Bank of America Nightmare… Wake Me Up!
[Updated: September 30, 2011 | 10:05 a.m. PST]
After a year of frustrating, upsetting, stressful, countless, (did I say frustrating?… let me say it again… FRUSTRATING) encounters with Bank of America, which I can only liken to a horrible nightmare from which I cannot wake up, I decided to write about it.
Bank of America (BofA) has been my bank since high school, through college and grad school, through career and relationships, through most of my life. And, in spite of my previous dealings with them, I have been hoping that the last year was an anomaly.
In truth, it has only gotten worse, and I have come to the realization that they do not care about keeping their customers, only getting them, and they do not want to change the way they do business, nor the way they treat their clients.
Inefficiency, incompetence, and insensitivity says it all.
“Help, I’m upside down and I can’t get up!”
They own our home mortgage and like nearly half of the country, we are upside down on our loan. We were among those people with bad timing who purchased a home at the peak of the housing market. Given the history of California real estate, we naturally assumed that property values would continue to go up, and up, and up… every month pushing the dream of becoming a home-owner further out of reach.
Silly us, had we waited a few years we could have gotten a home at bargain-basement prices! At least, that’s what our home is worth now – a bargain-basement price of its former self. In the last couple of years, we have faced a dramatic drop in our property value, if you consider losing more than one-third of your property value dramatic.
So, when the Obama Making Home Affordable Program kicked in last March 2009, we called our mortgage lender, Bank of America. After a couple of hours of being bounced around through many different departments, not a single Bank of America rep knew what I was talking about.
Do they read the newspapers? Do they follow government policies related to the banking industry?
Nope, I guess not. Bank of America was completely unprepared to handle or respond to calls from customers regarding the Making Home Affordable Program. BofA reps said to call them in a month or two, perhaps they might have something in place by then.
Are you kidding me?!
“Who’s on first. I don’t know. He’s on third, we’re not talking about him.”
-Abbott & Costello “Who’s on First” Routine
We eventually applied for a home loan modification. Months went by as they dragged their feet. We called repeatedly, always getting bounced around from department to department, starting the conversation anew every time, and answering the same questions with each new person to whom we were transferred, often ending up back at the beginning or disconnected. These phone calls, that would often last hours, left us even more confused and frustrated. It was like an Abbott and Costello routine!
Loan Modification Problems –
Congresswoman Maxine Waters Calls BofA –
On Phone with BofA for 2 Hours
No one could give us answers to any questions. They couldn’t or wouldn’t tell us the status of our application, or the name of the person assigned to our case, or when we might hear something, or the name of a supervisor, or contact information for someone with whom we could talk about our situation. No one knew anything.
From March through August of 2009 it became clear they were stalling, hoping we would be forced into foreclosure. Why? Probably because they have made plenty of money off of our loan – we have been paying nothing but interest for nearly five years – and their insurance will cover our foreclosure, in addition they end up with a nice piece of property to sell. Win, win, win. Why help anyone? It’s a windfall if they don’t. Hmmm… but they were willing to take our tax dollars when they needed help. Nice.
In September of 2009, increasingly feeling more hopeless and desperate, I decided to write to the executives at Bank of America, surprisingly, no one at Bank of America would give us the names or contact information. They actually said they did not have access to that information. Really?
Determined, I researched the Internet looking for reports to stockholders, articles, bios, forums, message boards, press releases, and little by little I pulled together the names of a few executives and their email addresses.
So I emailed them our story, our experience with Bank of America, the circumstances that qualified us for a home loan modification, and, oh, yes, I may have mentioned that I have a blog and I used to work in Public and Media Relations.
Settling in for what I thought would be a long wait, I was surprised at how quickly someone responded! Wow. Renewed hope. I cried tears of joy. Finally, someone heard us. The executive who responded, personally called me, giving me the name of the lady who would be assigned to our case, handling our modification application.
Holy cow! I was stunned.
Although, the larger loan was now owned by U.S. Bank, BofA still handled the collection of the mortgage. Our assigned BofA contact, Jennifer, informed us that U.S. Bank was willing to modify the loan they owned, but BofA would not modify the smaller loan they still owned, which, by the way, will soon have its variable interest rate kick in. Fine. We agreed. What choice did we have?
They sent us a contract. We signed the contract. We Fed-Exed, overnight, the contract. We even faxed them a copy of the contract – just to make sure. By the end of September, we had a modified loan on our larger loan – a little breathing room.
Does their left hand know what their right hand is doing?
