Lately we’ve been struggling with the mortgage company. We got stuck with GMAC after the mortgage company we made the deal with immediately sold, within a month, our mortgage to them. Okay, fine, not unusual. Our first mortgage payment, by the way, was due September 1st, 2005. Yeah, three days after. Obviously that didn’t happen, and we were told that payments didn’t have to be made for three months, which only meant that in January we owed them everything we hadn’t paid all at once. I’m not sure exactly how that was supposed to be helpful.
After much wrangling, everything got re-negotiated and we had a new payment plan, slightly higher than the old payment plan. We sent payments off to them and then they called us saying we had to re-negotiate again or go into default. Apparently, they rejected one of the payments because they said they didn’t realize it was part of the same payment.
Okay, fine, so we re-negotiate again. Now the payments have really jumped, much higher than our original payment plan in order to get everything we owe them from the last half a year paid off within a year.
Meanwhile, every time I call I have to go through the same routine, changing the address because for some reason they never know the new address, despite the fact that I have told them again and again not to send anything to the house address because there is no mail delivery there. The phone conversations always started the same way, “We mailed you the blah-blah-blah weeks ago.” Then I explain I never got it, ask where they sent it, and give them the new address again.
So we send off our re-re-re-negotiated payment. The money disappears from my account just as it should. A few days later I get a phone call saying we were going into default unless we made the payment. I call and explain how we sent the payments. She asks for the address. Then she asks if anyone is living in the house.
“No, it was wrecked by the hurricane.”
“Well I have no way of knowing that.”
Really? No way? GMAC keeps its employees on a news blackout? The fact that I’ve changed the address a million times didn’t clue you in? Or how about this – how about that the company you work for is holding onto my insurance money?
Now, I understand that GMAC is an unbelievably large corporation, but I still think such a large corporation with billions of dollars and thousands of employees would be able to make some kind of notation on our account indicative of the hurricane damage, not to mention that they’re holding our insurance money.
After I count slowly to ten, I find out they have a record of my portion, by not Dr. A.’s, and I have to make a payment immediately or we will go into default the next day. I mention that this has happened before, and we’re making payments, and could she explain why they won’t take our money. She tells me the payments have to arrive “at the same time.”
“Okay, what does that mean?”
“At the same time, they have to arrive at the same time.”
“We scheduled them for the same day.”
“No, at the same time.”
The conversation pauses here while I bang my head against the wall a few times.
“Okay, so two electronic payments from different accounts on the same day doesn’t count?”
“Okay, so what does count?”
“They have to arrive at the same time.”
I then spend five minutes running through every possibility I can think of, electronic payments, checks, same day arrival, to finally get down to what “at the same time” means – one electronic payment, or one envelope. Apparently, two checks in one envelope is okay, but two checks in two different envelopes is too confusing for GMAC to match them to one account. This would have been useful information for them to pass along to us, say, six months ago.
I point out that one envelope will be difficult given that Dr. A. and I are two different people, with two different checking accounts, living in two different places. She understands, but is adamant – one electronic payment, or one envelope.
Fine, I make a payment over the phone and call Dr. A. Dr. A. checks her account and, sure enough, they took her payment as well. In fact, she over-paid a little to get us closer to the time when we go back to regular payments, so they not only got more than enough money up front and on time, but then asked us for more money which I gave them. Naturally, we call back the next day to get this straightened out.
We ask the woman on the other end of the line (Dr. A. having arranged a three-way call) what happened to our money, and she proceeds to tell us a lot of stuff we know, like we’re in a re-payment plan, none of which answers the question, and finishes with “You received an insurance payment, so you’re capable of paying off what you owe.”
Now, how is it that she knows this, but other people don’t know we got wrecked by a hurricane?
“No,” I say, “actually we don’t have an insurance payment because you’re holding onto that money while we rebuild.”
At this point, she hung up.
To be fair, we could have just been cut off somehow, but that timing sure is something, isn’t it?
So we call back again, get bounced around a little bit, and finally talk to someone who tells us we owe them a little less money next month.
After much questioning, we find out that first, they did indeed get all the payments including the extra one I made, and are in fact capable of matching payments that don’t arrive “at the same time” to one account, and furthermore, already made the recalculations to reduce our payments over the rest of the year by the amount we over-paid this month. Which is awfully sweet of them if you ignore the idea that we arranged the payments that we did because we could afford that each month and not the extra they squeezed out of me.
Plus, since they reported the non-payment to credit companies already, they’ll send us letters saying it was a misunderstanding and not our fault that we can show to people for the next year when they refuse us credit because our credit rating is screwed because GMAC Mortgage Company is stupid and annoying.
I feel this is somewhat akin to getting knocked in the head with a cast iron skillet and bequeathed with a Band-Aid.
It’s enough to make me wish I could just take the house back to the store and return it because it’s broken, but houses don’t come with 30-day guarantees. Not to worry, though, because I won’t give them the satisfaction. There is no hoop they can devise that I can not figure out a way to jump through it, not to mention that I get to bitch about them here, and there’s nothing they can do about that.