According to Yahoo, Bank of America is being forced to hand over more than $1 million to a Florida couple after the bank flooded them with hundreds of loan collection calls for years.
In a complaint filed in July, attorneys for Nelson and Joyce Coniglio said that the couple had been on the receiving end of “patterns of outrageous, abusive and harassing conduct” by a subsidiary of Bank of America that included 700 calls in four years, after the bank said the couple fell behind on mortgage loan payments in 2009.
The Coniglios also received “threatening collection letters asserting false and misleading information,” the complaint said.
The couple sent multiple letters from legal representation asking the bank to stop, but the calls — sometimes up to five a day — continued.
In the end, a Florida judge awarded the couple $1,051,000 — approximately $1,500 for every call — in addition to court costs and attorney fees.
“This judgment against Bank of America is an epic win for consumers across the country,” Billy Howard, an attorney for the Coniglios told ABC News. “It’s time to fight back against these ‘robo-bullies’.”
The Coniglios’ case was not the first time Bank of America has faced accusations of intense harassment by phone.
In September 2013, the bank paid a record $32 million to settle a class action lawsuit with a reported 7.7 million customers who claimed they were harassed by such “robocalls.” In that case, Bank of America said it denied the allegations but settled to avoid further legal costs.
“We would be out at dinner and they would ring my mother’s cellphone,” son Jason Coniglio told the Tampa Bay Times, “then they would call my dad’s cellphone and then when we got back to the house, there would be another message on the answering machine.”
At their wits end, the couple sued under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act and the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act.
“‘Once a debt collector is told to stop calling, whether it be in writing or verbally, it doesn’t make a difference,” said David Mitchell, one of the family’s attorneys.
“Every call after that is considered a willful violation of the (law.)”
Bank of America ended up missing a deadline to oppose the lawsuit, and the Coniglios won by default in October.
Last week the judge dismissed the bank’s attempt to set aside the default judgment and awarded the couple $1,051,000 – approximately $1,500 for every call – in addition to court costs and attorney fees.