In approximately the end of August 2000, we received notice from the VA telling us that in October 2000 our payments would start for our refunding. They also advised us that Four Seasons Mortgage Company would be our Mortgage Company and provided their address saying that we would soon be receiving a payment booklet from them.
As October 2000 came to a close we had not received either a statement or a payment booklet from Four Seasons Mortgage. I put the October 2000 payment plus $30.00 for a late fee (a guess on my part as wed had no correspondence with this company) and the November 2000 payment in one check and sent it to the address that was provided for me in the letter from the VA. I was assured that the payment was accepted when I received the cancelled check in my statement at the end of November 2000.
In the meantime, I had still not received either a statement or a payment booklet from Four Seasons Mortgage. The end of December 2000 came; still no statement or payment booklet - so I was going to again include the previous month plus late fee and the next month in a check and mail it to them. I could not find the letter that the VA had sent with the address on it. After a few days of searching for the letter, in a panic I sent the aforementioned payment to the VA in hopes that they would have the address for Four Seasons Mortgage and forward it on for me. I also explained in a letter to the VA that accompanied the check that I had not received either a statement or a payment booklet, made the first two payments from the letter they had sent me and that I had subsequently lost that piece of paper.
In approximately the end of January 2001 beginning of February 2001, Theresa Gonzalez from the VA (she is in charge of our refunding) called informing me that she had indeed received the check and letter I had sent and that our loan had been bought by Countrywide in December. She advised me that she was going to send back my payment and gave me the number to Countrywide to find out what to do next. She seemed surprised that I didnt have any idea that my mortgage had been transferred and we chalked it up to a matter of paperwork catching up with us.
I then called Countrywide and talked to one of their customer service representatives. I informed her that my mortgage had been purchased from Four Seasons Mortgage in December 2000 and she asked me if I had received a Welcome Packet from them (Countrywide). I replied that I had not. She proceeded to search her records and no matter what information we used (my husbands name and social security number, our address, my name and social security number, our mailing address, our VA loan number) she could not find any record of our mortgage with them. She even looked in her pending files - nothing. She then advised me that I should just hold on to the payment and they would eventually find us and that we would not be responsible for any late fees that would be incurred since it was them that had made the mistake. She also said that if I hadnt have brought this to their attention they would have had no idea that we even existed and we could have possibly gone for ten years without a mortgage payment. In April we received the final paperwork from the VA regarding our refunding (again specifying the October 2000 first payment date) and my husband and myself signed it and had it notarized. Note that we have still not received a Welcome Packet from Countrywide or any other news regarding our mortgage.
We figured that by mailing off this next batch of paperwork would get us the Welcome Packet - No such luck. It was mailed on May 1st, 2001. On August 15th 2001, we had still not received any information or a Welcome Pack from Countrywide and while I was cleaning, I found our latest refunding paperwork and called Janet Hooi-Wagner as prescribed by the letter if I had any questions. I talked with Janet and explained the situation to which she said she would look into it for me, also providing the customer service number for Countrywide. I proceeded to caldidnuntrywide and spoke with Michelle Falco who again confirmed that our mortgage was not in their system.
During my call to Michelle, I received a call from Patricia from the VA telling me that they had received our notarized paperwork and to talk to Countrywide - I told her that I was on the line with them presently. I returned to talk to Michelle and she said she would see what she could dig up for me and gave me her extension so I could call back. About thirty minutes later, Theresa Gonzalez, the lady in charge of our VA refunding, called advising me that she was going to send Countrywide our paperwork that she had on file. She also asked if we had been saving our payments to which I had to truthfully reply that we had not. She admonished me for this and told me that I would have to work out something with Countrywide - we knew we had a mortgage payment. I figured that it would total around $3080.00 that we were in arears and informed my husband of this when he came home for lunch.
I called Michelle again and I informed her that Theresa Gonzalez was going to send her the paperwork and since we had not saved the mortgage payment we would need to work out a payment plan. At this point my husband asked to speak to Michelle and he asked why we were the ones responsible for messing up this whole account. He was understandably upset and Michelle was very kind and listened patiently to his complaint. I then talked to Michelle and she put me on hold to ask a supervisor about our situation. When she returned to the line she advised me that Countrywide could not charge us any late fees since they lost our paperwork. She continued to say that they are obligated to work out a payment plan with us or there would even be the possibility that the arears could be written off, but cautioned that that would be at Countrywides discretion. She also stated that this would not be reported on our Credit Report, since we had nowhere to send a payment and again Countrywide was at fault for losing the paperwork. She advised me that the process would take approximately two weeks and if I had any questions regarding this to call her at her extension.
I began trying to reach Michelle on the 24th of August, 2001 to see if she had heard anything on our mortgage yet. I received a message telling me she was unavailable and to call back later. I did so once more on the 24th and received the same message. Calls made also on the 27th and the 28th to her received the same message. On August 27th, 2001, Sherrie from collections with Countrywide called. I said I was glad that they had finally received our paperwork and she replied okay but that she was calling to make payment arrangements to clear up our past due payments. I asked her how much that was and she told me forty-four some hundred dollars. I asked her if she was sure and she replied yes, we had not paid our mortgage in ten months. I then asked her if that total included late fees and she said of course it did, we hadnt paid our mortgage. I then recounted the entire story, again, to her and she said that she would have to speak to a supervisor and she would get back to me that day. She did not.
