Bank called widow 48 times a day, lawsuit says

A Hawaii woman says Bank of America called her every 15 minutes asking for payment after her husband died.

By Kim Peterson Sep 6, 2011 3:51PM

A Hawaii woman is suing Bank of America for allegedly calling her up to 48 times a day for her mortgage payment after her husband died of cancer.

The 63-year-old woman, Deborah Crabtree of Honolulu, claims the bank's "robo-calling" debt collectors rang her phone every 15 minutes, from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

It all started Aug. 3 of last year, the day after Crabtree's husband died. Bank of America called Crabtree to request the monthly loan payment on one of her two mortgages. The couple's mortgage payments, totaling nearly $3,000, were due on the first of the month.

According to the lawsuit, Crabtree told the bank that she had only $5,000 for her expenses, which included burying her husband and preparing for his wake. She said she had asked for 30 days to get everything in order and promised to pay as soon as she received her husband's life insurance benefit.

The bank allegedly said that Crabtree had enough for the first mortgage payment and continued to call her every day for the next week.

Things got worse. On the morning of her husband's wake, Crabtree set up a speakerphone so long-distance friends and relatives could call with condolences.

 

You know where this is going. Every 15 minutes, people at Crabtree's house heard Bank of America calling to collect the debt, the lawsuit claims. The bank allegedly called every 15 minutes for the next week.

Bank employees said they couldn't stop the computer-generated calls from going to Crabtree's phone, the lawsuit claims. The calls are designed to stop only after a mortgage payment is made. Post continues following a video about another lawsuit, filed against Bank of America last year.

Bank of America would not comment on Crabtree's case, CNN reports.

A couple of weeks later, Crabtree mailed the mortgage payments, including late fees, to the bank. The bank asked for documents proving her husband had died, which it subsequently lost, and requested them again. Then the bank wouldn't talk to her because they said only her husband's name was on the "note" -- even though Crabtree was listed on the mortgage documents as a borrower.

You can read through Crabtree's complaint here (via Courthouse News). If what she's saying is true, it's a pretty damaging case.

 

The Social Security Administration usually tells the bank of a person's death within a month or two, but sometimes it's faster than that. And one expert tells CNN that creditors sometimes race to be the first to collect after a death before the money is gone.

Does that mean calling while family members are still grieving? Yes, in some cases. It's legal, but it's not very respectful.

Earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission decided against a "cooling-off" period that keeps collectors away after a person's death. The commission said that collectors are already banned from contacting family members "at unusual or inconvenient times."

I'd say a wake is about as inconvenient as it gets.

 

More on MSN Money:

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

21Comments
Sep 6, 2011 5:31PM
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And bankers still cannot understand why they rank low in public opinion.  If you called the bank every fifteen minutes, they probably would call the cops to stop you.
Sep 6, 2011 5:06PM
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again I say they should change their name to BANK OF SLEAZE BAGS ! This is not the first time they did this nor will be the last time they should all go to jail
Sep 6, 2011 8:54PM
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This from the same people that have been caught breaking into homes to foreclose, when the home had no mortgage on it and had been paid for in full.  These people are pond scum.  I have not done business with a bank in 30 years (just credit unions) and I don't plan to.  Even if I did, Bank of America would not be a candidate.  What they did to that poor woman is just pathetic.  I hope it costs them big time. 
Sep 6, 2011 7:24PM
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Add this to the LONG list of things BOA does...how can anyone DO business with them....

 

Really ... BOA is the worst corporation America has ever had !!!

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I can beleive it... they are horrible if you are 1 day late, they will call dozens of times a day.
Sep 6, 2011 7:22PM
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Who said, " I trust no one but me and thee and I am not too sure about thee"  Isn't this too true today in business? If you can't or just won't pay these people what you owe then expect the harassment. That is just how they do business. I worked for Citibank for years and when they break the rules, the customer is supposed to just "get over it".

My thoughts are to stop using the banks and let's figure out a better way to live. Maybe barter and trade.

Sep 6, 2011 6:28PM
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T-mobile, too.  They harassed me few months ago in the same way for something overdue, and something even not due yet; they finally beg to talk to me and agreed to stop those calls after I filed a complaint with the state consumer protection board and FCC.
Sep 6, 2011 8:57PM
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CHASE BANK IS NOT FAR BEHIND, ANOTHER CORPORATION, WITH CEO MAKING MILLIONS IN SALARY AND PENSIONS WHILE PEOPLE LOSING JOBS AND HOMES
Sep 6, 2011 10:27PM
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Give these corporate giants enough rope and eventually they hang themselves.  Bankrupt of America is going down the tubes fast, it won't be long now folks.
Sep 6, 2011 5:53PM
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like bank of america, chase is another crook bank, I AM VERY HAPPY TO SEE FEDERAL HOUSING REG AGENCY IT IS TIME FOR GOVT AND DEPT OF JUSTICE TO PROSECUTE AND INVESTIGATE THESE BANKS INCLUDING BOA,CHASE, GOLDMAN AND CITI ETC ETC. THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR RUINING US ECONOMY AND FINANCIAL MELTDOWN , LOSS OF JOBS FOR GREED, PEOPLE OWN THE MORTGAGE TO SEE WHO OWN THE PROPERTY, IF BANKS DOES NOT PROVIDE OWNERSHIP/NOTE THEY DO NOT HAVE RIGHT ON THE PROPERTY,YOU CAN SEARCH HORROR STORIES  ONTHE INTERNET, SEE WHAT THESE CROOKS BANKS HAVE CAUSED TO THESE DECENT HARD WORKING PEOPLE, THEY NEED SOME HELP NOT FREE HAND, WE THE TAXPAYERS BAIL THEM OUT IN THERE TIME OF NEED, BUT THEY ARE NOT WILLING TO HELP, IT IS TIME UNITE AGAINST THESE BANKS, BREAK INTO SMALL PIECES SO THEY CAN COMPETE WITH SMALL BANKS, IF PRED OBAMA WANTS TO WIN THE ELECTION IN 2012  HE WILL NEED HELP FROM US THE LOWER AND MIDDLE CLASS, NOT THE RICH, WALL ST EXEC OR BANKS CEO, THERE PLACE IS BEHIND THE FEDERAL JAIL, ESP J DIMON CEO CAN SPENT TIME WITH BERNIE MADOFF FOR HELPING WITH HIS MONEY AND SCREWING HARD WORKING PEOPLE.AND CHARITIES, CHASE WAS BEHIND THIS HIDING MONEY FOR MADOFF
Sep 6, 2011 6:37PM
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IT IS TIME TO ACT , THEY NO RIGHT TO HARASS CUSTOMER ESP GOOD REASON,I LIKE DEATH IS GOOD AND SAD REASON, THEY DON'T LOVE AMERICA OR AMERICANS, THERE RELIGION IS GREED, THEY SHOULD GO HELL
Sep 7, 2011 8:16AM
Sep 7, 2011 12:07AM
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Open-mouthed I got a car loan from bank of america and they keep calling like I owed them more than the loan itself. I went to the bank talked to a clerk and she told me that she could take my name off the list. It was a rough year the calls finally stopped but I re-financed my loan from my credit union which never bothered me.Nerd
Sep 7, 2011 10:42AM
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SHE SHOULD WIN!!!!      THIS IS SO DISRESPECTFUL.

