My husband has 3 accounts with Beneficial. For the longest time, they insisted we had only 2 accounts when they would call to speak to us about them, but we've finally rectified that situation and at least they know we have 3 accounts with them!
he has a 1st mortgage, a 2nd mortgage, and a small personal loan. Recent circumstances required that he go into the 6 month hardship program, which was approved on January 16th, 2008 and sent letters for each account that show we are on the hardship. Basically, it was to reduce our interest rate to 5% and give us lower monthly payments for six months to help us get back on our feet.
We made initial payments in January to start the program of the requested amounts:
Account 1) $699
Account 2) $93.70
Account 3) $7.57
We made these by money order per their request, at our local Beneficial office on January 24th, 2008. We have receipts.
In February we receive statements that show we owe $0 on Accounts 1 & 2, and that we never paid $7.57 on Account 3. Our statements show that the other amounts to initiate the program ($93.70 and $699) had been received and applied in "unapplied funds" category of the statement with the date of 1/21/08. We call the customer service who doesn't know we're on the hardship program and so we have to call the hardship department.
The hardship department does not show we are on the hardship program either, and they say not only is the $7.57 not applied to our account, but the $699 and $93.70 has not been applied either (even tho we have statements that show the payments were received). So we read them the letters that tell us we were approved for the hardship program with the date, and how much money we were supposed to send.
We give them receipt numbers (receipts written from the local Beneficial office mind you) and we're told the payments must not have hit the computer yet, and to sit back and wait because they'll send us new statements next month that reflect the hardship program. (they apparently did not believe us that it was printed on the statements they mailed to us previously)
In March we receive only one statement for the larger account, and shows we owe $1,676.10 instead of $699. When we call customer service to find out where the other statements are and why it isn't reflecting the hardship, we're told there was a computer error and the documents didn't print correctly. We're given new due dates for each of our accounts
Account 1) $699.03 due 3/27
Account 2) $93.70 due 3/17
Account 3) $7.57 due 3/7
I know this was mid-March but not sure the exact date we made the phone calls but I remember that both accounts 2 and 3 would already be late since it was beyond the 17th, and we hadn't received statements due to that "computer error". When asked to get something in writing with these due dates and the fact that we called to try and straighten this out, we were asked "Why, don't you trust me?" by the customer service rep, to which I responded absolutely not. We were told it was not possible to receive anything in writing about the amounts that were currently due, their due dates, or that we spoke on the phone that day.
On April 2nd we received a letter saying that we had ignored all Beneficial's previous demands for the outstanding delinquent payments of $1897.76. (This number doesn't even match anything we've received previously as the amount owed, nevermind the fact it doesn't talk about being on the hardship program and by April, we had been in this program for 3 months already).
On April 11th we receive a door hanging envelope that says we must call regarding our HSBC mortgage. When we call, we're told the new amount due for our accounts are:
Account 1) $810 (because it has to include $110 for hazard insurance previously not included in the $699 payment)
Account 2) $193.70 (because we're late on it even tho we were told not to make a payment until we recieved a new statement with our hardship amount reflected on it)
Account 3) $7.57
They applied the checks I mailed to them on April 14th to our accounts
I seem to be missing some paperwork from May which is killing me because I'm not sure what the statements said.
In June, they send me a statement for account 1 asking for $588.20. The note at the bottom tells me the past due insurance premium is $332.53 of that amount. This is $55.41 MORE than the past due hazard insurance that was shown on the March statement, despite the fact that we had made a $110 payment in April towards the hazard insurance. How does it increase after making a payment?
When we call Beneficial today asking why our statement shows we only owe $588.20 when our hardship payment is $810, we're told we have PAID AHEAD on the account. When we say that's not possible, they put us on hold and come back and say we're 4 months BEHIND on payments since we started the hardship program and that 4 payments have been rolled into the deferred interest on the 'end of the loan'.
Between March statement and June's Statement, there is an increase of $865.11 in the deferred interest despite making payments to the account during that time.
Prior to our hardship arrangement, in one day we received 7 envelopes from Beneficial. They pertained to the 3 accounts, and there were at least 2 letters about each of our accounts, and both gave different information. Mailed from the same department, on the same day. One would say we owed X amount and the other would say we owed Y amount, and in reference to the SAME ACCOUNT.
When we called for an explanation they insisted one letter came from one department and the other letter came from another department, despite being signed by the same woman. Regardless of which department the letter comes from, we only have 3 accounts, and whenever Beneficial contacts us about those 3 accounts they should know how much we owe and it shouldn't depend on who we speak to and what color the sky is that day.
Today's phone call I requested a COMPLETE PAYMENT HISTORY from day one through today on all 3 accounts with the company. I was told this could take 24-48 hours. I explained I wanted them to PRINT THE SCREEN of what they view when we call them, and I do not want someone to sit and type out a history because they can make errors and really, could type anything they wanted. I wanted a screen print out of what they view every time we call about our account. Why this requires up to 48 hours to be faxed is beyond me- unless they are going to doctor it up somehow?
My husband and I have had some financial difficulties and we will never deny paying 15 days late or falling behind. That was what prompted us to ask for the hardship program to begin with. But even people who are having trouble and are sending payments deserve to know where their money is going and how it is being applied- and there should not be additional fees and interest and changes made to the account by the company.
I honestly believe this company is adding fees to our account without our knowledge (because it's not clear on the statement where the money is being applied or how the hazard insurance is what it is, or how the deferred interest is growing depsite payments being made, etc). The fact that they won't just send a screen shot of our account tells me there is something to hide.
Climax, New York
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Beneficial aka Household Finance