Who is Target National Bank?
Target National Bank, formally known as Retailers National Bank, was established in 1994. The name change came in 2004, and the lender was the primary issuer and servicer of the Target Red Card and the Target Card Visa. The former is a store credit card while the latter is much like any other standard reward Visa card. However, a major transition is in process for Target National Bank, because it was acquired by TD Bank USA on March 13, 2013. Although high level corporate mergers like this one aren’t the most compelling reads, this acquisition has some significant implications for people holding Target Red Cards or Target Card Visas.
For the most part, people holding either card will not notice the change. As a part of the agreement, TD Bank USA is effectively taking ownership of the accounts and will be responsible for their maintenance and oversight. Benefits associated with the cards will not change, but the institution now in charge, TD Bank USA, is known as an aggressive collector, and has a spotty past in how it deals with debtors and people mistaken for debtors. That’s why defendants are best armed with an experienced debt defense attorney.
Why should consumers be skeptical of TD Bank USA?
In the near future, Target National Bank will likely no longer be the creditor named in any lawsuit, but it’s still possible to receive a notice of a lawsuit from the institution. Keep in mind that this lawsuit is being executed by TD Bank USA, and this isn’t the friendly, consumer-chic face that the Target Corporation puts on for its customers. This is a financial services business that has demonstrated rough tactics and loose standards in the past. For example:
- 2012 data breach – In 2012, more than 266,000 TD Bank USA accounts were compromised when the company’s lax security protocols resulted in a major data breach. This included unprotected bank account and Social Security numbers, which were packaged in unencrypted backup tapes that the company misplaced. TD Bank USA tried hard to minimize the breach and would not communicate the extent of the fiasco right away.
- 2015 class action lawsuit – In 2015, a class action lawsuit was filed against TD Bank USA that referenced the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991. In the lawsuit, TD Bank USA was accused of harassing debtors using the phone, calling account holders up to 10 times a day to exert pressure.
- 2016 class action lawsuit – TD Bank USA was the defendant in another class action lawsuit in 2016, and this one was a clear-cut case of unprofessionalism. According to the complaint, TD Bank USA was improperly configuring its Penny Arcades (coin counting machines), effectively cheating customers out of 26 cents for every $100 that they deposited. By the time the issue was corrected, TD Bank USA had taken more than $9 million from customers that it didn’t deserve.
Perhaps most ominously, the parent company over TD Bank USA, Toronto-Dominion, was involved in a lawsuit asserting its compliance in a Ponzi scheme that saw investors losing more than $220 million. The lawsuit was settled in 2015, but it’s not a good look for a major financial institution.
What should I do if Target National Bank is suing me?
Although Target National Bank will be named in any lawsuit that references an account prior to March 13, 2013, TD Bank USA is now the plaintiff in interest for these cases. As such, they are handled and pursued by TD Bank USA, so defendants must fight back accordingly. TD Bank USA has shown little reluctance in using lawsuits to go after account holders, so defendants need to be prepared. That means:
- Answering the complaint – The opening volley in any lawsuit is the complaint. The complaint lists the lawsuit’s particulars, including what kind of debt is being sued for, and how much it is worth. At this point, most people react with shock or panic, but it’s important not to succumb to either. If the complaint is not answered within a short time (usually 20 to 30 days), TD Bank USA will win a default judgment. With that judgment in hand, they can garnish accounts and income. Get the defense started on the right foot by answering the complaint. It doesn’t have to be a long, detailed response. Get the answer out there so TD Bank USA knows it has a fight on its hands.More than 90 percent of defendants never answer credit card lawsuits. Creditors like TD Bank USA use this fact to their advantage.
- Demand proof – Cases of mistaken identity are not uncommon in the world of credit card lawsuits. And it’s also common for creditors to sue for an amount that they can’t prove. It’s worth noting that when a large number of accounts change hands, which will happen between Target National Bank and TD Bank USA, essential information can get lost in the process. This is a pressure point that defendants can use, as information required to prove the amount owed or the identity of the account holder may not be available.And even if that information is available, if TD Bank USA has sued the wrong person, it will be obvious once they are forced to turn that information over.
- Remember statute of limitations – Eventually, a debt can no longer be the subject of a collection lawsuit. The timer normally starts when the last payment is made on the account, and after a period between two and six years (four years in Texas), the debt is out of range. However, that doesn’t mean the creditor can’t file a lawsuit. It just means that once the court examines the lawsuit, it will likely be thrown out. If TD Bank USA, though, wins a default judgment, then it can skirt around this issue. In short, if the debt is one that hasn’t been addressed in years, speak with a debt defense attorney.
There are additional options available through a debt defense attorney, and an attorney can always represent their client during settlement negotiations if it comes to that. And with many attorneys offering free initial consultations, there is no reason not to have a debt defense attorney review the case.
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