We were told NOT to make a payment in October of 2009, they would add the amount of the October payment to the principal, and during October they would process all the paperwork. We were told, and it was in the contract, to begin to make our new, lower monthly payment on the larger loan November 1st, 2009. I asked, in every possible way that I could, if we really did NOT need to make a payment in October, and I was assured, as was stated in their contract, that we did NOT. Great.
We made the payment on the smaller, unmodified loan, in October, but not on the bigger, modified loan, as instructed. We made the payment, early, for November on both loans, and were surprised to get a call later that month from their Debt Collection department stating that we were behind on our payments.
Explaining the situation to them, the BofA Debt Collection department replied that they had not received the processed paperwork for our modified loan from the “Work Out” department. Apparently, no one has entered the modified loan contracts into the bank’s computer system.
We tried calling Jennifer, that special rep the BofA executive had assigned to our case, thinking perhaps she could clear the misunderstanding with the Debt Collection department, but we were never able to get a hold of Jennifer, nor did she ever return any of our many, many, voicemails. Not to this day, not since September of 2009.
The Debt Collection rep advised us to ignore the letter that would arrive from them, it is automatically generated and they could not stop it. Okay, fine, I told them, I can ignore the letter, but I cannot ignore my concern that BofA will report this to the credit bureaus, seeing as how I have always had incredibly high credit scores and I did not want this on my record. I was told not to worry, they were in the process of changing their systems, there were some glitches, paperwork was backed up, but this should be resolved by the next payment cycle.
Five months later…
It is now February 2010 and I am still getting several calls a month from the BofA Debt Collection department, often lasting well over an hour, claiming we are not making our payments on time. Why? Because, I have explained to them repeatedly, they told us not to make the payment in October and because we were told to pay the lower (by nearly $600 a month) modified amount starting in November! Oh, okay, don’t worry about it, then.
The Bank of America computers seem to show the Debt Collection department reps that, except for that fateful October, we have made on time or early payments every month, however, the payments are short nearly $600 a month. For some reason, they are incapable of checking with the department they blame for not yet entering into the system our home loan modification… five months later.
As for reporting us to the credit bureaus, apparently, they are very prompt and efficient about that. They have been reporting our missed and underpayments, but, they said, as soon as things get straightened out, they will remove that from our record.
My concern, of course, is that if it appears on the credit bureau reports, it affects us now through no fault of our own. The correction will not say that it is the bank’s fault, inefficiency, incompetence, or screw-up. That entry on the credit reports will look like we have not been making our payments and one day magically we did – assuming they ever enter into the computer system our home loan modification and assuming that they will be as efficient about correcting the credit reports as they were about reporting to them.
I am so tired, and frustrated, and fed up, and stressed out, and helplessly hopeless about the interaction with Bank of America that it is hard to breathe or relax sometimes, it is impossible to sleep or not think about all of this all the time. It is like living in a horrible dream from which you cannot wake up.
After a year of dealing with this nightmare, and still dealing with this nightmare called Bank of America, I literally looked up on Google: “Bank of America Nightmare.” Lo and behold, I was not alone, many, many people had used those exact words in describing their Bank of America experience. And in a strange way, that made me feel hopeful for the first time that if enough of us post our BofA nightmare stories, that perhaps someone will hear us and do something to help us or guide us.
Horton, Can You Hear Us Now?
Feeling a bit like a person in Dr. Seuss’ Whoville and hoping for a Horton, I decided to compile snippets of other postings by people who like me, and perhaps like you, are dealing with this insensitive, incompetent, and inefficient corporation that haunts us in our sleep in a never-ending nightmare called Bank of America. And perhaps putting our voices together someone will hear us, someone will listen, someone will help us, someone will do something.
So, Horton, if you’re out there, please hear my voice and the voices of my fellow Whoville residents, expressed in the snippets below.
We need help. Is anybody listening?
[NOTE: This blog post will continue to be updated with additional resources, stories and your comments, ever increasing the sound of our collective voice.]
Martie Hevia (c) 2010 – All Rights Reserved
RELATED BLUE BEACH SONG POSTS
- And Then You Lose Your Home…
- Bank of America Nightmare… Updates Journal
- Bank of America Nightmare… Wake Me Up!
