I’m still madder than TV’s Jim Cramer in a short-sleeve shirt over the fact that my pal just got another letter from Sovereign Bank claiming he still owes it money because some nincompoops over there think it’s good business to honor money transfers from closed accounts.
Look, you all read last week’s column about how Sovereign Bank is holding my buddy’s credit rating hostage with the type of scam that is probably legal, but should be considered illegal to the highest degree. But if you’ve been in a coma for a week or got this flu bug that’s going around and haven’t been able to keep up with your reading, I’ll explain it to you in three quick sentences:
My pal closed his Sovereign Bank account in August.
In November, the gas company requested from Sovereign about $40 from the closed account.
Once it received the request, Sovereign Bank re-opened the closed account, gave the gas company the money, and charged the poor sap a $70 overdraft fee, then began mailing and calling his house demanding the 110 bucks.
He tried to reason with a number of people on the phone, telling them he’d happily write a check for the $40, but the bankers demanded the whole amount, fees and all.
So being that I am the person that I am, I wrote about this injustice on this very page, both web and print.
Now, normally that would be enough to solve the problem. Well, not with Sovereign Bank, probably because it is run by some company in Spain.
So when I found out that he got another letter from Sovereign tacitly threatening him to pay up or it would forever hurt his credit rating, it nearly knocked me off my trusty steed Tornado.
The letter was short and sweet. It told him his account, which, I remind you, he closed back in August, had again been closed, this time for “non-payment of the overdraft fees.” On top, it said he owned $110.14, right beneath where it said in all caps “FINAL NOTICE.”
Then came the threat: “We have told a credit bureau about the late payment, missed payment or other default on your account. That information may be reflected in your credit report.”
So what they are saying here is, if you don’t pay us the money we charged to your closed account, we’ll go after your ability to get a loan, or open a new credit car, or buy that new car you’ve been dreaming about for years.
The letter ended on a happy note: “It’s not too late to resolve this matter, if you act quickly!”
Well, he certainly did! He talked to me!
Oh! And guess who signed the letter? Some guy who has the unfortunate name “Sovereign Bank, N.A. Early Stage Collections.”
Wait a second! That’s not a name at all! Apparently no one had the guts to sign it!
Look, I don’t want to go on a rant here, but what is happening now is just plain wrong. My buddy — who assures me his credit rating is impeccable — says he’ll gladly pay back the bank the money it put up for the gas bill.
But that is as far as it should go. Any reasonable bank would understand that. Let us hope that someone reasonable at Sovereign reads this and takes care of this whole problem before things get even more out of hand.
Now’s the point in the column where I change gears and give you some good news. You all know that I buy myself my own presents for Christmas because nobody knows me better than yours truly.
Well, this Chirstmas I got myself one of those fancy foot bath massagers with all the bells and whistles from the Brookstone Brookstore in the Staten Island Mall. Of course, my lovely wife Sharon hated this present, even though when I opened it up on Christmas morning the tag on it said it was from home. She demanded I bring it right back, because the thing was gigantic and was blocking our beautiful Christmas tree.
It sat there a few weeks because it was so big, but I finally got it back to the Mall via Access-A-Ride. Problem was I couldn’t get it inside because it was to darn heavy, I couldn’t see with it on my lap, and poor Tornado was squealing.
As luck would have it, two guys from the local 1188 — the yellow bus drivers union — who were explaining their plight to the masses saw me struggling and offered to help me out. They brought the box into the Brookstores for me, and I got my money back. When I offered to pay them for their trouble, they refused, telling me “No, thanks, we often look to help shoppers that look like they need a hand.”
And to think, the mayor can’t cut a deal with these great guys? He could learn something from their kindness.
Screech at you next week!Read Carmine's screech every Sunday on BrooklynPaper.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.