A bank which hounded a dying cancer victim for just £42 has backed off – after TV star Amanda Holden publicly slammed them.
Steph Knight, 21, who has possibly days to live, was pursued by Capital One even though they were told she was terminally ill.
She thought she had paid off her card when she received her diagnosis last October and had not realised a payment of #8.99 had been incurring charges since.
Her mother Cindy, 58, tried to pay off the outstanding amount on Steph’s behalf but the bank refused to deal with her.
In desperation Cindy raised the case with caring Amanda who has got to know Steph through the Willow Foundation charity.
The furious Britain’s Got Talent judge urged her Twitter followers to bombard the US-based bank.
She tweeted: “Capital One you need to contact her parents NOW. Steph is not well enough to talk to you obvs. This is utterly ridiculous. @StephKnightFund.”
And she added: “Let’s spam @CapitalOne until they sort this ridiculous claim. @StephKnightFund. Her family do not need any more worry! They want to sort.”
Just half an hour later Capital One issued an apology on the social networking site and promised to look into the case.
They said: “We’re really sorry to hear this has happened we are doing all we can to make sure this is resolved straight away. Capital One”
Amanda retweeted the statement and added: “Twitter Army wins again!
“@capitalone want medical proof she is terminal!!! But are holding account.They shld chk out http://www.stephknight.co.uk”
Relieved Cindy welcomed the bank’s change of heart but said they had inflicted unnecessary worry on the family.
She said: “I thought we’d paid it all off six months ago when Steph was diagnosed as terminal.
“Her mind is going a bit and she can’t write so can’t do a letter.
“Because it’s Steph’s account they wouldn’t let me do it. It’s the last thing we want to have to do at the moment.
“It seems so callous to charge her without any query as to why she had not paid. It was a paperless statement so we were totally unaware that the payment of #8.99 hadn’t been cleared.
“Someone could have just picked up the phone and asked.”
Cindy, now a full-time carer for Steph in Braughing, Herts., added: “Amanda has been a major support to us.
“She has visited every other week for the last couple of months, she spends time with all of us and one to one.
“She said to Steph the other day ‘Life is like a carnival and some leave early and some catch up later’ and asked her hold her little boy’s hand.
“I thought it was really lovely, she is down to earth and really cares about Steph and her charity.”
Amanda yesterday explained why she stepped in to help Steph.
She said “This is specifically about Capital One but the general lack of compassion, humanity and common sense is displayed by so very many companies these days – that is until the press step in or there is a backlash on witter. Which cannot be right.
“Capital One had absolutely no interest in wanting to help a dying girl until publicly shamed.
“What kind of people were they, who didn’t want to help a dying girl? Who were they? I’d really like to know.
“And how many other desperate people are there who, without the help of publicity, are struggling against not just bureaucracy but real individuals who actively don’t care?
“It would only have taken one person with a bit of kindness and initiative to engage properly with the family but no-one could be bothered until they were made to.
“What a terrible indictment on everyone involved. And remember this has only been resolved because Steph is my friend and I am lucky enough to be in the public eye. But what about the others?”
Steph was just 17 when she was diagnosed with bone cancer, called Ewings sarcoma, in 2009 and had to have her right leg and part of her pelvis removed.
She went into remission for just over a year but on New Years’ Day was given the devastating news that the cancer had returned and there was no cure.
The former trainee teacher has spent the last four months ticking off items on her bucket list of 50 things she wants to do in the last few months of her life.
Highlights so far include having tea with Gary Barlow and chatting to Peter Andre on the phone.
The only two wishes left on her list are meeting the Beckhams and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
A Capital One spokesman said: “We were very sorry to hear of what had happened.
“As soon as we became aware of the case we were able to resolve it straight away.”