- Families Living On The Edge of Homelessness | Foreclosures
- 2010 – BofA Nightmare Stories on Facebook Groups: There are numerous Facebook groups where people are sharing their BofA nightmare stories, and, in some cases, how they resolved them or attempted to resolve them. Although I do not belong to these groups, here are three Facebook groups, in the hopes that it helps you: Bank of America, Bank of America Are Crooks!, and Please BOYCOTT Bank of America. URL: www.facebook.com
- 2010 – BofA Nightmare Stories on Amplicate: Here is another website where people are posting their BofA nightmare stories. This site had the same thought I did about the power of putting people’s voices together. This is what they say that they are about: “A few months ago, and after a really terryifing customer service incident, I decided to blog about it to tell the world. It’s was rather pointless, nobody read or really cared about my experience. We have all shared the same frustration. And not only when complaining about situations but in telling the world what we really like or really hate. We think it’s time to be really heard, to reach more people and companies, to tell them what we think. We believe that if we get together we can be louder and clearer. That’s why we created Amplicate: Amplicate is your independent platform to make your opinions count. So go and create a topic or find a topic and spread your word.” URL: http://amplicate.com/sucks/bank-of-america
- 2010 – Protest & Action: “If you are tired of Bank of America’s treatment of you as a customer – the abusive fees, the practices designed to generate those fees, the abuse from the customer service division, unwarranted credit card interest rate hikes, the redistribution of your income to generate enormous wealth for a select few bank executives, and the overall lack of gratitude shown you for depositing your money in their vaults, then NOW is the time to show Bank of America who’s REALLY in charge. They ain’t got nothin’ if they ain’t got our money. Join the growing movement of BofA customers who are regaining control of their money. Throughout the month of February, we are withdrawing our money from BofA and replacing it with a Proclamation of conditions designed to direct the bank toward the practice of gratitude rather than greed.” URL: http://wedemandchangenow.blogspot.com/
- 2008 – Bank Error Leads to Lawsuit: “What started as a $35 bank error that the manager said he fixed, quickly grew to $600 in OVERDRAFT FEES. Management at Bank of America was well aware of their mistake, but failed on numerous occasions to correct it. A Berkeley California group hopes to bring a Class Action Lawsuit against Bank of America for parasitic schemes that specifically prey on elderly, disabled, and low-income families.” URL: http://www.bankofamericafraud.com/
- 2009 – Wrongly Increased Credit Interest Rate Problem: “I have been a customer of BOA since 2000, have made all my payments on time, until recently when I have had 3 surgeries due to an injury. I have made my payments on the day they are due, but just not before 05:00pm. … So they have raised my interest from 8.15% to 26.64% which means my payment is $561.00. I have tried to talk with the Customer Service people and have gotten no where. I have been told I can talk with someone and pay them a fee to set up a payment schedule. Which I can not see paying them since I have made my monthly payments and have not missed a payment. … I hear they are asking for more bail out money, as a single female who has worked 2 jobs for the past 28 years and paid in a lot of taxes. I do not feel since they are not willing to work with their customers or assist them in anyway, WE the people should not be expected to bail them out.” URL: http://consumerist.com/2008/07/email-addresses-for-17-bank-of-america-executives.html
- 2009 – Hardship Temp Relief Problem: “I am a small business owner and am building a very promising Internet technology startup. My wife is working to finish her Ph.D. We are hanging on by a thread as our income has plummeted in the wake of the recent global financial crisis and the economic downturn has all but crippled our startup. I have been working with my banks to try to get hardship relief and reduced payments for a finite period of time. Just temporary help that would allow us time to reestablish our financial footing. American Express and other creditors have been responsive and compassionate yet, ironically, Bank of America, has been completely unwilling to help – despite them getting billions in bailout funds which should, in my opinion, build in a bit of humility and empathy for others who are struggling.” URL: http://consumerist.com/2008/07/email-addresses-for-17-bank-of-america-executives.html
- 2009 – Overdraft Fees Problem: “I appreciate the importance of your time and will make this brief. As a long time BofA customer I am outraged by the current overdraft fee policy and its net effect on my account. Clearly the policy is predicated on the position that overdraft fees are an excellent mechanism for increasing bottom line profits. The punitive nature of creating a policy that states (at least as communicated by your staff) that “the bank will pay the largest checks first and deny the others” creates a situation where the bank charges numerous $35.00 fees on ridiculously small charges. With all the money invested in software development, it would be an easy task to create an algorithm that is truly customer beneficial and looks at the current balance against charges and pays the maximum amount of charges and minimizes the bank fees. Additionally, to go into my overdraft account to pay your fees is preposterous!” URL: http://consumerist.com/2008/07/email-addresses-for-17-bank-of-america-executives.html
