Nelson and Joyce Coniglio begged Bank of America to stop calling them about late loan payments, but the calls kept on coming: 700 of them over a four-year period, the Florida couple claims in a lawsuit that describes a huge mortgage-induced headache, ABC News reports. The bank was ordered by a judge to pay the Coniglios $1,051,000 for "patterns of outrageous, abusive, and harassing conduct" by a BofA subsidiary, which also sent them "threatening collection letters," the suit alleges. "They treated us very badly, no two ways about it," Nelson tells WTSP. "Unrelenting," adds Joyce. Those "unrelenting" calls, which were typically automated calls that left the same recorded message, would take place up to five times a day, even after the Coniglios had an attorney send letters asking Bank of America to quit it.
That refusal to restrain the robocalls is why the Tampa judge who ruled in this case tripled the initial recompense from $500 per call to $1,500, WTSP notes. BofA wouldn't comment initially, but late yesterday it sent a statement to ABC saying the calls were to help the Coniglios prevent foreclosure, not to harass them for money owed. "Because our calls were not answered and our efforts to help the Coniglios … were urgent, these calls continued," the statement says. The Coniglios have a different perspective: "If I did what Bank of America did, I'd probably be behind bars," Joyce tells WTSP. The Coniglios aren't alone in how they feel: In 2013, BofA settled a $32 million class-action lawsuit with more than 7 million consumers for the same type of calls, ABC notes. (BofA reached a $17B settlement with the feds over the summer for its role in the 2008 financial crisis.)