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
Updated October 16, 2016 and originally published March 11, 2010.