DESCUENTO LECTORES

Bank Of America’s Laughable Defense For 5 Years Of Unwanted Robocalls


Earlier today, we told you about a $1 million judgement against Bank of America for making five years of unwanted robocalls to a couple who sent the bank multiple cease and desist demands. Since then, BofA has reached out to Consumerist with an explanation that is too funny to just post as an update within that story.

Here’s the statement from a Sr. VP of Communications at Bank of America:



“Bank of America has helped 2 million homeowners avoid foreclosure. Our calls to the [plaintiffs] were not to collect a debt, but rather to help them avoid foreclosure after they fell behind on their mortgage payments in 2009. Because our calls were not answered and our efforts to help the [plaintiffs] avoid foreclosure were urgent, these calls continued. We are committed to help homeowners in need of assistance avoid foreclosure.”



For fun, let’s dissect the risible points of this statement.


First: “Our calls to the [plaintiffs] were not to collect a debt, but rather to help them avoid foreclosure after they fell behind on their mortgage payments in 2009.”


What difference does it make whether these calls were to collect a debt or to “help” the homeowners avoid a foreclosure? The lawsuit alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which doesn’t distinguish between the purpose of robocalls made by businesses.


Granted, the initial complaint had also alleged violations of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, but that part of the suit was dropped in the amended motion for default judgement. Had it remained, then BofA might have a reason to point out the nature of these calls, though that still doesn’t do anything to forgive the fact that the bank continued to call for five years after receiving cease-and-desist notices and multiple requests from the plaintiffs for the calls to stop.


Second: “Because our calls were not answered and our efforts to help the [plaintiffs] avoid foreclosure were urgent, these calls continued.”


Except the calls were answered, according to the plaintiffs and their lawyers, who claim that multiple written requests were sent to — and subsequently acknowledged by — BofA. Additionally, the plaintiffs say they made multiple verbal requests for the bank to stop its calls.


It seems like the bank may be trying to lay the groundwork for arguing the “emergency” exception for certain robocalls under the TCPA, but what sort of emergency lasts for half a decade?


And when you consider the countless reports of Bank of America botching its communications with homeowners facing foreclosure — not to mention sworn affidavits from former BofA employees who testified that the bank rewarded staffers for pushing homeowners into foreclosure — it’s hard to believe that anyone at the bank was actively concerned about why they weren’t hearing from the plaintiffs.




by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Best Buy Promotes Itself With Hilarious Reference To Real-Life Murder

Best-Buy-tweetIf you’re not a listener of the podcast “Serial,” you might have glanced at something that Best Buy tweeted earlier today and thought that it was either a complete non sequitur or a very roundabout promotion for mobile phones. “We have everything you need. Unless you need a payphone,” said the official Twitter account of America’s biggest electronics retailer. Ha ha! Murder is hilarious!


“Serial,” in case you’ve been tuning out all of your friends and co-workers when they won’t shut up about it, is a public radio program that exists only as a podcast. It’s a spinoff of the popular program “This American Life,” a twelve-episode exploration of the murder of a high school senior in the suburbs of Baltimore in 1999.


The victim, Hae Min Lee, disappeared one day after school. Her ex-boyfriend, high school classmate Adnan Syed, was arrested a few months later for her murder and found guilty at trial. The program is about teenage love, first- and second-generation immigrant identities, race, the competence of the criminal justice system, and Best Buy. It’s a well-told story, but it’s a story about real people.


The parking lot of the Best Buy store at Security Square Mall outside of Baltimore is allegedly where the murder took place, and the main witness and man who claims that he was an accomplice says that the murderer, Syed, called him from the pay phone at Best Buy afterward. The store still exists, but today there is no pay phone. There’s no evidence that there ever was a payphone.


All that is to explain Best Buy’s hilarious murder joke. New episodes of “Serial” drop on Thursdays, and today the second to last episode ran. Like other brands that have hopped on hashtag trains without realizing where they were really going, someone handling social media for Best Buy must have seen that, and maybe also been a listener to the show. The tweet was immensely popular, and even retweeted by the podcast’s official account.


pay_phone


You would think that Best Buy might not embrace the “Serial” brand, because testimony from that same witness/accomplice indicated that the murder took place in a secluded corner of the Best Buy parking lot. Maybe the person who wrote that tweet hasn’t reached that episode yet.


As always happens in cases like this, the tweet is now gone (thanks to Mashable for nabbing these screen shots) and Best Buy has apologized.






In a statement to Mashable, a company spokesperson said:



We deeply apologize for the tweet about Serial. It lacked good judgment and doesn’t reflect the values of our company. We have tweeted an apology and taken down the offensive tweet.



Best Buy says insensitive ‘Serial’ tweet was ‘clearly in poor taste’ [Mashable]




by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

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