On August 28th, 2001, I received a call from a man from Countrywide at the same time I was getting my kindergartner ready for school. I asked him if he could call me back in ten minutes because my son was soon to be late for school. He replied he could. He never called back.
Later that afternoon I talked with yet another collections person for Countrywide named Carmita. I asked if she was familiar with my situation and she answered that my number was just dialed and that she was supposed to work out a payment plan with me. I was interrupted during that call with yet another call from a Countrywide collections representative. I told her I was already talking with Carmita and returned to the previous call. I explained the situation, yet again, to Carmita and she gave me a different number for customer service.
On August 29th, 2001, I received a call from collections and talked with Kervin. He advised me that we were seriously behind and needed to set up a payment plan. I tried to explain the past due, but he said that it didn't make any difference. We did a financial worksheet and he advised us that we didn't make enough or have enough disposable income to qualify for a repayment. Of course, I was upset and made my husband aware of this. In the course of our conversation, I realized that I had inaccurately told Kervin our income, so called back to correct my mistake. Kervin was busy, so I talked with D'Michelle and gave her the corrected information. Since the call was made close to close of business and she was going to get back in touch with me after the Labor Day weekend.
That afternoon I received the now infamous welcome letter from Countrywide. To show good faith, I sent a money order in the amount of $385.55, with a letter explaining that I knew that this account was seriously delinquent and that I wanted to show our intent to pay our mortgage. On September 6th, I received a statement from Countrywide that showed our next payment as $555.17 due before Sept. 15th. I concluded that since our usual payment was $385.55, that the repayment plan was in place. I got another money order for $169.62, the difference between $555.17 and the $385.55 that I had mailed on the 30th. I also copied both money orders along with the statement and enclosed a note explaining to customer service that these two money orders were to be applied to the $555.17 payment. I was excited because we could afford this payment and was relieved that all of this was finally taken care of.
On or about September 21st, I received a call from another Countrywide collections agent (I forgot to get her name) and to my dismay was told that I had to remit the balance due. I asked about the $555.17 statement that I had remitted and she informed me that that didn't mean anything. I explained that I had talked to D'Michelle and had given her my financial information and had assumed that the statement that I received on September 6th was my repayment plan. She told me that she had no record of that and that I would have to work out a plan with her. I asked her what the payment would be and she asked me what I could afford - I said just let me know the payment. It was nine hundred some odd dollars and that would get me done in six months. I told her that was impossible and she gave me a customer service number to call to work out my repayment plan. I have to admit that I was a little snotty on the phone to her, out of total frustration.
On September 24th I called the customer service number I was given on the 21st and talked to Shantay(sp), telling her I needed to work out a repayment plan. She informed me that we needed to send in $2000.00 to get started. I told her I didn't have that kind of money. I asked her what my other options were and she asked me if I could get the money from friends or family. I told her no, I didn't think so. I asked her about the $555.17 statement and she told me that $385.55 was applied to the loan, but the $169.62 hadn't been applied to anything, since it was a partial payment. I told her I was confused and she sympathized with me and asked if I wanted to get this taken care of. I told her that I needed to try and raise $2000.00 and I would get back to her later today. I tried to get the money for the repayment plan and was unsuccessful.
I called back and Shantay(sp) was with another customer, so I talked with Lanise. I relayed this whole sad story to her and she asked me to e-mail it to her. She thought the vice president (no one specifically, name or dept.) should take a look at my story. The next day, I received a call from Lenise stating that the vice president had read my story and the best they could do for me was for us to pay $2000.00 to clear up the arrearage. I asked if there could possibly be a way to put the arrearage on the back end of the loan and was informed that since the V.A. had just recently refunded us, they could not. I asked if it were possible for me to keep making regular payments and put the house on the market she wasnt sure.
We proceeded to put a for sale by owner sign on our house. October came and I received a phone call from the Foreclosure Department informing us that our house was now in pre-forclosure. I told them that wed been trying to sell the house and we were going to make our payment, but she (I didnt get her name) said it was out of her hands. In October wed run short of money and I remembered that we had that partial payment still sitting there. I dashed off a money order for $234.00: approximately the difference between the payment amount, the partial payment plus a late fee and mailed it November 2. I also included a letter asking them to apply both amounts to our October mortgage.
Im not sure of the exact date, but in November, I received the money order Id written them and a letter explaining that it wasnt enough to reinstate the loan. I also didnt receive a statement for that month and concluded that it wouldnt matter if I sent them money, they would return it because it wasnt the reinstatement amount. We took down our sign and began contemplating bankruptcy. We didnt hear from Countrywide again until April 10, 2002. We received and signed for 3 identical cerified letters and three more in our regular box from CTC Real Estate Services, giving us 30 days to submit the balance due, dispute the charges or have our home put up for auction.
