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Bank of America Seizes Parrot, Owner Sues for $50,000

This article was written by in Real Estate and Home. 9 comments.


Bank of America is controlling the news cycle lately. First, the bank eliminated overdraft fees for debit card purchases. Now, the bank has apologized to a woman for seizing her parrot.

Back in October, Bank of America believed Angela Iannelli was defaulting on her mortgage and she had abandoned her house. The bank ordered a contractor to visit the house to install a new lock and otherwise secure the location. The contractor saw Luke, a blue macaw, and took the pet, believed to be abandoned, away for its supposed safety.

When Iannelli called to rectify the situation with the bank, here is how the conversation progressed, from the Wall Street Journal, where the story was originally reported:

Ms. Iannelli, who owns a diner and works part-time as a bartender, said Bank of America representatives weren’t helpful when she called in to protest. They first denied knowing where the parrot was, and later told her she could go to the offices of the contractor, about 80 miles away, to retrieve the bird herself. Ms. Iannelli said bank representatives also told her they were “tired” of hearing from her, hung up on her and advised her to seek help from the police.

This incident occurred after the owner missed only one mortgage payment. She is now suing for $50,000 for the emotional distress of the event and the week she spent without Luke, in addition to the other actions taken by the contractor. Before the contractors walked off with the parrot, they cut water lines and electrical wiring and poured antifreeze into various drains.

Even if the bank had the correct information and were stepping in to secure a house that was truly in trouble, these actions seem drastic.

Bank Sorry for Taking Parrot, James R. Hagerty, Wall Street Journal, March 11, 2010

Published or updated March 11, 2010. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar jim

So it sounds like they started to foreclose and take possession on the wrong house. The fact that the woman missed a payment meant she was in default but not to the point that the bank would take possession.

I can’t imagine why they would physically cut the electric wires and water pipes. Putting anti-freeze in the drains would make sense to keep pipes from potentially freezing if they shut off utiltiies.

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avatar Monevator

$50,000 for temporarily taking a parrot, by someone apparently acting with the best of intentions. And you wonder why health care costs etc are so high in America! You guys really need to reign in this compensation culture. Just an honest opinion from the other side of the Atlantic.

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avatar laura

it’s not just the parrot. it’s the cutting of the lines and other winterizing measures. She had to go through a hell of a lot to get everything reinstated. Cutting the lines usually just means they disconnected service. But if they physically did cut the lines, that is very expensive to re-do. and depending on where she was and when this was, she didn’t have any heat. she probably had to stay in a hotel and spend money eating out that she normally wouldn’t have spent. It can take weeks to physically re-connect lines. That would be a lot of hotel fees. And attorney’s fees will eat 40% of this, so she’s not asking for a lot when all is said and done.

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avatar jim

“And you wonder why health care costs etc are so high in America! You guys really need to reign in this compensation culture.”

If you’re thinking that malpractice insurance/ lawsuits are causing our health care costs to go up then thats not really much of our costs. Malpractice costs are less than 2% of our total spending on health care. (ref : CBO http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/49xx/doc4968/01-08-MedicalMalpractice.pdf)

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avatar Monevator

@Jim – Interesting, perhaps we hear a one-sided view of the debate from this side of the Atlantic. I’ll look into it more.

@Laura – Yes, actually dangerous!

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avatar Katie

how ridiculous on the bank’s part! WTF?! How is helpful to your investors to cut up the home of someone who is not even in foreclosure? it would be nice if the homeowner wasn’t late on her mortgage, but missing one payment is not the same as going into foreclosure (nor should it be).

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avatar Jack Asprin

I think it’s the bird’s fault…he should’ve said something.

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avatar Belinda Walter

As a “victim” of Bank of America’s tatics myself I applaud the homeowner for having the strength to take on BofA. I was current on my payments when I got a reasonable (short sale) offer on my home. BofA drug their feet so long I could not stay current. They then sent a contractor in to “secure” my home (although I was still paying utilities, lawn care, etc and had people watching the house.) I ended up having to pay for damages and restart fees for the water in order for the home to pass inspection to complete the sale – 7 months later!!! In attempting to work with them I endured hour long waits on the phone, rude employees and an unbelievable amount of paperwork (sent multiple times.) I hope more people protest their unprofessional tactics.

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avatar blue monkey farm

I have been dealing with BOA from Nov 09 when all I did was call to ask how the HOPE program worked.They sent out a package,I did not like what I saw because my payments would go up because I had no escrow.The reason for no escrow is my work is a seasonal and I made enough money for April – June to pay for taxes.I never signed any papers and never sent any taxes. On March 5th 2010 I saw they started taking out $700 more per month,I went to the town branch and talk to the branch VP,she called the HOPE people and they said I gave the okay over the phone.At this point I was into the trial period and ask to be put in to the program,the VP made note in her computer.For 10 months I took from peter to pay paul which means someone didn’t get paid.After sending in paper work on top of paper work and being told they need this or they need that I was sent a letter stating that ” when we last talked on March 5 2010 you did not want to take part in the program ” I went to the bank and talked to the VP again and in her notes it said ” I want to take part in the program “. When I callled HOPE they said they did me a favor by paying my taxes.I never gave them reason to change my mortgage,paying my taxes was up to me.I never have been late in 16 years.Now my credit has dropped to 530 from 800 in 1.5 years. This is only the start of the troubles for BOA & the people of the U.S.The fox is in the hen house and no one is watching it.

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