- 2009 – Customer Service Problem: “OMG! Bank of America…where do I begin. You call the customer service line 3 times, you will get 3 different answers. You call the supervisor line it is just another call center where you must ask for a manager and you get put on mute for 45 mins. then told you can leave a vm. I was on mute last night for 30 minutes so I used 3-way and called back in. The guy (john) who had my other line on mute answered the new call. I said John this is Ms. Robinson again, and I am still on mute on you other line. I was on the phone (cell) during peak time and used 187 peak minutes. I have been paying overage charges for the past 3 months talking to them.” URL: http://consumerist.com/2008/10/reach-bank-of-america-executive-customer-relations.html
- 2010 – Home Loan Modification Problem: “I have a home financed with Bank of America and I got behind on my payments but now I am able to start making payments and I have been trying to get someone to help me there since October with my loan. They are telling me I do not qualify for a Loan Modification with them and have been told this twice..once I was told I didnt qualify making $3500 a month and then again today showing that I only make $2000 a month. I have the means to pay my mortgage payment now, but they are demanding all the past due paid along with there fees, which total approximate $8500. They have placed my home in foreclosure and are not willing to help me in anyway keep my home. I have tried and called and get no where with the people they have answering the phones. I am able to make my payments now and want to save my house from foreclosure, which I thought they would want to do as well, but I can’t get anywhere with them. Can someone help?” URL: http://beheardbyamerica.com/2010/01/21/bank-of-america-nightmare-are-they-really-trying-to-help/
- 2009 – Home Loan Modification Problems: For dozens and dozens of stories just about Bank of America mortgage nightmares, check out Rights Radio with Dr. Joyce Starr’s article “Mortgage Refinancing Nightmares: Bank of America“
- 2009 – Home Loan Modification Problem: “I worked with an organization to have my interest rates lowered in order to have a reduced mortgage payment in July 2008. NACA negotiated a lower interest rate. Bank of America sent me the documentation in September 2008 stating this is my new interest rate, my new terms, my new payment which is to take affect in December 2008. I have had a mortgage since July 2007 and have never been late because Bank of America was automatically deducting my mortgage payments out of my account. When my new payment was to start in December, the old payment amount was taken out. Of course I got on the phone immediately discussed the problem, which also resulted in bounced payments to my other creditors.I had to fight with Bank of America to get my money back but they have yet to give me my bounced checks fees back. I of course stopped my automatic debit until they can update my records. I have sent in my Jan – March payments on time (I have the processed checks to prove it). They have yet to update my account with my new payment arrangements. The people on the Loss Mitigation Team don’t know. The call always ends with me not knowing anything more than when I first called. They keep saying they are backed logged and don’t know when they will be able to update the system with my account information which to me is unacceptable. The last time I called (3/23) after speaking with 3 individuals, I asked to speak to a supervisor or manager who had the nerve to hang up on me when I inquired to when my account will be updated. I received my escrow payment information which is still reflecting my old payment so the system is still not updated with my new payment information. Someone looked at my credit report and told me that it is showing that I am 60 days late paying my mortgage which due to their lack of responsibility is now affecting my credit rating. I am sick and disgusted with the LOSS MITIGATION TEAM AT BANK OF AMERICA. I don’t know where else to go/turn because no one else will give me a loan or refinance with my terms that I have with Bank of America and I can’t afford to pay higher than what I am already paying.” URL: http://rightsradio.com/mortgage-refinancing-nightmares-bank-of-america/
- 2009 – Home Loan Modification Problem: “BOA did not sit down and discuss what we could do to get back into my house. We have called BOA many times. They (BOA) received all required paper work to show how my job came to an end with Ford, but I am working now. My husband is disabled and has always been since dealing with BOA. BOA just need to work with people who have lost everything better. I am not in my house no one seems to care.BOA received American tax payers money and don’t want to work with me to get my house back at reasonable payments.” URL: http://rightsradio.com/mortgage-refinancing-nightmares-bank-of-america/
- 2009 – Equity Line of Credit Problem: “Bank of America accepted $45 Billion in TARP funds. Now they are not lending it out. I have perfect credit, no debt (except for a mortgage at 5% that will be paid off in 7 years, 2 years ahead of schedule), and pay my bills. Our application was declined. First time in my life. They blamed it on my home’s low value, but their number was a lowball excuse to not fund loans. My home was just appraised at a value substantially higher than their estimate. My complaint… Bank of America wants federal assistance because of their bad business decisions. They then do not want to fund those of us that are making sound and responsible decisions.” URL: http://rightsradio.com/mortgage-refinancing-nightmares-bank-of-america/
