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Help support mtg. statements NOT coupon payt. books

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We need monthly statements NOT coupon books while paying our Mortagage payments.

In early October we paid our Mortgage payment for our November 1st payment, as well as our cable bill. We inadvertently placed the checks in the wrong envelopes. Comcast’s payment went to our mortgage company and our mortgage check of nearly $600.00 went to Comcast. This simple error has turned into an exhaustive, costly process to clear up.

We pay our monthly mortgage payment utilizing a coupon payment book provided by our mortgage company. We do not get a monthly statement. Therefore, we had no way of knowing this mistake of sending the wrong checks to the wrong companies took place as NEITHER the mortgage company nor Comcast bothered to make a telephone call to advise us of this error.

On or about Nov. 17th we received a letter from our mortgage company advising us that we owed our November payment along with a late charge. Knowing that we are NEVER late on any payments, I pulled our bank statement out and found that the check had cleared. I contacted the Mortgage Company to advise them of this and they asked us to obtain a copy of the front and back of the check. As our credit union/bank no longer sends us our cancelled checks with our bank statement, we had to order and pay for copies of the cleared check.

The next morning we went to pay for and pick up the check. We immediately faxed it to our Mortgage company. Later that afternoon I called to confirm it had been taken care of and they relayed that they were researching it and as long as I had the cancelled check, we didn’t have to worry about the late payment, etc.

Believing all was taken care of we enjoyed our Thanksgiving and felt the issue was over. To our surprise, we received a phone call on December 1st at 5pm notifying us that through their "research" they found they had not cashed the check, rather Comcast had cashed it. I asked if they cashed our comcast check then....their was no mention of that money....As far as our comcast check sent to them..., they placed $25.00, and change, on principal and retained the other $25.00 for a late charge, even though on their notice they sent us infoming us we were late, never indicated they received ANY payment, such as the comcast check.

Further upsetting was the fact that now it was December 1st, which means our perfect credit rating would NOW reflect a 30 day late payment which would be reported electronically to the credit bureaus. I know first hand how difficult it is correcting an erroneous credit report.

In an attempt to overt this foreseeable problem I asked to pay the payment over the phone as it was NOW, December 1st, and we would track the money down with Comcast ourselves. They allowed me to do so however they also charged a fee to pay by check over the phone. After doing so I asked if this stopped the reporting to the CRA’s. My answer was that since it wouldn’t be credited until December 2nd, it most likely would in fact be electronically reported however, we could get copies of our credit reports and dispute the 30 day late payment and they would respond to the CRA’s it was in error. Right!! Sounds familiar!

As you can see, had the mortgage company (or Comcast) contacted us prior to crediting our account, all of this could have been averted. I don’t understand how a check written payable to a mortgage Company could be cashed by Comcast. Further upsetting is that it would come across an employee’s desk and they would physically credit our account, paying us ahead, and not contact us. They had to know it was not our intention as the amount was large and not payable to Comcast, rather to a Mortgage Company..

A check made payable to someone else should have raised a red flag for someone to contact us. We would have then been apprised to what had happened and could have rectified it immediately prior to enduring these costs, credit concerns and anxiety dealing with rectifying a mess that was exacerbated unnecessarily.

Had the Mortage company contacted us in October, when they received the November payment, and well before December 1st, we wouldn’t be in the "system" to be reported as a 30 day late payment to begin with. Had we received a monthly mortgage statement from them we would have seen that we were not credited for our payment. By our paying with a coupon book as we do, we all have no way of knowing if our payments are applied properly and in this case our bank statement showed the check had cleared.

I think it speaks volumes that corporations contact their customers if a bill is late, but do not contact customers when an obvious overpayment was made and when the check was payable to another company. I have contacted my Congressman, Peter Deutsch, to assist me in sponsoring a bill requiring monthly statements as opposed to utilizing coupon books. This is my second time around with major difficulties due to utilizing coupon payment books.

Paying additional principal while utilizing a coupon book does not allow us to track where our payments are being applied. This is where my troubles began so many years ago.

In 1992 I wanted to refinance my mortgage, I had been paying with coupon book. To my horror, I found many payments were misapplied and my extra principal payments were not credited. Many amortization schedules later, it became quite apparent that they had no idea how to derive at the amount I actually owed.

After living this nightmare, I testified before the Massachusetts Banking Committee and sponsored a Bill with Senator Stan Rosenberg (S16). I submitted petitions signed by tens of hundreds of consumers, trying to enact a law mandating all mortgage companies/lenders to send consumers monthly statements to afford us our right to verify and track that our payments are being applied correctly. Especially our extra principal and escrow payments.

Not only did S.16 not get set aside but the bill was warmly welcomed by the legislators. After hearing of what happened to me, they gasped and openly spoke of their fears as they too pay down on the principal monthly with extra payments and blindly trust the payments are applied properly. The bill was never enacted into law due to the report coming back that it would only mandate the State Chartered Banks and most were already utilizing monthly statements. Further, Fleet Bank told the committee they voluntarily were opting to use monthly statments in the future. A monthly statement is the only way we can verify this information as we would see monthly how our payments were applied. That way we could stop any problem immediately and not years down the road where it is impossible to verify the correct amount due the creditor when attempting to refinance or sell the property.

The only way to stop this abuse is to fight for monthly statements. If you agree that we need to be able to verify how our mortgage payments are being applied, please forward a copy of this letter or your own letter to your representatives supporting this necessary change.

Denise Richardson

Hollywood, FL

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