Nelson and Joyce Coniglio, of Tampa, Florida, received hundreds of loan collection calls over four years after they fell behind on mortgage loan payments in 2009, the couple alleged in a harassment lawsuit against Bank of America.
In a complaint filed in federal court in July, attorneys for the couple said the mostly automated “robocalls” amounted to “patterns of outrageous, abusive and harassing conduct” by a subsidiary of Bank of America.
“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, who are both 69, also received ‘threatening collection letters asserting false and misleading information,’ the complaint said.
The harassment continued, the couple alleged, even after their lawyers sent several cease-and-desist letters asking the bank to stop. However, the robocalls – sometimes up to five a day – continued.
The Coniglios won their suit on October after the bank missed the deadline to oppose the lawsuit.
Last week, the Florida judge presiding over the case dismissed the bank’s attempt to set aside the default judgment and awarded the couple $1,051,000 – about $1,500 for every call – in addition to court costs and attorney fees.
The couple sued under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act and the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act.
Bank of America sent ABC News the following statement regarding the Coniglios case:
“Bank of America has helped 2 million homeowners avoid foreclosure. 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,” Bank of America Senior Vice President Dan Frahm said. “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 avoid foreclosure.”