- 2009 – Overdraft Fees Problem: “I have read so many negative reviews on this subject that I am amazed on how nothing has been done. I spent 45 minutes on the phone with BOA in regards to overdraft fees. My direct deposit ( bank of America check) cleared so my account says and so I made about 8 purchases. They charged me $280 in overdraft charges telling me that my deposit wasn’t complete.” URL: http://www.my3cents.com/showReview.cgi?id=60673
- 2009 – Home Loan Modification Problem: “I honestly believe that a person has to be in default of their loan before Bank of America will do anything.I also think that Bank of America took all that bailout money and are NOT helping their customers at all. I might want to add that each time I dealt this any customer service with this bank, they were very rude and unprofessional. … I also believe that the information that they gave me is incorrect. People will be defaulting all over the place if it is.” URL: http://www.my3cents.com/showReview.cgi?id=60708
- 2008 – Checking Account Problem: “Is it me or are banks getting harder and harder to deal with? Even for a person with a simple checking or savings account. Bank of America (NYSE BAC) has really outdone it this time. I am just a regular person with a regular BOA checking account and the issues I had to deal with for two weeks were really a nightmare. … Each department has no clue what the other department does and if you ever had an issue you will only reach a dead end.” URL: http://www.merchanttalk.com/?p=246
- 2008 – Destroying Customer’s Credit: “…I’m filing a lawsuit against this bank for distroying my credit and costing me over 324,000.00 added onto my mortgage when two fraudulent charges where allowed to be added onto my credit card, and then they raised my interest rate from15% to 32.9% and then they sent a letter to the Credit Reporting Agencies because these put my credit limit over it’s limit ! These charges where for 1140.00 and 699.00 sent over sea’s and this was over my daily spending limit also ! but when the[y] sent this letter to the CRA’s then they sent a letter out to all my other credit card merchants and they all raised my interest rates as high as they could too! and this dropped my Fico score from a 733 down to a 640 and i was just about to refinance my house because the interest rates had gone down to a 5.25% and would have qualified for that easily with a 733 but since they reported me going over my credit limit with these charges that they never should have allowed to go onto my cc i ended up getting a 6.9% variable rate which is about 900.00 more each month times 360 months comes to 324,000.00 in interest alone more added onto my loan for my house, which i put 157,000 down on and i bought it for 314,000 back in 2001 but now i have had to claim bankruptcy just to keep it from being sold because they sent another letter to chex-systems which sent a letter to my mortgage company after i just set up an account with them to automaticly take my mortgage payment out…” URL: http://www.bankofamericasucks.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1486
- 2007 – Overdraft Fees Problem: “Yes, I too have spent countless hours communicating with Bank of America. … [about] Bogus overdraft fees and deceptive procedures with regard to using your ATM card. … they deduct the item twice, once when you make the transaction and then 3 to 5 days later. No other bank that I have spoken with can understand how BofA can deduct the item twice! … the date the item is debited is not accurate and leads to confusion and deception. BofA then charges you $35.00 for each overdraft … Every time I called or went to a branch office, I got the same song and dance routine about how they put a hold on the amount of the debit in your account and then deduct it again when a “paper” comes through from the store where you made the transaction.” URL: http://www.bankofamericasucks.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1486
- 2006 – Overdraft Fees Problem: “One of the features of the Business checking account is “Overdraft Protection Service with No Transfer Fee”, but two months ago I got hit with $280 in overdraft fees for 8 purchases in one day. When I asked why Overdraft Protection didn’t cover those, the rep said I hadn’t requested it.” URL: http://www.my3cents.com/showReview.cgi?id=15294
- 2006 – Overdraft Fees Problem: “Bank of America’s overdraft policies should be illegal. …I thought I linked all of my accounts so that this would never happen to me again, however, a change to my savings account caused overdraft protection to disappear. …Imagine my surprise when $362 in overdraft fees later, I found out that I did not have overdraft protection and there was nothing that Bank of America was willing to do to help. I was charged a $33 overdraft fee for a $7 debit! … I am leaving Bank of America after 5 years. Their lack of customer service is appalling. … It would be nice if they understood that the day-to-day customers like me help to keep them in business, too.” URL: http://www.my3cents.com/showReview.cgi?id=15405
