First Frank and Janet thought it was a simple error. Their mortgage had been recently sold to a new company with a new servicing company. As with the prior lender, they had sent in their mortgage payment by way of a personal check between the first and the fifteenth of the month and the payment had been posted with little event as being received as agreed.
Around the 20th of month, a rather cryptic call was received on the answering machine stating the payment had not been received and a late charge would be applied and charged and that they needed to make a payment immediately. Ok Frank and Janet reasoned that the payment might have been lost in the mail. Things happen, although it was the first time in two years that a payment was late. Frank and Janet has some credit challenges three years ago and found it necessary to entertain a sub prime loan to buy the house that they currently resided. Thus they were dealing with a sub prime lender and all that goes with it. Quickly, Frank and Janet called customer service and were able to make a check debit on line for the payment plus a late fee right out of their checking account. The late fee of 5% amounted to $62.50. Frank told the mortgage-servicing representative that they would put a stop payment on the check and instructed them to flag the account and not deposit that particular check (with #10224 check number dated on the 2nd of that month) as he was going to put a “Stop Payment” on it. After the call they called their bank and put a “stop payment” on that check. This cost them $25. Five days later another call came in from the mortgage servicing company stated that they had deposited the mailed check and it came back resulting in a $50 charge for the transaction since it hadn’t gone through. The conversation went nowhere as there wasn’t a record anywhere.
Frank and Janet looked at each other and collectively rolled their eyes while verbally reviewing what had transpired. Frank asked Janet rhetorically, “Can you believe this”? Next month rolls around and this time Frank and Janet make a special effort to send the mortgage payment in close to the first of the month. Around the 20th of the month, Frank and Janet received another call from the mortgage servicing company indicating again, that the payment had not been received and that there would be another late charge. The discussion became extremely heated with Frank leading the charge. Frank demanded to speak with a supervisor regarding the second time around of the mishandling of the monthly mortgage payment. The supervisor was not of much help claiming the check had not been received. Frank and Janet were determined that they would not put another “Stop Payment” on this check at a cost of $25. Not getting any satisfaction, Frank told the customer service supervisor that he would call back in seven days to see if the check had been received and posted. Seven days later, Frank called and the check had been received and posted but there would be a late charge that would apply. Another $62.50 late charge would apply. Frank and Janet were frosted beyond belief but at the same time relieved that the check had arrived. What could be going on they wondered.
The next month Frank and Janet decided to send in the mortgage payment a week before the 1st giving the mortgage servicing company plenty of time to receive and post the payment well within the time frame. On the 20th of that month a call was received from the mortgage servicing company stating once again the payment had not been received. Frank and Janet were beside themselves. This time Janet demanded to speak with a supervisor. The supervisor explained that the check had not been received. Janet pressed the supervisor further, “Has this been a recurring problem with other borrowers?” There was a long pause of silence from the supervisor followed by, “Uh…no…I don’t think so.” Janet wasn’t satisfied with any of the answers and what was going on with this new mortgage servicing company and was determined to get the bottom of these “phantom late charges”. Adding insult to injury, the following month a thirty-day late was reported to the credit bureau. Frank and Janet engaged in their own spirited credit repair campaign.
Immediately, after getting off the phone with the supervisor Janet and Frank went on line and started researching the company for any information that might shed some light on what was happening. It was found a series of stories and articles about complaints regarding this servicing company. A ton of new service business had been added without the staff to handle it. Check and payments were stacked up and untouched. Problems and complaints mounted. State and Federal agencies were suing with massive fines to be levied. Frank and Janet decided to send bank checks by certified mail return receipt. This was cheaper than $62.50 a crack and could now prove ready receipts of their payments.
About the author
Dale Rogers www.brokencredit.com Dale Rogers is a thirty-year mortgage veteran and frequent contributor to the Broken Credit Blog The BCB is a free website created to assist the general public with information about credit repair and responsible mortgage lending.