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Couple wins suit against bank for its loan collection efforts

Many homeowners found themselves underwater in their mortgages when the housing market collapsed several years ago. As a result, many families likely experienced difficulties keeping up with their mortgage payments and had to endure harassment from their lender's loan collection efforts. A federal judge recently ordered Bank of America to pay a couple after refusing to honor their no-contact request. Since this bank has customers throughout the country -- including here in Washington -- readers may be interested in learning more.

This couple had a mortgage through Countrywide. When the housing bubble deflated, they -- like thousands of other homeowners -- found that they could not keep up with their increased mortgage cost when Countrywide was absorbed into Bank of America. This lending institution then began making so-called "robo-calls" to the couple's home and cell phone lines beginning in 2009. A few months later, they contacted a third-party mediation company in an attempt to negotiate a loan modification.

In late summer of 2009, the couple sent a written notice to Bank of America to cease all contact with them, as they expected the mitigation representative to handle all mortgage communication. The bank acknowledged receipt of the notice and proceeded to continue with the multiple robo-calls on a regular basis. Two years later, an attorney for the couple again requested that the bank cease calling his clients. The bank once again acknowledged the letter but did not stop calling through the automated system.

The couple then filed a lawsuit against Bank of America for violating the federal Consumer Telephone Protection Act and the state's Consumer Collection Protection Act. The federal judge ruled that Bank of America must pay over $1 million dollars for harassing the couple for more than five years. The judge also dismissed the bank's efforts to defend its loan collection efforts. Washington families are also afforded some protections from harassment and unlawful contact from creditors. There are options available to those families that are struggling with overwhelming debt and may be considering the merits of filing for bankruptcy protection.

Source: consumerist.com, "Bank Of America Must Pay Family $1 Million For 5 Years Of Unwanted Robocalls", Chris Morran, Dec. 11, 2014

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