In a Florida Court, Joyce and Nelson Coniglio were recently awarded $1 million for violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) after Bank of America continued to contact the consumers over a four year period for failure to make payment on their mortgage loan. In the order, the Judge stated the repeated calls were a violation of the TCPA and ordered the bank to pay the couple $1,500 for every prerecorded message they received between 2009 and 2013.
Beginning in 2009, the Coniglios, who are now in their late 60s, began having trouble making payments on their mortgage loan with Bank of America. Shortly thereafter, the calls started coming from Bank of America in an effort to try to encourage the couple not to fall behind on their payment. The Coniglios report that it was not out of the ordinary to receive as many as five calls a day from the bank. The couple stated that they would receive phone calls during dinner on their cell phones and on their answering machine at home after being out.
In response to the repeated and harassing phone calls, a representative for Bank of America stated the calls were not meant to harass the couple but to encourage payment so that they would not go into foreclosure. The couple noted before a judge after filing their TCPA claim that they had received over 700 calls over a four year period from the bank. The couple stated that any time they were able to speak with a live person, they demanded Bank of America cease all contact. Furthermore, the couple began receiving demanding letters from the bank that included misleading and false information. In addition to their verbal demands, the Coniglios wrote numerous cease-and-desist letters which also went unanswered.
In July of 2013, after the Coniglios could not tolerate additional calls, they filed a complaint in a Florida Federal Court for violations of the TCPA. After failing to respond to the lawsuit, the Coniglios won their claim by default and the judge increased the statutory amount of $500 per violation per phone call to $1,500 as a result of Bank of America’s failure to make an appearance in court.
If you are receiving excessive calls from a creditor and believe your rights have been violated under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, contact SmithMarco P.C. for a completely free case review.