Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Bank of America May Owe You $40 for Nagging You

By Amanda Alix - Feb 22, 2014 at 12:00PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

A case regarding cell phone robocalls to delinquent bank customers was settled last September, and lawyers are looking for claimants to sign up for a portion of the $32 million kitty.

Source: Mario Sánchez Prada.

If you were harassed by automated cell phone debt-collection calls on behalf of Bank of America Corp. (BAC -1.38%) over the past few years, you may be eligible for compensation -- but you need to file a claim before March 21, or you'll be out of luck.

Bank of America settled a suit back in September alleging that it illegally harassed customers with requests for debt repayment using robocalls directed to their cell phones. The $32 million settles those allegations, as well as any future claims that might have arisen from the bank's 7.7 million mortgage and credit card customers.

The settlement was provisionally approved in December, and lawyers are putting out the word to those who were victimized by the robocalls that they must submit a claim by March 21, 2014, in order to be considered for a payout of $20 to $40. 

Were you robo-called? Source: Joe Wu.

The awards aren't huge, but as part of the deal, Bank of America has agreed to call customers only when the person has given their express permission for the bank to do so. For those enduring the harassing calls, therein lies the victory. B of A denied it made any of these kinds of calls but agreed to settle anyway. According to the Federal Trade Commission, nearly every pre-recorded call from a business entity which doesn't have your written permission to phone you is illegal.

Calls are increasing
The FTC also notes technology is making these calls attractive to businesses, where a high volume of calls for little cost is prompting more companies to use these services. These calls can be numerous and annoying: The lawyer involved in the Bank of America settlement, Mark Ankcorn, recounts his clients' distress at receiving from two to 10 cell phone robocalls a day from the bank, which would continue for several weeks without letup.

B of A isn't the only bank in hot water over robocalls. Wells Fargo (WFC -1.30%) has been sued by a man who says that the bank robocalled his cell phone approximately 50 times beginning last November -- despite the fact that he was not a Wells Fargo customer.

The calls kept coming, the plaintiff said, even after he told the bank he was not the party it was looking for -- as well as past the time he signed up for the Do Not Call Registry. The bank settled a prior cell phone call suit in 2012, paying $17 million and vowing to only call customers who gave the bank permission to do so.

Hopefully, Bank of America will adhere to its pledge more closely than Wells. Meantime, sign up if you were harassed -- at least you'll get a minimum of $20, which should, at least, pay for the extra cell phone fees incurred by those pesky robocalls.

Amanda Alix has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Bank of America and Wells Fargo. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America and Wells Fargo. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Bank of America Corporation Stock Quote
Bank of America Corporation
$33.49 (-1.38%) $0.47
Wells Fargo & Company Stock Quote
Wells Fargo & Company
$43.19 (-1.30%) $0.57

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 08/08/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.