I received a “replacement” department store credit card in the mail. I closed the old department store credit card years ago and didn’t request a new card. What should I do?
Here’s the bottom line: It is illegal for a credit card company, store, or other entity to send you a credit card you did not request.
These days, most companies don’t send out straight-forward unsolicited credit cards. But some companies try to get around the law by sending:
Sending these types of cards, if unsolicited, still violates the law.
However, companies are permitted to send replacement cards for active credit card accounts, even if the new cards are usable at more stores or have different features.
Don’t just throw an unsolicited card in the trash. Here’s why:
Here’s what to do:
Call the Company. Make a copy of the card and then call the company and inform it of the following:
Send a confirmation letter. After you call, send a confirmation letter to the company (and keep a copy for your files), along with information about the credit card such as the account number and name on the account.
Cut up the card.
File a complaint. Send a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (visit www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint) or the Federal Trade Commission (visit https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov).
Check your credit report. Wait a few weeks, then get your credit report and check to be sure the account is not on your report. (To learn how to get your credit report, visit our Credit Reports & Credit Scores topic area.)
For more information on credit cards and how to shop and use them, visit our Banking & Credit Cards topic area.
Excerpted in part from Solve Your Money Troubles by Margaret Reiter and Robin Leonard (Nolo).