- 2006 – Customer Service Problem: “In this third caught-on-tape installment (#1 T-Mobile, #2 Ticketmaster) in of a series of IT Matters podcasts I’m calling The Support Files, I’ve got Bank of America on tape giving me blantantly false information about the customer service phone numbers on the back of its ATM cards. Not only that, the recording of my attempt to locate a human while navigating the company’s interactive voice response system (IVR) on the telephone demonstrates how BofA falls apart during a critical moment of truth: that moment when you’re standing in front of an ATM machine that’s outside of the country and its not working (in other words, you can’t get to your money).” URL: http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=3394
- 2004 – Deposit Problem: “This morning I tried to purchase a BART ticket with my debit card and got refused. Upon checking my balance online, I discovered that I was massively overdrawn. In fact, Bank of America had taken the amount of the check I’d attempted to deposit and *subtracted* it from my balance!” URL: http://www.goldtoe.net/2004/09/bank-of-america-nightmare.html
- eCorporateOffices – Bank of America Complaints: http://ecorporateoffices.com/BankofAmerica-940
UPDATES | BofA Nightmare Blog Post:
[ Bank of America Nightmare… Updates Journal ]
– After leaving countless voicemails, last week and this week, with numerous individuals at BofA’s Office of the President, including the Consumer Advocacy Group, no one has returned any of our calls. Although the individuals with whom we dealt last week said they would call us back the next day for a status update, as they worked to correct the problem that has arisen from their failure to enter our signed contract (from last Fall) into their system, allowing it to expire, which resulted in BofA drawing up a new contract this April 2010 which held us liable and delinquent for the reduced amount of the original modified contract we signed last Fall, and which we refused to sign… (long run-on sentence… breath) we are still waiting to hear from somebody… anybody.
– Nightmare continues! The new contract arrived. It was not identical to our Fall 2009 contract we signed, like David assured me. Our original contract, BofA explained — pick an excuse, was never processed, or it was allowed to expire, or was never sent to the appropriate departments, or is in the process of being made final and permanent in five days… one month ago…, that contract was not the same as the new contract. No, the new contract was adding nearly $10,000 to our principal, due to “delinquent payments.” However, somehow the October 2009 payment they told us NOT to make and the reduced payments we were supposed to and did make from November 2009 to the present, do not equal $10,000, in fact, it is just a little over $5,000. So what are the other $5K for… penalties and fees? Don’t know. But we were not going to sign anything that said we were delinquent, not when we have adhered to the contract BofA drafted, which we were sent last Fall, which we signed and notarized, Fed-Exed overnight, and have been adhering to every step of the way.
– Needing to talk face-to-face with someone at BofA we went to our local BofA branch mortgage specialist who could not help us, but they agreed that BofA failing to process the old contract, sending a new one, and adding $10K to our principal, through no fault of our own, was not right to do. The individual checked on their computer system and looked at our copy of the original contract and agreed that we are adhering to the terms of the contract, and that in no way can we be deemed delinquent. The individual also could not explain why the original BofA contract, good for five years, would have expired necessitating a new one. (Exactly, it is not like bad eggs! However it may smell.)
– I have been so stressed out over all of this, I do not have the words to fully express what I feel physically and mentally. Perhaps they are playing games with us. Perhaps they want us to give up, to default, to foreclose… I don’t know. Or perhaps or it is not intentional at all. Perhaps they really are as incompetent, insensitive, and inefficient as I was afraid they might be. Either way, the BofA nightmare and the sleepless nights continue.
– Someone named Mona called to say that she was replacing Dee as our customer advocate. She called to say a “negotiator” was assigned to our loan. I asked what a negotiator does and she said they approve the loan. Hmm… I said to her I thought it was approved, back in late September 2009 when they sent us the contract to sign, which we did and Fed-Exed back. Recounted conversations with David and Dee and Keri.
– She could not find David or his phone number on their directory, so I gave her his number. I told her about David saying the contract we signed last Fall 2009 and Fed-Exed back had “expired” and he needed to send us a new contract.
-She said to give her “48 hours” to find out what is going on. (She did not call back in 48 hours or even one week later. We are used to this.)
– David called with bad news. The loan modification contract never closed properly because BofA was going through a change in their system (I remember all the account numbers were changed for everyone) and our “contract expired.” (If BofA drew up the contract and we signed it, notarized it, and sent it overnight, how can the contract “expire,” I don’t understand.) He said he would send the contract again, it should arrive tomorrow, and we would need to sign it, notarize it, and return it via Fed-Ex. He said that the old contract and the new contract would be identical, except for the new date.
