A South River, N.J., man claims TD Bank drained the last of the money donated into an account set up for his terminally ill daughter, then hounded him with creditors looking to collect on overdraft fees.
Andrew Cogswell's saga with TD Bank began in the spring of 2010 when the Brick Township Policemen’s Benevolent Association held a basketball game for his 6-year-old daughter, Kelly, who requires costly, around-the-clock care. The group's charity game raised $20,000 for Kelly's nursing care, The Star-Ledger reports.
Organizers took the funds to a local branch of TD Bank, opened an account and deposited the proceeds, the newspaper reports. However, when the balance dipped below $500, the bank began assessing a $25 monthly fee. The fees ate up the remaining funds, then sent the account in the red, at which point Cogswell started accruing even more fees. Although a bank official said the debt had been canceled, a year later the family started getting calls from a collection agency.
In October, Cogswell drafted a letter to the media and posted it to his Facebook page. On Oct. 18, The Star-Ledger reached out to TD Bank on Cogswell's behalf, and two days later a bank representative apologized, refunded the money and canceled the debt.
But Cogswell isn't the only person struggling to find relief from financial crises in the middle of even more pressing family emergencies.
Texan Alicia Ramirez found herself battling for her house, and battling cancer after her illness caused her to fall behind on mortgage payments this year. The 78-year-old woman, who had earlier lost her husband to cancer, struggled to find the money to repay the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
"It wasn’t my fault... I was in the hospital," she told News 4 WOAI.
In July, Cindi Davis, a North Carolina woman diagnosed with terminal breast cancer, also found herself about to lose her house after choosing to pay for her treatment over her mortgage payments.
As the Cogswell family found out, sometimes media scrutiny can help force companies to fix an issue after all the help lines and customer service associates fail. Such was the case for Carol Scott, a Time Warner Cable customer who battled charges to her account for 17 pay-per-view porn films. Scott only found closure once a Los Angeles Times columnist stepped in on her behalf.