A proposed class action alleges Bank of America has “neglected” its legal responsibility to timely respond to qualified written requests for information from mortgage borrowers and accept their electronic signatures for certain transactions.
The 12-page lawsuit alleges BoA has demonstrated a “pattern or practice” of failing to respond to “hundreds if not thousands” of borrowers’ requests for account information, including documents and recordings, within the 30-day window set by the federal Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regulations.
By law, a mortgage servicer must respond within 30 days to a qualified written request (QWR) for information by either providing the requested information or conducting a “reasonable search” for the requested information and providing the borrower with a written notification explaining the basis for its determination that the data is “not available,” the complaint says.
Further, the case, filed in California’s Southern District Court, stresses that servicers must also accept electronic signatures from borrowers under the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act. The law, the suit explains, states that “a signature, contract, or other record relating to such transaction may not be denied legal effect, validity, or enforceability solely because it is in electronic form.”
“[Bank of America] has refused to accept Plaintiff’s electronic signature,” the lawsuit alleges. “[Bank of America] has neglected to fulfill its duty to provide information available to it in the regular course of business to Plaintiff upon receipt of Plaintiff’s QWR and [request for information].”
According to the complaint, the plaintiff sent through counsel to Bank of America a Notice of Error and Request for Information on July 20, 2020. In the letter, the plaintiff, the suit says, disputed the amount of debt he purportedly owed and requested several documents associated with his account, including “[a] copy of any and all recordings of [Plaintiff] or any other person concerning [Plaintiff’s] account.”
Around August 13, the plaintiff’s counsel received a response to the man’s request, dated August 10, 2020, in which Bank of America “failed to provide any of the requested information,” the case alleges.
As the lawsuit tells it, the defendant “merely delayed its response” and created for the plaintiff an “undue burden” by stating, in part, that “[w]e’re committed to protecting the confidentiality of our customer’s information and we require written authorization from the customer before we disclose any information. … We’re unable to respond to the request and consider this inquiry closed. … The customer’s signature(s) must be a ‘live’ signature, not a digital signature.”
The case says the plaintiff sent Bank of America on October 19, 2020 an Authorization to Furnish & Release Information to his counsel, as requested by the bank in its response, and attached a second notice of error and request for information. In its November 9 response, Bank of America again failed to provide any of the requested details, the complaint claims.
After a third try later in November, the plaintiff’s counsel received around December 18 a response in which the defendant once again failed to provide any of the requested information, the suit says, claiming BoA “used the same boiler plate language” to deny the request and “arbitrarily and unreasonably insisted” they needed a “live” signature.
A fourth attempt to receive information from Bank of America ended in the same way on January 20, 2021, the case claims. As of the suit’s filing, the plaintiff has not received any other documents from Bank of America due to its “willful” failure to provide them, the man says.
The suit looks to cover all individuals in the United States who have or have had a mortgage loan with Bank of America, N.A. and who within three years from the filing of this complaint have requested copies of audio recordings of transcripts of phone calls between themselves and the bank and who have subsequently been denied access to those audio recordings by Bank of America.
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