– Red flags went up for me. I asked him if we had to sign a new contract with a new date of May 1st as he said, how would that impact the October payment they asked us to skip and the reduced/modified payments from November 2009 to April 2010, i.e. would that now be considered delinquent, even though we have been following the terms of the contract we signed. He said, no, we won’t come after you for those amounts, nor would we report it to the credit bureaus.
– He sounded hurried and I felt uncomfortable with what I had just heard, but we hung up. OMG! The nightmare continues!
– David called and left voicemail.
– Called David back and left him voicemail.
– Dee (Customer Advocate assigned to us) called. She said the file is not completed and it was assigned to associate for closing. She said it looks like it will take longer than the 5 days she said back on 3/12/10. (Well, I’ve waited this long.)
– Keri (Home Retention Supervision) called to say that the modification was escalated and she received confirmation today. (I mentioned that perhaps that was David who had expedited it, but she said she had escalated it… ???)
– She said it may take 4-6 weeks to become “final and permanent.” (I confirmed with her what she said, final and permanent, and she repeated it.) She said the modification was “pushed forward.” I mentioned to her that David said it would take a week and Dee said it would take 5 days, so I wondered if she was coordinating with them. She said she did not know who they were. (I began wondering if there are different people in different departments doing different things with different time-lines. Aarghh!)
– Keri said her department, Home Retention, would make retroactive the Credit Bureau reports to show that we did indeed make all our payments and we made them on time or early. (If she will do that, that will be really great. I have been stressing over that. Having had perfect credit my whole life.)
– Dee called at 10am and said that the modification had been sent to the Closing department (shouldn’t that have been done last October 2009?), that someone “put in to expedite” (I’m guessing David?), that in 5 days it should all be done, and that she will call me when it is all done. (Yay. Hope it all goes smoothly.)
– Sent Karen on BofA Twitter a DM update about what Dee said. She tweeted back that I made her day.
– Karen from BofA on Twitter sent me a DM (direct message) on Twitter checking to see if I have heard back from anyone. (Thank you, Karen, for asking.) I responded with two DMs that neither Dee (the Customer Advocate assigned to us) nor David (from the President’s Office) have called back. She said she would follow up and have someone call me.
– David did not call back, although it has been a week. I can wait a few more days, after all, it has been one year, on March 9, since I initially called requesting information about the Obama Home Retention Program. Did I mention they said at the time that they had no information about that… suggesting I call back in a couple of months! But that was then, and hopefully this will all be cleared up soon.
– David returned a voicemail I left over a week ago. (Hip, hip, hooray!) He was very nice. He acknowledged the lack of communication and confusion going on between the departments, but he said he would follow this through and call me at the end of the week. It is such an amazing feeling, a burden lifted, to have one person who will look into your situation and help you resolve the problem. Such a difference from retelling your story to four, five, six different people, in one sitting, in the span of a multi-hour phone call. I felt like a person again, like a customer. Thank you, David… wherever you are.
– The good news is that the “modification should close in the next couple of weeks.” He said they have been backlogged and are “in the process of processing it.” He said because I had gone through the President’s Office (I had emailed a letter last summer, 2009, after months of frustration requesting an Obama loan modification) they apparently had not sent notice or copies to the other departments who needed to know.
– He entered a code to stop the calls from their debt collection department. Debt Collection has been calling several times a week and sending letters because they were never sent notice by their modification department. But he assured me that our loan modification contract would have triggered a block from the Debt Collection department reporting it to the Credit Bureaus. He said he would call me back in one week to let me know that it has all gone through. (Fingers crossed!)
– P.S. None of the executives I emailed have responded to my email… yet.
– Received a call today from Dee, as a result of Karen’s help. (Karen is the BofA rep I found at the BofA_Help account on Twitter.) Dee is going to review our documents. Gave her the fax number to which we re-sent our modified loan contract a few days ago, and yay she found them – I assume as a result of being scanned into the system. Dee gave me an 800 number and extension – minor heart attack from shock – and said to call her in a week, after she reviews everything. It’s a little rope of hope on which I can tie a knot and hang on a little longer! For those of you needing help, I really recommend trying BofA_Help on Twitter. Karen has been truly wonderful, kind and responsive.
– Checked Twitter late morning for response from @BofA_Help, and I was so happy to see a response from Karen asking for my phone number to call me. Immediately sent her a direct message with my phone number. She called me within 15 minutes of that message! She mentioned she had read my blog post, she asked for information, like account numbers, and patiently waited while I gathered the information, she listened. She did not promise that she could resolve everything, but she did say that she would try to help us by connecting us with the right people.
