• Report: #80462

Complaint Review: Countrywide Bank - Countrywide Home Loans

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  • Submitted: Sat, February 14, 2004
  • Updated: Wed, March 03, 2004

  • Reported By:Naples Florida
Countrywide Bank - Countrywide Home Loans
400 Countrywide Way SV-36 Simi Valley, California U.S.A.

Countrywide Home Loans - Countrywide Bank ripoff underhanded scheme to get $75 annual maintenance fee from customers Simi Valley California

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: $75 annual fee

*UPDATE Employee: Missing information regarding the 75.00 fee

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I have a line of credit loan with country wide bank on my home. I noticed a $75.00 annual maintenance fee on my Feb. '04 statement. When I inquired about it, I was told I signed a contract stating I would pay this fee if they received even one late payment a year from me.
I said that my payment is due the 15th of every month, but I receive their statement usually only 3-4 days before the 15th, and that it doesn't give me enough time to turn around and mail it back to them by the due date. I then asked if they could mail out the statement to me earlier, and was told no because they have to wait until the first business day of every month to calculate the interest on my loan.

I was told that this month, the first business day was Mon., Feb. 2. I asked when the bill was mailed out to me and was told Thurs., Feb. 5. However, I did not receive the bill until Wed., Feb. 11. I receive mail from all over the country, including Hawaii, and never has any mail taken 7 days to get to me, so I doubt that the mailing date was the 5th. I pointed out that even by mailing my payment out on the 12th, it probably wouldn't reach them by the 15, which happened to fall on a Sunday, anyway. I asked if my due date could be changed, but was told, no.

I then stated that the company's billing and mailing practices made it impossible for customers to make that 15th of the month deadline, so they had it set up that they would always get that $75.00 maintenance fee. This was denied, of course. I was told that they can't help mail delays, and that I had 10 grace period days in which to make my payment. I asked how many times had my payment ever been outside of that grace period, and was told never. I then asked what good did the grace period do me since I was immediately tied to the $75 fee whenever they received a payment after the 15th, which they ensure with their billing practices.

I asked for the maintenance fee to be removed since they unfairly control when billing coupons are received, but was told they would not remove it because they had received payments after the 15th some months.
I told them I do not conduct business with crooks, and so I am refinancing with another company, and warning others to avoid Country Wide Bank loans.

Annette
Naples, Florida
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/14/2004 02:48 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Countrywide-Bank-Countrywide-Home-Loans/Simi-Valley-California-93065/Countrywide-Home-Loans-Countrywide-Bank-ripoff-underhanded-scheme-to-get-75-annual-main-80462. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 UPDATE EX-employee responds

$75 annual fee

AUTHOR: Chris - (U.S.A.)

I am a former employee of Countrywide Home Loans (CHL) and although I dispise CHL for many reasons, including: I was terminated for using my earned sick time/ vacation time while my family "dealt/adjusted" to learning my husband has cancer...

("a falsification of records" is the reason I was given. In two years of employement, I missed 4 days!! I took them as 3 vacation days and one sick day.. AND to top it off, My team leader had approved the time off!!)

Anyway, I can not help but feel for you in your frustration. Especially since the information you have been given is all incorrect!Talk about falsification!

The type of loan you have is called a HELOC. As a line of credit, the terms are somewhat comparable to those of a credit card. Therefore, an annual fee of $75. Just the same as a $45 dollar yearly member fee at Costco... absolutely nothing to do with what day your payment is received.

My suggestion is you review your loan papers very carefully. Many times, the person you are speaking to is not qualified to answer questions regarding your loan type. You may not have signed anything at all agreeing to this fee. They are trained to in ALL departments to always refer back to the loan papers... because many people do trust their mortgage company and don't spend the time to fully read the documents so, when a question is brought up, the homeowner is 90% of the time referred back to the loan papers.The homeowner ends the call to read the papers later, if at all ( most automatically believe something really is there). The rep moves to the next call ... it makes for great stats in regards to call times in the call center. (the less time spent on each call, the more calls that can be taken... Chl is all numbers)

If nothing is found in writing, most definitely escalate as far as necessary. (IF you papers do show this fee, there is nothing that can be done by CHL).

As for changing the payment date,there are so many payment plans that are available to homeowners, and generally, if your payment is consistently recieved on or after the due date,this automatically qualify's you for such payment arrangements. Call up and try to get somewhere by simply requesting to be set up on an "ACH Pay plan" these payments will autodraft for you every month. But, beware, do keep an eye on all drafts.. yea, they can still mess even that up too... (I know b/c it was my job to correct those errors.)

Just remember this tip that all Homeowner's dealing with this company should know: Not getting what you know you are intitled to? Mention this to any Customer service rep : "Office of the President"(OOP) or "Angelo Mozillo"... TRUST ME, the mere mention of this department scares the pants off of them...
Also, include this on any correspondence (EXCEPT PAYMENTS). All of these are automatically sent to the Office of the President and should it not be something OOP can handle right away, it will be sent to it's respective department as a rush/escalated issue... and really in a company worried only about numbers and not quality service, this is the only way for you to get the service you deserve. It's just a pity you must do most the work for them.... but the talk around Countrywide is ,and I kid you not, "Let the homeowner refinance, CHL is so large, 75% of loans end up being sold or bought by us regardless of who they go with!"
and that ladies and gentlemen, is the words of a Manager.
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#2 UPDATE Employee

Missing information regarding the 75.00 fee

AUTHOR: Eric - (U.S.A.)

What the upset consumer failed to mention was that this annual fee is charged to all Home Equity Credit Line customers but if the borrower agrees to maintain a minimum balance for the first year and make all payments by the due date for the first 12 months, it will be waived for the life of the loan. This was disclosed at closing and clearly printed on the contract. There are many other ways to make your payment besides simply waiting for a statement. Countrywide offers a free service to make payments on the web and there are others. Perhaps it would have been a sacrfice to pay this way for 12 months but Countrywide would have waived the annual 75.00 fee for the next 24 years of the loan in return.
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