Joyce and Nelson Coniglio are pretty typical American consumers. Like millions of other Americans over the last few years, they’ve had problems keeping up with their home mortgage.
Unfortunately, and also like millions of other Americans, Bank of America has been hounding them relentlessly over the last four years to try and get those late mortgage payments paid.
Even after the couple begged them to stop calling, and even after they had their attorney send letters to Bank of America asking them to stop, they didn’t, and the harassing phone calls continued ceaselessly.
It’s for that reason that a judge in Tampa, Florida recently ruled that Bank of America will pay triple what they usually pay for cases like these ($500 per call) and pay the Coniglio’s $1,051,000.
The reason; “patterns of outrageous, abusive and harassing conduct” by the bank, which the lawsuit against them also alleges included “threatening collection letters”.
As Mr. Coniglio tells it, “they treated us very badly, no two ways about it,” adding that the calls he and his wife Joyce received over the last few years were “unrelenting”. The calls, almost all of them automated, were placed to their home upwards of five times a day and left the same recorded message every time.
Knowing your Rights
The fact is, the federal government has laid out specific rules and laws that banks need to follow when dealing with situations of the type that the Coniglio’s were involved in. Those laws include not being allowed to make repeated phone calls to a customer, especially after they have sent a written letter requesting that they stop.
Many of these laws were put into effect because of the harassing phone calls and letters that many banks were getting into the habit of leaving, communication that left bank customers stressed and anxious, to say the least.
These laws were put in place to protect consumers from banks like Bank of America and others that seem to have no ethics or morals when it comes to collecting a debt, even if the customer is doing their best to pay it back.
For the Coniglio’s, and over 7 million other consumers in the United States, knowing these laws and putting them to good use has given Bank of America something to think about; a $32 million class-action lawsuit.
Of course, Bank of America is singing a different tune, saying that “because our calls were not answered and our efforts to help were urgent, these calls continued”.
The Coniglio’s Look at it a bit differently. “If I did what Bank of America did, I’d probably be behind bars,” says Joyce.
Which begs the question; why isn’t someone from Bank of America being held accountable for breaking all of these laws?