Saturday, April 30, 2011

Financial Literacy Month: All's Well That Ends Well? Nope.

A N O P E N   L E T T E R T O   P E O P L E   O R   
E N T I T I E S W H O   A R E   U N L I K E L Y 
T O   R E S P O N D.  (Inspired by McSweeneys)

Dear Bank of America Bill Payer Team and Chase Mortgage Team:

Your two institutions supposedly provide services such as safeguarding our money, making sure our bill payer transactions go through or making sure our mortgages are serviced.  But you fell down on those functions recently and no hollow-apologied form letter you can concoct will just make our doubts, annoyance and lack of faith go away.

This all started because the simplest, most straight-forward thing: a monthly recurring bill pay event for a mortgage payment that had processed correctly 4 times prior--for some reason--did not go as planned this past February.

On 2/17/11, I received an email notification from Chase Mortgage that our monthly payment for the mortgage was officially late (not received as of 2/15/11).  But upon checking with our bank who has all our money (Bank of America), I discovered that a recurring bill pay event had indeed posted 10 days earlier on 2/7/11.  

By 2/28/11, I had spoken to so many of your clowns and was a hair’s breadth away from losing my patience.  To add insult to injury, someone at Chase let me know the funds had still not been located in their system and they were going to report us at the end of the month to the credit bureaus for not paying our mortgage.  Talk about a hostage situation.  I had little choice but to pay our mortgage again in the month of February.  

Bank of America who holds our money also told us Chase refused to speak to them directly about this issue or any client accounts because Bank of America was a 3rd party.  To break the log jam and optimize my time chewing out both institutions simultaneously, I volunteered to do a conference call with Bank of America AND Chase.  

Here are other more infuriating things I learned on that call:
  • Bank of America cuts physical checks to Chase (does not wire) and there are a limited (read: arbitrary) number of payments that can be sent to any particular Chase lock box destination (payment address on our mortgage statement) in any one day.  When they exceed that set number, Bank of America will send payments for Chase to another lockbox address that they know of.
  • Bank of America on their own initiative changed the payment destination of our 2/7/11 recurring bill payer event from an Arizona address (indicated on the statement) to a Kentucky address--without so much as notifying us.
  • The payment arrived to the Chase Kentucky lock box and our mortgage number was noted on the check.  Chase Mortgage cashed the check but did not credit our account--without so much as notifying us.  It was put into a holding account for some unknown reason.
  • Because we initiated this payment within the grace period (on the 7th of each month) and not 5 days before the due date (on the 1st of each month), Bank of America was not going to take care of the late fee.  Luckily, Chase graciously reversed it themselves. 
The call in a nutshell: It started off that each bank insinuated the other messed up, next they each revealed some of the inner-workings of their respective banks, when it became obvious that they had both been inept and careless, the reps reverted back to their own douchey, condescending scripts and finally the blame came to rest on me for not initiating the payment 25 days prior to it’s due date. (25 days--that is absolutely ridiculous)

But miraculously the next day on 3/2/11, Chase found the  “lost” funds and posted it to our account.  Oh oops...

This little exercise in futility has earned both Bank of America and Chase to lose our trust and confidence.  If you cannot handle something simple like this, as routine as this, why would we ever place anything else important in your hands?  Yes, mistakes happen but you took up hours of my time to sort out and coordinate your own jacked up systems then pulled some b.s. technicality to try and blame me for it.    

I really wish I could choose who holds our mortgages because there would be a reckoning.  But I can decide who holds our funds and pays our bills.  Bank of America, consider yourself on notice.

A plague on both your houses,
Kali Sakai

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