Bank of America recently paid a $1 million settlement after an elderly Tampa Bay couple sued the bank for years of phone harassment, reported ABC News.
Nelson and Joyce Coniglio filed the suit in July after finally getting fed up with the bank’s aggressive bill collecting tactics. In 2009, the Coniglios fell behind on mortgage payments and were struggling to keep up. However, the bank and the phone calls didn’t relent for years. According to the lawsuit, the Coniglios were victims of “patterns of outrageous, abusive, and harassing conduct.”
“If I did what Bank of America did, I’d probably be behind bars,” said Joyce Coniglio.
“This judgement against Bank of America is an epic win for consumers across the country,” said Billy Howard, the Coniglio’s attorney. “It’s time to fight back against the ‘robobullies.’”
Bank of America has gotten into similar trouble in the past. In 2013, Bank of America paid $32 million to settle a class action suit where 7.7 million Bank of America customers claimed they were robocalled and harassed, much like the Coniglios were. Of course, Bank of America denied committing such acts, saying they only settled to end the suit.
What’s more outrageous, in regards to the Coniglio case, Bank of America said it was only trying to “help” the couple.
“Bank of America has helped 2 million homeowners avoid closure. Our calls to the Coniglios were not to collect a debt, but rather to help them avoid foreclosure after they fell behind on their mortgage payments in 2009,” said Bank of America Senior Vice President Dan Frahm. “Because our calls were not answered and our efforts to help the Coniglios avoid foreclosure were urgent, these calls continued. We are committed to help homeowners in need of assistance [to] avoid closure.”
The Coniglios documented about 700 calls that they received about their mortgage, which equals about one call every two days. That isn’t help. That’s outright harassment.
The results of an ABC News investigation in 2010 discovered that Bank of America was contracting companies to make collection calls. Some resorted to swearing and verbally abusing indebted customers.
Allen Jones, a Dallas resident, owed a measly $81 on his Bank of America credit card. We he fell behind, debt collectors called him with outrageous comments like “What’s up, you fucking n*gger?” When Jones didn’t answer, he found left messages saying “This is your fucking wake up call, man,” and “You little, lazy ass bitch, get your motherfucking ass up and go pick some motherfucking cotton fields, bitch.”
As Bank of America has shown in the past, the customers are the last thing the bank cares about. The bank only cares about its profits and whether or not the politicians it has bought are going to push for more corporate tax breaks.