– On a personal note, I was so impressed with her interest, compassion, and willingness to help us. I feel like perhaps there is a Horton out there, and she heard this Who. Thank you, Karen. It means more than I can say to have someone with BofA actually listen and care.
– At 6:43 p.m. Joanna from BofA Debt Collection called to notify us that we are delinquent in our payments. We went through the whole explanation again – we followed what we were told to do as per the contract of the home loan mod. She said she was not aware we had a loan modification. (We have already received numerous calls from the Debt Collection department this month. Seems like once or twice a week now.)
– It’s midnight and none of the executives to whom I sent the email yesterday have acknowledged or responded to my email. (Really hope someone will clear this up soon.)
– Debt Collection Supervisor, Kari, asked us to fax our modified loan contract, they didn’t have a copy. She gave us a fax number, but no contact name to whom we should send it. We faxed it in the morning. No one called us to verify receipt of the fax.
– Based on an article I read today about Bank of America’s attempt to reach out to customers through social media, specifically on Twitter, I found and sent, in the early afternoon, to their tweet account, @BofA_Help, a tweet asking for help and a link to this blog post.
– We called BofA’s Debt Collection and spoke to Vanessa in the afternoon to verify someone received the faxed contract. No one knows who got it, nor can they verify that they got it.
– Vanessa additionally mentioned that the modified loan had been cancelled in January 2010. We asked why we had not been notified or why none of the many people from BofA that we have spoken to in the last few days and weeks have ever mentioned that. She did not know.
– We asked Vanessa why it was cancelled and she said it was because of the missed and under-payments. When we explained that we did what we were told to do by the BofA reps and as per the modified loan contract, she then said that it was because we didn’t send them updated financial statements every 60-90 days. When we explained that no one ever mentioned that we needed to do that and that it is not in our contract, she then said it was probably because we got the modification before the merger with Countrywide. When we mentioned that it was after the merger and we have never had any dealings with Countrywide, she said she didn’t know why. (Fun!)
– Feeling quite stressed out, more than I have been, I immediately sprang into action. I called Jennifer, our original contact, the analyst who was assigned the loan modification, and her phone was disconnected. The second phone number I had for her assistant now belongs to David, whomever he might be, and I left him a voicemail. I then left a voicemail message for Christina Lasley (Office of the President), as per a blog reader’s suggestion. (Thanks.) However, her voicemail stated that she would be out of the office until Feb. 24th. She left a phone number for a Tom who would be taking her calls, but his number rang and sent me back to Ms. Lasley’s voicemail. I then deduced the new BofA CEO’s email, based on his name and the usual pattern BofA uses with assigning emails, and I sent him and other executives an email around 5:30 p.m., with a link to this blog post. (Hope someone comes through for us.)
Notes & Resources:
If you have a twitter account, send a tweet to @BofA_Help
Ms. Phyllis Caldwell
Chief, Office of Homeownership Preservation
U.S. Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20220
Bank of America is a national bank. The OCC charters, regulates, and supervises all national banks. Contact information for the OCC follows: Telephone: 800-613-6743; Address: OCC, Customer Assistance Group, 1301 McKinney Street, Suite 3710, Houston, TX 77010.
Complain in writing to BOA and online to the Federal Trade Commission. Send a CC: hard copy of your BOA complaint with FTC’s complaint Reference Number to:
Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Response Center
600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20580
FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection – Consumer Information: This section of the FTC website offers practical information on a variety of consumer topics. The information here can help you avoid rip-offs and exercise your consumer rights. [Information from a posting on “Bank of America Are (sic) Crooks!” Facebook group.]
Elizabeth Warren, chairperson of the Congressional Oversight Panel Report, has been evaluating the government modification programs and their effectiveness. She has been sharply critical in these programs lack of timeliness, sustainability, and accountability.
Evaluating Progress of TARP Foreclosure Mitigation Programs Report, April 14, 2010
Bank of America Nightmare Stories
[NOTE: Copied and pasted from other websites – spelling errors have not been corrected.]
Posted on 2/22/10:
About Unethical Practices
Posted on 2/18/10:
and Wins over Credit Rate Increase
Practices – Overdraft Fees
Posted on 2/17/10:
with Loan Modification
Additional Complaint Stories:
Martie Hevia (c) 2010 – All Rights Reserved