Monday, October 26, 2009

Hustled

Warning: This is a rant about my anger at a bank. Read at your own risk.

Recently, my husband and I were taken for 465 dollars. No, we weren't taken in a confidence scheme by a man with a mysterious scar named Lefty. We didn't buy a share in a hot new resort being built in Haiti. We didn't invest money with a man promising big returns named Vernie Manoff. Instead, we were swindled by our mortgage lender, who is probably your mortgage lender too: Citimortgage.

It started in August. Ryan and I were thinking about the future and how we could start saving. We had just adopted Meg, and wanted to start thinking not just like adults, but parents. When the letter from Citi arrived, offering us a lower rate if we would take on a 20 year mortgage, for just a slightly higher monthly payment, we thought it was a sign. We jumped at the chance. After all, how could we lose? The letter called us "good long standing customers." It was like getting a financial hug.

I called the number. I talked to Kimberly. She applauded our responsible decision and congratulated us on the baby. She told me there would be a $465 application fee, but that it was "no big deal" because when the refinancing was finalized we would skip a month of payments. It would all be even Steven. We signed the papers, we paid the money, and we waited.

And nothing happened. Really, the silence was deafening.

Finally, at the start of this month, I got a call from a new loan officer, Vanessa. Everything was fine, she said, the underwriter was just finishing up. Then, she disappeared. Oh, she was virtually there, with an email account and a phone number where we could leave messages that were never returned, and a fax line that was always busy, but we couldn't actually communicate with her.

Today I called, and, instead of leaving a message, pressed "0" to talk to another agent. It was then I was told the refinance had been rejected, earlier this month actually, and that the application fee, you know, the one that was "no big deal" was non-refundable. I argued with the woman, and then I asked to speak to her supervisor and argued with him. I asked why we hadn't heard from them. He told me a letter had been sent out, and that he had no idea why we hadn't gotten it. I was amazed he was using the "lost in the mail" excuse, but I regrouped. I told him we would good customers. I told him about my conversations with Kimberly (who he claimed no longer worked there), I told him we would take our mortgage elsewhere. He didn't care about any of it. All he seemed to care about is that Citi got to keep my $465.

I don't really know what to do now. I filed a complaint with the FTC, and will file one with the Better Business Bureau. I do not expect to get my money back, or to take my mortgage elsewhere. After all, if my own lender does this to me what will happen elsewhere? Also, I kind have had all the fight knocked out of me. I guess that's what they were counting on.

Still, it would have been better if my loan officer had been named Lefty. At least it would have been a better story to tell.

13 comments:

Kristina P. said...

Wow. I would keep going up the chain.

Yellow Trash said...

Send an email to Clark Howard. You may never get justice but hearing him sully their name might give you a little satisfaction.

Jason said...

Libby,

I actually have two (I hope) helpful suggestions here. First, notify the Attorney General. I think you may have to do it in writing, but once submitted, they are compelled to investigate.

Second, give the Division of Consumer Protection (Utah Department of Commerce) a call at 801-530-6601. They have power that the BBB does not have, can respond to consumer complaints and halt unfair or deceptive business practices. It's disgusting that the American taxpayer has already foot the bill to "bail out" these shitheels, and then they post record profits based on practices like these and ridiculously inflated overdraft fees, hidden fees, and obviously (and unfortunately) refinance fees.

She Said said...

That is such bullshit. I'm fuming for you, Libby.

When upset, Greg will research what the names of a company president, CEO, CFO, VP, etc are. Then he writes an email and sends it out to every possible variation of that name. For example, LeftyShmuck@citimortgage.com or LShmuck@citimortgage.com. He'll send it out to hundreds of emails. AND IT WORKS. Ask him about our new TV sometime.

Also, search Consumerist.com for other victims, and if you don't find any, send it to them. They'll help you out.

*Akilah Sakai* said...

That sucks a lumpy one! After your complaints about their CLEAR lack of decent customer service and faulty numbers, and in this time of financial woe for so many, you'd think they'd bend a little. Did they even disclose this fee properly?! Fight it, Libby. Get your money back somehow.

just making my way said...

I hate all banks. If I thought it would be a realistic option I would keep all my money under the mattress. If I had any money.

That sucks all the way around Libby. I don't have any good suggestions, other then if you can stand it - keep fighting!

MomZombie said...

I'm glad I stumbled upon this post for many reasons. Your commenters have good advice on problem resolution and I've found a support group for bank haters. Our bank raked us through the coals this summer by debiting our mortgage payment before crediting our deposits toward the payment. Even though our deposits were before our automatic payment was set to come out. They did this to throw us into overdraft status so that they then could charge us exorbitant fees for every day we were overdrawn. Of course, they then put a 7-day hold on the deposits to take maximum advantage of us. i fought it a few times, even getting most of the fees reversed. But it didn't stop. LIke you, I'm so tired of fighting the big banks.

Aunt Juicebox said...

Fight the good fight Libby! We've had some issues with a couple of our credit cards this year. We had one close our account because they weren't making money on us, and another one we closed because they wanted to DOUBLE our interest rate. F*ck that. You may be able to find some consumer websites where you can post your story. That's how I found out I could fight the slimey collection agency that was suing me earlier this year.

Captain Dumbass said...

Keep going after them, make yourself a giant headache for them. Oh, and try looking into a mortgage broker. They do all the leg work and you don't have to pay them.

Sprite's Keeper said...

What assholes! Citimortgage?Ugh. We're in the process of leaving Chase for losing our CASH deposit and trying to leave us high and dry while on vacation.

KAM said...

I would recommend typing a letter/email to the president, and mention their TARP bailout. This is getting lots of attention, and this one is one of the few large banks that has not paid back the money yet.

Maelstrom said...

Mother Effers.

DC Diva said...

I HATE stuff like that and I hate DEALING with it. I'm so sorry.