Santander Bank, the largest bank in Europe, is being bombarded with accusations from American consumers that it engaged in aggressive and intrusive debt collection tactics and is now facing class action lawsuits that have been filed throughout the U.S.
According to MSNBC, Santander is being accused of a number of questionable debt collection techniques, including illegally repossessing cars from active duty military while they were overseas, making as many as 800 robocalls to a single person, grossly overcharging for late fees, and making harassing phone calls to neighbors, friends, co-workers and children.
Because of this, Santander – which has been labeled as Britains worst bank by the British press many times in the past – now faces consumer fraud lawsuits alleging that the company violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act because agents routinely fail to identify themselves, use obscenities, call people other than the actual debt holder and reveal to those people details about the debt. The company is also being charged with violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act because the consumer fraud lawsuits allege that the bank has also used automated dialing systems and prerecorded messages directed to cell phones without permission, according to MSNBC.
Santander has mainly infiltrated the U.S. market through auto loans. Since 2009, the company has purchased billions of dollars in auto loans from banks such as HSBC and Citibank. In 2010, Santander Consumer USA earned $455 million.
Despite growing complaints against the bank in the U.S., Santander continues with its plans to further expand in the U.S. market. In 2009, the company acquired Sovereign Bank, which is largely based in the northeast region of the nation. Santander has been granted approval to convert to a national bank from a savings bank and has plans to start rebranding Sovereign bank branches in 747 locations in early 2012.
If you or someone you know has been harassed by debt collectors, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact Sokolove Law to learn about your options and receive a free legal consultation.