I HAD A LOAN FROM CHASE BANK.  THEY WOULD CALL EVEN IF YOU WERE WITHIN THE  I5  DAY GRACE PERIOD DEMANDING PAYMENT.  THEY WOULD CALL FROM THE PHILIPPINES ANYTIME AND COULD NOT SPEAK ENGLISH.  THAT IS WHY JOBS ARE NOT AVAILABLE IN THE U.S.   THESE PEOPLE IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES ARE WORKING FOR PENNIES AND TAKING OUR JOBS !!!! 

Sep 7, 2011 10:41AM
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OMG CHASE is THE WORST!!!  Last year before the prez put limits on how much cc companies can raise your interest, these jokers raised mine 3 times within 2 mos from 11% to a gut wrenching 24%!!!!  I contacted them, requesting to know WHY they were putting that rate so high when i'd been a loyal customer paying on time double what the min was on $10k, they responded with, if you dont like the rate PAY IT OFF! 

 

I was SO INCENSED that I did JUST THAT!!!!  It took me nearly a year, but this past July, I called them up and requested my balance so that I could pay it off and CLOSE IT!  They couldnt understand WHY I was closing it out because i'd been such a good customer, to which I ever so sweetely replied, oh its just time for me to get rid of my debt and they were the beginning ......Ill NEVER EVER have ANYTHING to do with anything that has to do with Chase AGAIN!

 

BofA has never been nothing but good to me, no complaints so far .....

Sep 7, 2011 3:18PM
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After reading the lawsuit, I think B of A should settle out of court as quickly as possible and not let this go to trial.  I imagine there are very few jurors out there who would side with a corporation who was using such tactics over a grieving widow.  I know that if I were on that jury I would give that poor lady everything she asked for and then some!  What a bunch of sociopaths!
Sep 7, 2011 11:06AM
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AMEN HIGHHAT, it makes me SICK when I speak with someone who cant understand what the hell im saying, I asked to speak with a supervisor at Chase and they told me that I should ask to speak with someone in AMERICA if I was not satisfied with a foreign person ........just an fyi
Sep 6, 2011 10:23PM
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HAS IT TAKEN AMERICA THIS LONG TO LEARN BANKING?
Sep 7, 2011 4:51PM
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they need to play the tape of the bank execs testifying before the maloney panel four or five years ago. all of them testified as to why customers must be pushed. this was just a couple of years before all of them were bailed out. i am sure almost everyone has a war story. too big to fail, effectively created by alan greenspan, needs to end. it is not good for the people of the usa
Sep 7, 2011 7:18PM
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As for Chase:

Wife & I have mortgage w/them 15yr @ 4.5% (now half way paid off). Our credit card w/Chase? 36%!! I guess since they couldn't make enough from us on our mortgage they figured to rape us on the CC. They keep calling asking why we don't use it!! Duh!!

 

As for BofA:

2 identical CC. 3 yrs ago had both paid off. I noticed rates going from 8.99 to 11.99 IN 2 MONTHS. Called & asked why my rate was going up AND I QUOTE: "Because you're not using your cards." Then bought merchandise for our store to keep our rate down BUT IT KEPT GOING UP. I called again to ask why AND I QUOTE: "Because you're using your cards."

 

Rates now 13.99% on one & 18.99 on another. When I called to get them to lower to the same 13.99%. Their BS was "Oh, they're different cards." I REPEAT: THEY ARE IDENTICAL CARDS!!!

 

March 2011: The last straw - They told me that beginning in June I would be charged a fee of $59 PER CARD. I IMMEDIATELY CALLED THEM AND TOLD THEM TO CANCEL THEM. They tried to have me keep them open saying after one year they could reconsider the annual charge. My last words to BofA: "I will never use your bank for ANYTHING in my lifetime. Go F**K YOURSELVES."

 

BTW: We have (almost) perfect credit & will be CC debt free w/in months. Still have CC w/Citi and they (so far) have always been responsive (as I make purchases & payments for our store of approx. $10K a month).

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