Reading the Wall Street Journal today, an article on the 3rd page caught my eye. Apparently, Bank of America has gotten into the business of home invasions and parrot-napping (NY Daily News).
Angela Iannelli, a 46 year old from the Pittsburgh area, came home to find her door padlocked, her house ransacked, and her 11-year old parrot – Luke – missing. A Bank of America employeed royally screwed up, believed her property to be vacant (it wasn’t, nor was she behind on her payments), and sent a contractor over to install a new lock and “secure” the property. I guess in Pittsburgh, the method of securing a property is to cut the power and water, cut electrical lines inside the house, damage floors, damage furniture, pour anti-freeze into the toilets, and take animals. Maybe the contractor should be lucky it was caught after the fact, because there is a good chance that somebody might have gotten shot.
When Ms. Ianelli returned home, you can imagine what went through her mind. The biggest thing to her was that her parrot was missing. She claims to have stayed with friends until he was returned.
Bad enough that the bank goofed, even worse was the lack of response or helpfulness from the bank when she called. They denied knowing where he parrot was, then eventually was told she could drive the 80 miles to the contractor’s office and retrieve Luke herself.
Needless to say, she is suing the bank for more than $50,000, and she rightfully should. If I had been her, I would’ve wanted to make sure that I received enough to repair all of the damage, pay my lawyer, give myself a little, and, most importantly, had them wipe away my mortgage. Why? Just as we are judged by trustworthiness by the bank (i.e. credit score), we need to have trust in the bank too. Just because they hold the lien doesn’t give them to right to waltz in and out whenever they please, especially when it involves damaging the property.
The bank issued an apology this week after the lawsuit went public. Too little, too late. I’m rooting for you, Ms. Iannelli. Did I mention I have a Bank of America mortgage too?