We contacted Attorney William Potter and our Chapter 13 bankruptcy was filed on May 28, 2002. Once the papers were filed, we began receiving statements again and paying them. After one month, the payments decreased to what we are paying now, $381.55. We also started our Trustee payments in the amount of $135.73. We were very excited; this was affordable and exactly the relief we needed. On August 1, 2002 and addendum to Countrywides claim was filed, increasing our payment to $350.00 per month and asking for the difference between the new payment and the old payment be paid within sixty days. I cried. We couldnt afford this new payment and the new arrearage, but because I had received my grant money for college we made one $350.00 payment in September 2002.
I had to choose in October do I pay my mortgage or my trustee payment? I chose the mortgage. This continued until January 2003, when we received notice from the court that we were in arrears and needed to pay $1828.54, or submit a modified Chapter 13 plan, or have the case dismissed. I called our lawyer and asked if we could use our tax return to bring us current. I also advised him that I had continued to pay our mortgage during this time. I honetly didnt realize that our entire tax return would have to be sent to the Trustee to put on the plan and had no way of raising the arrearage.
About this time was our first contact with Aames Home Loan representative Alex Thomas. I sent him the details of our problems with Countrywide and assured him that we had been making regular payments during the bankruptcy. He told us that it would be much easier for us to get our loan if we didnt have the bankruptcy on our credit record. We decided that since we pre-qualified, wed refinance with money out and have the bankruptcy dismissed. The bankruptcy was dismissed on May 28th, 2003. I was still sending in my mortgage payments while we waited for the dismissal. I began hearing from my other creditors almost immediately.
I received a call from Alex Thomas on or around July 2nd, 2003, asking me if we were current with our mortgage. I informed him that we had indeed been paying our mortgage on time for the last year. He then informed me that it was on our credit that we were not current with our mortgage and we would more than likely be declined. He assured me that once it was cleared up, wed have to wait six months to a year before we could reapply. I was devastated.
Once again, I had to initiate contact with Countrywide on July 7, 2003. I talked with Michelle in the bankruptcy division briefly, then she put Kassidy Walker on the line to speak with me. I wanted to see what we could work out regarding repaying the arrearage, but couldnt because the bankruptcy code was still on our account. She told me that she would take the code off because she saw that they received notification of our dismissal. I was to call customer service the next morning and ask for the workout department, because when the code came off, our loan would go to the foreclosure review board. She also gave me her extension in case I had any problems.
On the morning of July 8, 2003, I called customer service and talked with JD. He asked for my loan number, I gave it to him and he informed me it was still in bankruptcy. I thanked him for his time and called Kassidy, leaving a message for her on her voicemail to call me back. That afternoon she called me back, saying shed just gotten to taking the code off and all was clear to talk with the workout department. I thanked her as well for her time and consideration.
I called customer service again and was finally routed to the workout department where I talked with Demetria. I asked if I could have her last name and was told that she wasnt supposed to give me that information. I told her that this account has had quite a history and told her how the mortgage was lost and how we would like to be able to take the previous offer of $2000.00, which would clear us up. She said that wasnt possible, so I asked her what was. We discussed the arrearage amount, which was $6,887.90, but with the other fees involved it was approximately $7,459.36 to reinstate the loan. She said that most of last year was past due. I informed her that I had mailed in my payments regularly and she said the money I sent was applied to the arrearage, explaining that the payment I sent in April was actually applied to February 2002.
I was very upset and asked her why I didnt know about this. She explained that since our loan was in bankruptcy, they couldnt have any contact with us. I had no idea those payments would be applied as they were. She also told me that they used to give one courtesy call once the bankruptcy was filed to discuss how to make payments while in bankruptcy, but they stopped that because people would use those calls against them in court. I then asked who I should talk to about this and she said she had no idea who could help me. She even added that she was almost afraid to even become involved.
I told her that Id sent this story to Lenice Thierry and we both decided that I should talk with her. Demetria began to look up her in the directory and after several minutes she informed me that she wasnt in the directory, so she probably didnt work there anymore. I asked her to tell me how a repayment plan would work. She advised that since the reinstatement figure was around $7,500 they would add $2,500 more in fees and then break that up into six monthly payments in addition to my regular mortgage. But, if I could come up with at least half, they could extend the payments for a year. I was discouraged, to say the least. I then asked her what a short sale was and she gave me Jennifers number in that department to contact. She also told me that my reinstatement calculation would be in my e-mail (as Id requested) in 24 48 hrs. I thanked her and then called Jennifer who is sending me the information packet regarding a short sale. I received the reinstatement calculation on July 10, 2003 and am still waiting for the short-sale package in the mail.
To say the least, this has been an incredibly trying time for our family and it never seems to get any better. I was always taught that honesty was the best policy, but in dealing with Countrywide Home Loans, I have learned that all that will generate is indifference and the loss of your property. Ive found the more that I deal with this company, the more I find ignorance, and ineptitude. We havent got a sale date yet, and we are fighting this foreclosure with every ounce of energy we have.
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