wine by the color

Monday, October 16, 2006

Part III: My Mortgage Company

Lest ye think it’s only those responsible for sharing the printed word to raise my hackles, today we’re going to talk about the financial institution to which I have been making monthly mortgage payments since April of 1996.

(Actually, that’s not wholly accurate, given that banks seem to change hands every seven months. I think I’ve made mortgage payments to eight different institutions in 10 years. But that’s not the point here…)

During the midst of a lengthy road trip in September, I realized I hadn’t paid my mortgage. I realized it the day it was due, so I called the bank and asked what my options were. They said that for a $15 charge, I could make my payment by phone. That seemed like a no-brainer, so I went ahead and did it, providing the routing information for my checking account at the credit union to the mortgage bank. The customer service representative assisting me was surprisingly competent and everything went without incident.

Or so I thought.

Three weeks later, I received a letter from the bank indicating that my check had been returned for insufficient funds. Despite my lack of affinity for balancing my checkbook, I knew that was impossible. So I called the mortgage bank to find out what happened.

It took a while (including me being putting on hold for 11 minutes), but we finally found the problem. It seems that when I made the payment via telephone, my checking account number somehow got entered incorrectly. So when the mortgage bank tried to remove the funds from my credit union account, it did not go through because it did not recognize the account.

Which meant that now, in addition to the September and October mortgage payments, I now owed a $30 returned check fee and $30 late payment (because as far as they’re concerned, I have not made my September payment, and thus owe a late charge). And don’t forget the $15 fee I originally paid to make the payment via phone.

In a polite, almost friendly tone, I expressed my dissatisfaction with being charged for the late fee, which she said she would waive. I then asked about the returned check fee and the $15 phone payment fee, which led to this exchange:

Her: “Well, we have no way to know whether the information was given wrong or entered wrong, so we can’t do anything about that.”Me: “So you automatically assume the customer made the error?”
Her: “Um…”

She stood firm on the lack of possibility that I would be receiving a refund of the $45. I indicated that I guessed I would simply have to bend over and accept that, although I found it rather unfortunate and would probably negatively affect their chances of being the financial provider of my next mortgage.

At this point, she asked the following…

Her: “Would you like to make the payment now?” (asking if I’d like to pay the two months via phone).
Me: “Well, I think I’ve learned my lesson about the effectiveness of making payments to your bank over the phone, so I’m going to pass.”

And this was the end of our conversation. It should be noted that this and the Sports Illustrated phone calls were made within the same hour. I figured if I was going to risk elevating my blood pressure dealing with customer-service representatives, I might as well get it over with at the same time.


  • At 10/17/2006 8:21 PM, Blogger todd a said…

    Sounds like you needed some good cuts at Palsy Field after those calls. I always find that pounding a softball with Jimmy's bat does the trick.

    (Then again, getting walloped in the lower torso with a softball makes the whole trip to Union counterproductive).

  • At 10/18/2006 4:10 PM, Blogger jersey girl said…

    That bruise has finally gone away, by the way.

    Actually, I'm a big fan of hitting golf balls at the driving range to bang out anger.


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