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June 24, 2011

"Duh of the Week" Award: Bad communication can be bad for your health


by Ron Daly 

That's right, we know you've been itching for its return...it's the DUH OF THE WEEK AWARD!

Cigarette makers learned recently that, starting September 2012, they would have to put pictures of the "effects of smoking" on cigarettes and tobacco products. These pictures are, to say the least, nasty looking. The point being that if the little black-and-white lettered warnings on cigarettes aren't enough to get you to quit, a picture of a stoma should do it. Maybe the legal forms attached to a loan should come with these as well...

This week's award goes to Ally. Read this story from the CU Collector website

Earlier this year, Linwood [Costin, the borrower] called Ally, formerly known as GMAC, to request skipping, or extending his truck payment for March. According to Teresa [Costin's Daughter] “He said when he called they told them they don’t usually skip a payment; they skip two,”, “He said, ‘That’s fine,’ and he sent the amount they told him to for interest.”...

...Unfortunately, unbeknownst to Linwood, Ally had already assigned his truck for repossession.

Teresa claims “He got very upset and asked what he needed to do to fix things,”

“The guy told him he needed to go to the closest Western Union and wire them $567.”

Reportedly, Linwood got off the phone and went to a Western Union office and wired the money due. Costins has receipts showing the made payments.

Teresa reports “He finished his shopping for that day, went home, and they came and took his vehicle anyways and has refused to return it,”

So upset was the gentleman from the story that he had a heart attack and was rushed to a nearby hospital. According to the article, doctors say the heart attack was probably due to stress, as Mr. Costin had no arterial blockage.

We've already heard of Bank of America seizing the wrong houses, but to date hadn't heard of anyone having a heart attack because of it. With so much business to tend to in collections and lending, it's not all that hard to imagine that mistakes like this happen...but please, please, PLEASE make sure you get the right person the first time, and if there's an issue, make sure you make up for it. 

To Ally's credit, they did return the truck with a full tank of gas and waived the next month's payment for Mr. Costin. We hope that Mr. Costin has a speedy and full recovery and that the folks at Ally fix up  their legal language to include a warning label of their own: 

Screen shot 2011-06-24 at 10.30.25 AM



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Thanks for reading. There is nothing more atrocious in collections and repossession than a wrongful repo. For someone to suffer as this man has demeans what, believe it or not, is an industry with a lot of people that really do give a damn.

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