period by a few dollars, too, figuring that at least I could eliminate the extra charge by brute force.  

But that didn't work, either. The next statement showed the $.52 credit and my overpayment, but yet another $.50 charge. On my fourth call I simply demanded to speak to a supervisor directly, and refused to get off the phone with that supervisor until they could convince me that 1) they really understood the problem, 2) they understood and could explain why the first three attempts to fix it didn't work, and 3) they had the power and the will to fix it themselves, personally, directly, and by "fix it" I mean "fix it", not "submit a request to have it fixed" or "credit me some other random amount in the hopes that that will fix it".  

Supervisor LQ54 did, in fact, do a credible job on #s 1 and 2. Purchases and cash advances are tracked separately, and those $.49 and $.52 credits had apparently been misapplied to my purchase balance, not my cash-advance balance. He claimed to be zeroing out my cash-advance balance directly, and then separately applying a $1.49 credit for the accumulation of unreversed charges. I couldn't verify this myself in real-time, but neither was there anything further he could tell me that would increase my confidence, so I'll see when the next statement comes.  

But even if my problem is now solved, the underlying behavior is bad. It looks to me like if you ever take out a cash advance on your CapitalOne card (and remember that in this case the whole thing was started by a vendor processing a payment as a cash advance without my awareness), they will immediately begin charging you self-perpetuating fees that cannot be eliminated by any combination of paying in full, overpaying, and normal complaints and credits. If you don't pay your bills in full, and thus have other finance charges anyway, this may be increasing your fees without you having any realistic way of noticing. The magnitude of the effect is small for any individual customer, but how large for CapitalOne as a whole? And at what point does this move from accounting anomaly to negligent design to systemic fraud?
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