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30

May 2010

Before bankruptcy, does Navy Federal violate Virginia law?

Posted by / in Before Bankruptcy, Virginia Bankruptcy / 3 comments

Before you file bankruptcy, once you have a lawyer, you should tell your creditors when they call, “call my bankruptcy lawyer.”  The law assumes that most companies with a good name will leave you alone at that point.

In my experience that’s true of just about everybody, but not Navy Federal.

Navy Federal’s collection department says they will keep calling you day and night, until the bankruptcy is filed with the court.  And they do.  (Some people told us Navy Federal calls almost hourly until the bankruptcy is filed.)

I think this is a violation of Virginia law.  Code of Virginia § 18.2-429 makes it a class 3 misdemeanor to cause someone’s phone to ring with the “intent to annoy.”  And the law expressly says that it can still be illegal even if there is also an “intent to communicate.”

The punishment in Virignia for a class 3 misdemeanor is a fine of up to $500.

I think its pretty clear that when Navy Federal calls four or five times a day, after being told, “I can’t pay, call my bankruptcy lawyer, I have to file bankruptcy”–that’s calling with the intent to annoy.

This spring, we helped one of our clients sue Navy Federal to get them to stop violating Virginia law.  We didn’t get far.  Just because something is a criminal law violation,  does not mean a private citizen can sue to enforce it.

So, the judge made it clear we would lose, unless we dropped the case.  (Which we did.  We are going after them under Florida law, but that’s for another day.)  But the judge suggested, here on page 13, that we could “bring it back as a criminal offense.”

My before-bankruptcy clients seem to have fewer complaints about Navy Federal than they did this time last year.  Maybe that’s because they have gotten nicer.

Maybe it’s because their lawyers were listening to that judge.  I hope so.

PS October 2016, CFPB slams Navy Fed

Saw in this morning’s Washington Post that the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau went after Navy Fed.  Hit them for $23 million to unfair collection procedures.  I was really glad to see it.  You can read the Post story, here: Navy-Federal-to-pay-23-million.

 

 

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Robert Weed has helped twelve thousand people file bankruptcy in Northern Virginia. Robert Weed is a frequent panelist and speaker at the meetings of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. He is one of Northern Virginia’s most experienced personal bankruptcy lawyers. As an expert on changing consumer bankruptcy laws, Robert Weed has been interviewed on local and national TV and quoted in newspapers across the country.

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3 comments
  • JOSH

    October 11, 2011, am31 6:41 AM
    01

    I FILED A LAWSUIT AGAINST NAVY FCU FOR VIOLATING THE RESPA ACT.

    THEY PURCHASED AN INSURANCE POLICY EVEN AFTER I SUBMITTED PROOF OF HAVING MY OWN POLICY.

  • Penny Huffman

    July 18, 2013, pm31 9:00 PM
    02

    No now there is a bigger issue Navy Federal will not hire you if you file Bankruptcy I went through the whole hiring process offer letter passed the credit check and all the security department flagged me as a risk for bankruptcy and I didnt get hired this bankrupcy was 12 years ago on a joint account with my ex who is retired Navy … What a Slap in the face .. I feel they are descriminating against Va Law and if anyone would help me sue I would go after them for mental anguish from what they just put me through…When I called and ask why to hopefully bring a solution to the table they told me it then wasnt my bankrupcy or credit it was because they suffered a loss from me … If your willing to help take the case Im willing to go for it and fight them I will say we are a military family and other credit unions have them beat by a long shot not to mention the long list of complaints they have with Consumer Affairs …

    • Robert Weed

      Robert Weed

      July 18, 2013, pm31 9:02 PM
      03

      Penny:

      Thanks for sharing…yeah from what my clients tell me, Navy Fed is the meanest bank in America.

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