被害者の一人、アレンジョーンズさん。BANK OF AMERICA系列のクレジットカードで８１ドル（６５００円前後）の返済が遅れ、自宅に催促の電話が来るようになった。留守電に残されたメッセージは、おもわず耳をふさぎたくなるような、差別・侮辱そして卑猥用語だらけ。とても由緒ある銀行とは思えないものだった。返済を迫る電話は早朝から深夜に及び、完済後も続いた。
もう一人の被害者、バージニア州のジェフバーグさんは、まったくお金を借りていないのに返済催促の電話に悩まされ続けた。またしてもBANK OF AMERICAの系列だった。相手の勘違いが判明するまで約一か月もの間、いやがらせが続いた。
ずさんな顧客管理と不快な電話応対。BANK OF AMERICAともあろうものがなんという醜態！ 銀行の生命線であるクリーンなイメージが侵されてもかまわないのか？ TV局はさらに極秘調査を続けた。
その結果BANK OF AMERICAは、取り立て専門の会社と契約を結び回収に当たらせていたことが判明。 またその会社は、出所直後の前科者を中心に採用し、いやがらせ電話をさせていたこともわかった。
しかしこれで問題がすべて解決したわけでない。BANK OF AMERICAはなぜこのような低俗な回収屋と手を組んでいたのか？ 銀行としてのイメージ低下リスクを危惧しなかったのか？
The phone calls were ugly and harrowing. They came early in the morning late at night over and over again.
At least tough times, there may be no surprise that debt collector calls are at the country’s top consumer complaints, but these ones crossed all boundaries of decency – racist, pornographic, even targeting someone who owed nothing. Tonight our exclusive investigation has found that the callers behind these vile shakedowns were hired by a company working for one of the America’s banking giants.
Chief investigators correspondent, Brian Ross is here to break the story. And Brian this evidence is truly stunning. It really is George. The tactics of American debt collectors have reached an all time low – including racist and obscene phone calls used in some cases on behalf of major American corporations.
RECEIVED AUGUST 7th AT 0810 p.m. An overdue payment of 81 dollars on a Bank of America credit card led to the following messages from a debt collector.
Go mother xxxxx back to mother xxxxx Africa.
The recipient Allen Jones of Dallas says the calls came even after he told them his bank of America account had been paid.
The representative acted like we could call you as many times as we want. And the racist obscene calls continued late at night and early in the morning.
This is your mother xxxx wake up call, man.
In Lynchburg Virginia, in the case of mistaken identity, another Bank of America customer Jeff Burg was hounded with a similar rough phone tactics.
Yeah I have you scared you don’t want to pick up the phone now? Is it because you are now in bed with your sister, or with your mom or with your cousin? Huh or what? Little punk.
Burg said he received call like that for months till they finally realized they had the wrong Bank of America customer. “I had no way to put an end to the phone call.
The calls to the Bank of America’s customer all came from a debt collection agency ACT in Harlingen Texas.
“That sounds like to me a whole lot.” one of the debt collectors who made the offensive calls, Calros Oliva , a company supervisor, testify in a lawsuit that he was hired there just seven months after leaving prison.
“They have a prison mentality. These are the people ACT chose to hire to collect debt from Bank of America.” The company says the callers were rogue operators and that it has since improved oversight.
What happened did not represent the policies and the work that our employees do.
But jury held both the callers and ACT responsible in a verdict of more than 1.5 million dollars. Yet bank of America continued to use the same debt collecting agency. Even after we sent them tapes for the phone calls,
Get your mother ******, **** :*** up and go pick some mother ****
The bank refused to provide anyone to talk to us on camera. So we went looking for its CEO Brian Moynahan.
“can a story for ABC” to ask him why his bank still use the agency and gave him a copy of the phone call.
That kind of language , is that acceptable in your effort.?
No that would not be acceptable. I’ll find out.
You let me know? Yep. Thank you very much.
Two days later, Bank of America essentially fired the collection agency as a result of what we raised in our investigation according to the debt collection agency chairman. Bank of America says the decision has nothing to do with our story.
They say that there’s one action I got to believe regulators will take a look at this.
Absolutely the Federal Trade Commission says their jurisdiction is preparing a major crackdown.
And one official there said the problem is the abusive phone calls work, and the bottom line has too often trumped common decency and the law.