Washington Mutual, whom I’ve mentioned a couple of time before, currently hold the mortgage on our home and, after hopping our checking account around for various reasons, is also home to our checking account. Since we have both accounts with them, they’re kind enough to give us a “Platinum” account for free provided we allow them to
rob us blind auto-deduct our monthly payment – this service normally costs $12/month. When we bought our home, we didn’t have enough to put 20% down (uh…who actually does??) and we didn’t qualify for a second mortgage at that time so we had to get PMI. A complete and total crock but necessary at the time. After saving up for some time, we were able to pay down to 80% and get the PMI removed – simple enough procedure and something that I’m sure happens all the time. So here’s where it goes sideways, we also asked about having our monthly payment reduced – basically, they just re-evaluate your loan and the payment should drop. The kind lady told my wife that she’d be sending the paperwork along and we could just fill it out and send it back at our convenience. Great! The following week the paperwork arrives and we were disturbed to discover that there was a $200 fee involved in the recalculation. No way are we paying so they can “click a button” (I know that there MAY be a little more to it than this but it still can’t be all that complicated) and start charging us a lesser amount. So, in accordance with the documents, we decide not to fill them out so our account should remain the same, right? Wrong. The next payment stub arrives with the “new” amount so we immediately call and are told that it was a mistake and will be corrected. We proceeded to pay the original amount with the directions to apply the “extra” to principal since their system would see the difference as such. This routine proceeds for the next couple of months – get payment stub, call and be reassured that everything has been corrected in their system (for real THIS time), pay the usual amount, rinse, repeat.
After the third month of this insanity, Darlene gets a phone call from Washington Mutual’s collections department. They’ve locked our account and sent it to collections for “non-payment”. Whaa?? Well, it turns out that their cashiering department decided that they would “back out” (an accounting term I swear) all our payments for the past three months thus making us “late” for the past three months. So after being harangued by this awful lady, Darlene finally hung up on her and called back to speak with someone else. Basically, they had no idea why this was done and, get this, the cashiering department doesn’t take incoming calls so we can’t even speak to someone about it. We were assured once again that everything would be corrected within a week. No luck – the payments were re-applied incorrectly. So Darlene and I figured out exactly how and where each payment should have been applied and relayed this information to the customer service rep (slowly so as not to spook the skittish creature) only to be told that it would take ANOTHER week. After speaking with a manager, I was assured that the issue would be resolved with 2 business days and would be correct. To be safe, I got the manager’s direct line and contact information in case there was any problems in the future. *sigh*
Fast forward 2 weeks and about a dozen unreturned phone messages later, since the account “magically” righted itself well enough – they actually still didn’t have it quite right but it was close enough that it wasn’t worth the effort. Oh, and my “written formal request” (per RESPA, Section 6) for an explanation and assurances that it wouldn’t happen again – IGNORED!! Basically, I’ve decided that all loans moving forward will NOT be with Washington Mutual and as soon as we’re clear of this home loan, we’ll be moving all our other accounts as well.