TD Bank USA is a subsidiary of the Toronto-Dominion Bank, which is a multinational financial services and banking corporation based out of Canada. Toronto-Dominion has been around since 1955, created through the merger of the Bank of Toronto and The Dominion Bank, both founded in the mid-1800s. In short, it is an extremely powerful and resourceful banking institution. It’s also an aggressive institution, as it is willing to execute lawsuits on accounts that have been closed for years.
What is TD Bank USA?
While Toronto-Dominion Bank is the parent company, TD Bank USA is the subsidiary that does business in the states. Toronto-Dominion created the subsidiary after acquiring Banknorth, a Portland-area bank, and merging with Commerce Bank. Following the acquisition and merger, TD Bank USA became the official name for the new company in 2008. Currently, it is headquartered in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
It is, by total assets, the 11th largest bank in the country, so it’s not some debt salvager or low rent organization with limited assets. TD Bank USA is a major banking power that has the means to go after accounts that it deems worthy of a lawsuit. However, TD Bank USA has shown itself to be rather unscrupulous at times, and has suffered through several controversies and lawsuits of its own.
In 2012, TD Bank USA received a black eye in the court of public opinion when it sustained a massive data breach. Specifically, the company misplaced unencrypted backup tapes that harbored essential customer information, including bank account and Social Security numbers. TD Bank USA attempted to downplay the breach and initially refused to specify how many accounts were affected. Following an inquiry by the attorney general, the number was released – more than 266,000 customers.
TD Bank USA has also been hit with a pair of lawsuits in subsequent years. In 2015, a class action lawsuit against TD Bank USA invoked the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991. According to the complaint, many account holders claimed that TD Bank USA was calling customers up to 10 times a day in an attempt to collect.
In 2016, the bank was accused of operating “Penny Arcades” (coin counting machines) that were not counting customer coinage properly. In effect, 26 cents out of every $100 would go unaccounted for, costing customers more than $9 million.
Toronto-Dominion has also been hit with its fair share of accusations, including a lawsuit asserting the bank’s complicity in a Ponzi scheme that cost investors more than $220 million. That lawsuit was settled in 2015.
All of this is to say that TD Bank USA is not the kind of institution that always operates in its customers best interests, and therefore should be viewed with skepticism in regards to the lawsuits it files against account holders.
What kind of debt will TD Bank USA sue over?
TD Bank USA is a bank, so it provides an array of financial services to its clients. This includes checking and savings account services, so it regularly pursues lawsuits against account holders that it claims have overdrafted their accounts. TD Bank USA is willing to sue for accounts that were overdrafted on several years prior, so people are often blindsided by the lawsuit, assuming the matter was closed years before.
TD Bank USA, as the primary servicer of Target Card accounts, also sues holders of Target Cards that are far behind on their payments. In this way, TD Bank USA is much like any other credit card company in how it pursues and proves the debt.
What should I do if I am sued by TD Bank USA?
The important thing is to respond, period. Defendants face the worst consequences when they ignore a suit, as this gives TD Bank USA (as well as any bank or credit card company) a default judgment in their favor. Once TD Bank USA wins this judgment, it can pursue extremely aggressive measures to recover the debt, including going after the defendant’s wages.
Unfortunately, the system is not set up for the little guy, in that people only have a short window to respond when sued. In most cases, it’s only 30 days. During that time, it is critical that the defendant find a reputable debt defense lawyer that they trust, as this will open up the playbook.
Once a defendant and their attorney files a formal answer, defenses can be put together. For example:
- Make TD Bank USA prove it – When sued by a collector, the account holder has a right to verification of the debt. However, just because TD Bank USA can verify it doesn’t mean it will have all of the information it needs to prove the debt in court. Even for a reputable, powerful corporation, TD Bank USA is as capable of making a mistake in this area as any other collector. Given its history of poor record maintenance, it’s not out of the question that TD Bank USA will have trouble proving a single account.
- Check the statute of limitations – It can take years for a financial services company the size of TD Bank USA to get around to suing a delinquent account holder. In some cases, the statute of limitations will have passed, removing TD Bank USA’s right to a suit. Many financial institutions will attempt a suit even when it is clearly beyond the bounds of statute of limitations. This is a smart move on its behalf, as around 90 percent of people don’t even answer the suit, so they never check the statute of limitations. Fortunately, a debt defense attorney won’t make that mistake.
- Quibble over every detail – TD Bank USA has to represent every detail of the defendant’s account clearly. In many cases, collectors, including TD Bank USA, will inflate the debt owed, assuming things like interest and other fees. This is a popular tactic among debt scavengers, but it’s something that major banks are also fond of at times. If the asserted amount of debt is much higher than what was once owed, then make TD Bank USA prove that the fees and interest are properly calculated.
- Fight back against aggressive behavior – TD Bank USA has been hit with a class action lawsuit already for aggressive collection attempts. That suggests a predilection toward the behavior, so pay close attention to how the company attempts collections, and record interactions. If TD Bank USA calls too often, calls at unreasonable times or uses threats to coerce the account holder, they are in violation of federal regulations, and the suit may be thrown out for that reason alone.
But even if you feel hopeless when the notice of a lawsuit comes, don’t despair. Even when no defense is apparent, debt defense attorneys may be able to help secure a more favorable settlement or buy some time for their client in order to craft a stronger case. And there’s no reason not to approach a reputable debt defense attorney, as initial consultations are often free, and the help can be invaluable.
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