Post Number: 20
|Posted on Tuesday, September 09, 2003 - 10:44 pm: ||
Cross Country Bank penalized
By JONATHAN D. EPSTEIN
Cross Country Bank, a credit card lender to borrowers with bad credit, has been ordered to pay a fine for violating provisions of federal bankruptcy law that bar debt collection once a consumer has filed for court protection.
It's not the first time the bank has violated bankruptcy law, court records indicate.
A customer in Great Falls, Mont., won a $10,000 court judgement against the bank in June. Tina Louise Womack successfully proved that Wilmington-based Cross Country had continued to call her and demand payment for more than two months after her March 19 filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, documents show.
But the bank, which failed to show up in court, has so far refused to pay, said Womack's attorney, Randy Winner, who said his letter to the bank was returned.
Bank officials did not return repeated phone calls.
Under federal bankruptcy law, lenders are forbidden from trying to collect on debts once a bankruptcy petition has been filed. Courts have previously ruled that violations of the ban may be subject to punitive damages equal to three times the actual damages.
Most lenders stop collection calls as soon as they learn of a filing. However, consumers and industry experts say Cross Country is one of the more aggressive collectors.
Cross Country was sanctioned before in June 2000 by U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Iowa for violating the automatic ban. In that situation, the debtors provided evidence to the court of violations by the bank in nine other bankruptcies, according to court documents. The judge denounced the bank for failing on 15 opportunities to correct its files and cease collection efforts, even though it acknowledged receiving notice of the bankruptcy filings.
"That's a very serious allegation, especially when the bank is a professional collection agency," said Olha N.M. Rybakoff, Delaware's deputy attorney general for fraud and consumer protection. She said her office may investigate the bank's postbankruptcy collections, which she said would be considered a form of consumer fraud. "They should know better," she said.
Cross Country, which targets borrowers whose credit histories disqualify them from getting traditional credit cards, has been thrust into the legal spotlight in the past year. Besides the lawsuits, it also was placed under growth restrictions in July 2002 by its federal bank regulator, who cited "hazardous lending and underwriting practices."
The bank has been assailed by angry customers online and in thousands of complaints to federal and state regulators. The attorneys general of New York, Minnesota and New Hampshire have sued to force the bank to stop harassing customers in its marketing and collection efforts, and other states are investigating it.
The bank and Applied Card Services, a Glen Mills, Pa.-based servicing and collections company that works exclusively with Cross Country, are both owned by Wilmington native Rocco Abessinio. Applied Card was founded in 1987, while Cross Country was launched in 1996.
Reach Jonathan D. Epstein at 324-2880 or email@example.com.
Post Number: 1353
|Posted on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 - 02:34 am: ||
Wow! They refuse to PAY???
I'd like to know what they were doing to collect, I suspect much more than report.
I remember at the CCB-sucks forum some people got a few thousand a few years ago after CCB continued to harass them.
For "just" credit reporting, people are really going to have to PROVE that their scores were lowered significantly ONLY because of the First USA reporting.
Everything else has to be correct (no other delinquencies), and no other significant changes on the scored reports. I know you can prove a 50 or 70 point difference in scores with the right reports.
Post Number: 1354
|Posted on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 - 03:29 am: ||
"Cross Country had continued to call her and demand payment for more than two months after her March 19 filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, documents show."
Post Number: 1
|Posted on Thursday, November 13, 2003 - 03:23 pm: ||
OMG Cross Country bank is doing this to me right now. I filed bankruptcy in July of this year. They called several times after the bankruptcy and I gave them my attorneys information and told them to stop calling. Now they have their collection agency calling me twice a day and sending letters. I have told them several times to stop calling and gave them my attorneys info everytime. Today they called and started screaming at me. I then asked for the supervisor and she also began to yell at me and told me I should have no reason to complain about the calls since I couldnt pay my bills to begin with. What can I do to stop them from calling and sending letters. My attorney had already sent them all the information and Cross Country was listed on my bankruptcy.
Post Number: 1628
|Posted on Thursday, November 13, 2003 - 04:00 pm: ||
First of all, tell your attorney. If he's a decent attorney, he will take action as above.
And, it would be really good if you could RECORD the calls.
If you just want them to stop calling, you might want to request their permission to record, that ends most calls. If not, tell them that you are recording and advise once again to contact your attorney.
And at the VERY LEAST take notes. Did you write down the times of the calls and their names and titles?