5 Times Customers Got Payback on Big Banks

Source: Thinkstock
Breaking the bank, in a literal sense – Thinkstock

A lot of people hate banks, and with good reason. With the past financial crisis and subsequent recession, it seems that consumer’s disdain for the entire banking system has only become more concentrated. And given the latest controversial spending bill that was passed by Congress — and included huge pro-Wall Street and bank friendly provisions — malice toward our financial institutions is reaching fever pitch.

Of course, the big banks have brought it upon themselves in many ways.

Following the financial crisis, the world’s largest financial institutions have come under fire for questionable business practices, illegal activity, and the industry’s overall amount of influence on the world’s political sphere. The high amounts of concentrated wealth and power are seen as a threat by many people, and in some respects, those people are right. Banks didn’t always have that reputation.

Banks have been integral in helping and allowing small businesses to be established and flourish. They are there for people who need to secure loans and mortgages, and pay for college tuition. There are definitely a lot of things the world’s banks do that are positive. But as time has gone on and the corporate mentality has set in, the reputation of the stalwart ‘community bank’ has taken an ugly turn.

That ugliness can manifest itself in many ways, and have real effects on every day, middle class Americans. Many people often feel helpless when facing a dispute with their bank, there are others who have refused to back down. Whether it be wrongful foreclosures or misallocated funds, people have plenty of reasons to get mad when their bank screws up. And sometimes, they screw up in a big way. Again, some people don’t take it lying down, however, and have taken matters into their own hands.

Press on to read about five times wronged customers have gotten back at the banks.

1. Christopher George vs. HSBC

Source: Fabrice Coffrini/Getty Images
An HSBC sign above the entrance to a branch – Fabrice Coffrini/Getty Images

Mr. George is evidently not a man to be trifled with. In fact, HSBC didn’t really do anything all that egregious to him, relatively speaking. George was an account holder, which HSBC apparently sold an unnecessary insurance policy to, to cover his business loan. George, however, was not happy about it. According to Bankrate.com, George decided to trademark the online domain name for HSBC’s original name, Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation. George trademarked thehongkongandshanghaibankingcorporation.com and registered it as a sperm bank.

“I felt that this world-famous banking provider took advantage of me, coercing me into taking out unnecessary protection and playing a part in the demise of my own business,” George told Bankrate.com“Many people in my position would have no idea how to stand up for themselves against a financial behemoth such as this –- but in registering this domain name, I have proven that there are ways in which these banks can be got at, in the most public manner.”

2. Warren Nyerges vs. Bank of America

Scott Olson/Getty Images
A bicyclist talks on the phone outside of a Bank of America branch – Scott Olson/Getty Images

In 2009, Warren Nyerges and his wife Maureen Collier, purchased a home in Florida for $165,000 with cash. They never had a mortgage, but that didn’t stop Bank of America from trying to foreclose on them just a year later. After the matter was looked into, the bank backed off, but not before Nyerges and his wife accrued more than $2,500 in legal fees.

When Bank of America didn’t respond to Nyerges’ request, they took it to court. After being continuously ignored, the couple, along with their attorney, took the matter to a local sheriff’s office. He told deputies to remove the bank’s assets and hand them over, including cash and furniture to pay the bank’s debt to him. The branch manager eventually cut a check for $5,772.88 to get Nyerges out of there. It gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘reverse mortgage.’

3. Dmitry Argarkov vs. Tinkoff Credit Systems

Source: Thinkstock
A stack of credit cards – Thinkstock

Dmitry Argarkov was fed up with receiving all of those credit card applications in the mail, so he finally decided to do something about it. The Russian man, upon finding yet another application in the mail, scanned the terms and conditions, and changed them to his liking before reprinting them off and sending them back to Tinkoff Credit Systems. In the terms, Argarkov put in that he wou2d pay no interest, accrue no fees and have an unlimited credit limit.

Not only that, but he added that if the credit card company failed to comply with any of those rules, they would need to pay him three million rubles, or more than $75,000, and if Tinkoff tried to cancel the contract with him, they would need to pay him double that amount. Naturally, Tinkoff didn’t pick up on what he had done, and sent him a card.

Argarkov racked up a balance, and when Tinkoff tried to collect, they became privy to what he had done. The matter is working its way through the Russian judicial system, as legal professionals try to sort it all out. No matter the outcome, you have to admit that Argarkov is deserving of, at the very least, a high-five.

4. Patrick Rodgers vs. Wells Fargo

Source: Thinkstock
A Wells Fargo plaque – Thinkstock

Patrick Rodgers, a homeowner from Philadelphia, took the same route that Warren Nygeres did when Wells Fargo decided to get cute with him. According to CNBC, Wells Fargo told him that he needed to take out a $1 million homeowners policy on his home, which he found suspect since his house was worth far less than that, as he had paid only $180,000 for it. The house itself, a century-old Victorian, would have been very expensive to replace, the bank argued, if anything were to happen to it.

After a little back and forth, the courts ruled that Wells Fargo owed Rodgers $1,173 for failing to respond to his inquiries. After cutting Rodgers a check or two, but still failing to respond to him in writing as the law dictates, the local sheriff’s office got involved. Rodgers attempted to foreclose on Wells Fargo to get the money he was due.

Obviously, it’s since been settled. But why would Wells Fargo continuously ignore this man, and do nothing but harm their image in the process? There probably isn’t an answer, but Rodgers fought back, and won a small but moral victory over one of the biggest financial institutions in America.

5. Mystery Man vs. Barclays Bank

Source: Thinkstock
Pedestrians cruise past a Barclays branch – Thinkstock

While most people have chosen to take their battles with the banks to the courts, one man chose a different approach.

During the summer of 2014, a man walked into a Barclays Bank in Andover, England, and proceeded to defecate all over the floor, in a form of protest. The inconspicuous man, who was bald and reportedly wearing shorts, apparently walked in, squatted, and did his deed in the middle of the floor. But he wasn’t done. The man walked to several other parts of the bank and repeated the act, over and over again.

”I looked at the guy and he was just calmly walking around the bank – going to all the areas he could. It’s quite clear what he was doing – he just had this calm but angry look on his face, as he walked around leaving special deposits on the floor,” said customer Gareth McCarthy, in a report from Inquisitr. “And then as calmly as he walked in he left. Staff didn’t know what on earth had just happened.”

That’s right, protest via ‘special deposits.’

The branch was forced to close for the remainder of the day, and the mystery man apparently walked back out the door with a ‘smug look on his face.’ That’s certainly one way to express your unhappiness.

Follow Sam on Twitter @Sliceofginger

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