It all started when I loaned a friend a hammer. A hammer is a tool typically used for driving metal objects known as nails into various materials like wood. Or so I’ve heard.
For the purpose of this story let’s assume I actually owned a hammer.
If we wanted to (and were sufficiently sick in the head) we could think of this loan as a transaction. The hammer represents the principle, my friend is the debtor and I must be, of course, the bank.
It isn’t too hard to assume my friend is a
debtbeat deadbeat and never returned the bloody thing. Amazingly, even though I dunned him many, many times, and threatened to assess late fees of 1.5 percent on a monthly basis.
Finally that worthless so-and-so left me no recourse. After consulting my voluminous and most accurate
scribbles documentation, I looked up his address and drove across town. I was literally seeing red. My goal? To retrieve the hammer and write the dude off as my friend.
I kicked in his door, tore the place apart, and, having found my precious hammer, I got the hell out of dodge.
The only problem? I made the totally understandable mistake of going to the wrong house. The hammer I repossessed wasn’t even mine. In my defense, it was of similar design. Oops. My bad.
In my role as the bank, I naturally did what seemed like the “right” thing. I threw away the hammer and pretended like nothing had ever happened. This is a lot like the time I threw a rock at someone (in self defense) and it crashed through a sliding glass window where a pregnant woman happened to be standing. So I ran home and hid under my bed until they found me. Bastards.
So it wasn’t too surprising when the innocent party showed up and wanted their hammer back.
“Too bad,” I said. “I threw it away. I can’t give ya what I don’t got.”
“But I have no hammer,” the annoyingly persistent loser said.
“Look, I’m a fair guy,” I said. “You show me a receipt for the hammer and I’ll reimburse you for that amount.”
“It turns out I don’t have a receipt,” the loser whined.
“Then you get nothing. Nothing! I said good day!”
Case closed, right? Remember, I’m the bank.
Can you imagine any scenario where I would actually get away with that? I take property that doesn’t belong to me after breaking into a home and then claim it’s ok because it was all an unfortunate mistake. “Oh, it was a mistake,” the police would say. “So sorry to have bothered you. Have a nice day!”
The story above is essentially what happened to an innocent American homeowner. First National Bank in Wellston, Ohio, went to foreclose a house but “accidentally” went to a wrong house that happened to be across the street. The house belonged to a woman who was away on a two-week vacation.
One person’s “accident” is another person’s lack of due diligence.
–Tom B. Taker
Upon returning home one day, Katie Barnett, a resident of MacArthur, OH, discovered that her home had been cleaned out of her personal possessions and property that she says is worth about $18,000.
She wasn’t even a customer of the bank.
The bank blames a faulty GPS unit for the error. This is decidedly not a bank error in your favor. Unfortunately, there is no one willing to step forward and go directly to jail.
Barnett presented the bank president her estimate of losses in the amount of $18,000. She says the bank president told her, “We’re not paying you retail here, that’s just the way it is.” Barnett reported the incident to the police but they responded by closing the case and taking no action.
The CEO of First National Bank reportedly said the bank wants to compensate Barnett “fairly and equitably” but claimed there are discrepancies on the estimate she provided, so they have opted not to reimburse her claim. Barnett says the bank is now demanding receipts for everything she is missing.
As I ponder this story, I’m trying my damnedest to reconcile the fact that corporations are “people” with the privileged treatment this bank has received from the legal system. If a person had done what the bank did, they would be charged with breaking and entering, felony burglary and more. No doubt the police would take a very dim view of the case. Since the bank is a person I say every single human associated with that bank should be in jail on criminal charges until the matter is resolved to the victim’s satisfaction.
Whatever happened to good form, consideration towards each other, and taking personal responsibility for our own actions? The bank claims to have a desire to be “fair and equitable.” Fine. Prove it. Don’t hassle this innocent victim and go above and beyond what is required to do whatever it takes to make things right.
Realistically, this victim of the bank can never be made whole. It is my understanding that irreplaceable personal effects are forever gone. The woman has endured hassles and costs that may not be economically quantifiable. And the party that is indisputably and clearly in the wrong wants to quibble over receipts and not paying “retail?”
Behavior like this is unconscionable and beyond the pale in a civilized society. It amazes me that systems and institutions in place to protect American citizens haven’t already knee-jerked and demanded that this is sort of behavior is completely unacceptable and will never be tolerated.
Where is justice? Where is the rule of law? Where is taking responsibility for your own actions? Apparently not at the bank, the land where endless fees roam free.
But then again, we are talking about banks, which are decidedly pools of pure concentrated evil. I recommend we avoid contact.
Time.com – Ohio Bank Repossess Wrong House; Owner Wants $18K
ThinkProgress.org – Bank Reposseses (sic) Wrong House, Refuses To Compensate Victim
10TV.com – Vinton County Woman Wants Possessions Back After Bank Tried To Repossess Wrong House