Friday, September 05, 2008

More Harassment of Consumers by Navy Federal Credit Union

In a previous article, I wrote about a client in the military that had suffered from harassment at the hands Navy Federal Credit Union (“NFCU”). Now another client recently retained by my office has been victimized by in-house collection agents for NFCU. After leaving several messages for my client at work, an NFCU employee finally threatened contact the HR department at my client's employer and actually did end up leaving a message for the HR department.

Under California law, contacting the debtor’s employer is only permissible if it is made for the purposes of verifying the debtor's employment, locating the debtor, or effecting garnishment, after judgment, of the debtor's wages, or in the case of a medical debt for the purpose of discovering the existence of medical insurance. NFCU had already verified my client's employment and location as shown by the multiple voicemail messages left for my client. One NFCU collection agent had even expressed the suspicion that she had spoken directly with my client already, believing that my client had lied about her identity during the phone call. Under those circumstances, further contact with the employer was neither necessary nor permitted.

Consumer debtors in California are protected from creditor harassment by the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. A debtor can sue for statutory damages ranging from $100 to $1,000 for each type of violation. Some acts, such as suing for a time-barred debt, constitute a violation of multiple sections of the Rosenthal Act. A debtor can also sue for actual damages such as out of pocket expenses to see a doctor to alleviate stress or expenses such as medication or legal advice. Debtors can also sue for emotional distress under extreme circumstances.

When my client in this matter files for bankruptcy, we will list the Rosenthal Act claims against NFCU and then be filing a lawsuit in state court at the appropriate time. I will post more details in the coming months as the case progresses.

About the Author
Carl H. Starrett II has been a licensed attorney since 1993 and is a member in good standing with the California State Bar and the San Diego County Bar Association. Mr. Starrett practices in the areas of bankruptcy, business litigation, construction, corporate planning and debt collection.


Anonymous said...

Collection agencies are tightening the grip on consumers in debt with the burst of the cc bubble. Sad that we have to a. have creditors give us credit we can't manage and b. turn around and throw us to the wolves once the inevitable happens...

Anonymous said...

I agree. I personally ran into financial difficulities regarding a car loan and credit card with NFCU. I didn't experience much harrassment with the credit card issue, However, I was paying something on my loan, (I was behind) and had submitted a package with a representative at NFCU to have the two payments consolidated into one payment ( I explained my hardship situation) and after waiting for a response from mgmt. which never came, they discharged my loan and sent me a letter with options for payments after they reported the discharge to the credit bureaus - which is what I had asked for in the beginning. I couldn't believe it, especially after the rep told me just early last year they were in the practice of writing loans off without the debtor owing one red cent. I was paying on my debts and not once tried to get out of paying.

Anonymous said...

I have a major concern and would appreciate any help...Today I came home and checked my account and noticed that I have a "$0" available balance. Called NFCU and they said my account is on hold by LCR (Loan charge-off folks...). According to the duty idiot who couldn't escalate to anyone live... he looked briefly into my records and said the money was on-hold based on a "short sell" of my house from 2005 (which settled on 9-12-2009). I had that loan discharged in a bankruptcy on 8-31-2005. Since then, I have always had money passing through that account ever since with no problem. All of a sudden Ms. Kim Brown has decided to put a hold on my account late on a Friday (today...and being on the West Coast...they were closed for the weekend when I called about this issue...). So my question is...can they legally collect on a debt that was legally discharged on 8-31-2005 under the auspices of a short-sell that occured on 9-12-2009?

Thanks for any advice...

stressedout said...

i have a problem, and i need some help or any kind of advice. i am in the military and im facing financial issues right now.. i have a loan and credit card with nfcu...i used to be current on paying but a certain financial issues got me behind in payments..i had talked to one of the collectors to make some kind of payment plan or some kind of consolidation and the answer i got was i have to pay the amount owed immediately before they can do anything. they call me non stop starting at
6am, and sometimes they call on a sunday... which leads me not to answer them anymore and i tried communicating with them through email instead telling them that i will be communicating with them through email and im willing to pay but i need a payment plan, but not once they replied back.. now they called my mother and left a threatning message that if i dont call them a federal action will be taken against me... what should i do? any advise please.

Unknown said...

Carl: I'm a bankruptcy lawyer in Virginia, and like you and these folks, I see all kinds of mean and petty practices from Navy Federal.

Here's one that nobody has mentioned that I'm starting to see. They send these people around called J M Adjustment, who knock on your door, or a neighbors door, and leave an open letter asking you to call Navy Fed about your debt.

They hand this letter to whomever they talk to, without any effort to protect privacy. Obviously embarrassment is what they are after.

I have a post on that, and I'll update it as my case against them moves along.

Anonymous said...

Bob: Can you contact me asap. I live in VA and would like to chat about the use of "door knockers" Thanks

Anonymous said...

NFCU has essentially terrorized me over the last two years (including while in bankruptcy). When my financial "crash" came I made it a point to call NFCU twice a week for more than a year prior to filing bankruptcy. I mostly called them so that they wouldn't keep calling my family members and harassing my neighbors.

One evening last year, at 9:30PM, NFCU sent a “door knocker” to my home. I’ve since learned that a “door knocker” is a collection industry term used for a contractor who places door tags onto the handle of your front door. These tags typically say that they want to speak to someone in the household. The “door knocker” pounded and kicked on my door so hard that, for a minute, I thought that it was a home invasion (I still have the dents on my door). I think that he kicked my door because the dents in my door are on the lower portion of my door. I was able to talk to the “door knocker” through the front door. He stated that he was working for NFCU and that I needed to call them. I told him that I had just talked to NFCU the previous day and that I was going to complain about his pounding on my door. He basically told me that nothing would happen to him and that he would not get in trouble because he was just “following orders” given to him by NFCU. I told him not to return to my home again and that I was going to call the police. He then ran to his car and drove away. While I was not able to get his license plates, I did call the Fairfax County police and gave a description of the "door knocker" and what had happened. They indicated that they would make a report and for me to call earlier next time so that they would have a chance to question that person at my home.

At this point, My home is being foreclosed on (finally), I am broke, I have no job, I've got a disabled daughter who has substantial medical needs (she’s still wonderful and I wouldn’t trade her for all of the money in the world!), a wife and a son to take care of (they are also awesome!)I've decided to remove myself from bankruptcy (I should never have filed in the first place!) and take NFCU to court to try to keep them from harassing others like they have harassed me. It's the least I can do for my own health and to give back to those who may suffer in the future. I'll spend half my day looking for a job and the other half dealing with NFCU in the courts. I will probably lose, but I will do a more honorable job of getting my point across and at the end of the day it’s the right thing to do.

My story is true and I'll put my hand on the bible to swear that it is (just like I will in a courtroom soon enough). I’ve got a bunch of faxes, letters (some certified) and all sorts of notes related to phone calls that will help substantiate the immoral behavior and treatment I received from NFCU. I ask that anyone who has a truthful story that they are willing to share about their experiences with NFCU to please contact me at You don’t have to talk to me if you don’t want to. You can just share your story in writing anonymously. I realize how embarrassing these issues are to communicate and I don’t think there is anything wrong with keeping them private. Some of you may feel better by just communicating your thoughts to me (kind of like writing a letter when you’re angry and then ripping it up when you are finished). I promise that I will not share your emails or our conversations unless you want me to.

And to anyone out there who works for this group of "GANSTERS” and or agrees with the behavior that NFCU has used to bully me and others", I'LL SEE YOU IN COURT! Thank you for your time and gob bless. Nyquil762 otherwise known as at Mark in Virginia. I’ll publish my full name after the lawsuit is filed.

vinboy said...

Can nfcu really take you to court or suit you? Or is it just a scare tactic