On June 10, 2009 our home was seriously damaged by a severe storm. The total claim amount received by State Farm was $38,000. We received the funds from State Farm, immediately sent the endorsed check to CitiMortgage as instructed since the check is made out to both us and our lender. I called CitiMortgage as soon as we received the check to follow their process. I went to their www.mylossdraft.com site as instructed by a recording to complete the necessary paperwork. The one page website was vague and lacking in clear information, but I printed the necessary forms, completed them, and called for further clarification. After finally reaching a person, I was given the web address again. I explained twice that I had the mental acuity to get that far but would like personal assistance and clarification. They provided none. I faxed the forms into the ether (no confirmation of receipt provided). I followed up later that day and was told it takes 48 hours to get a fax. This is where the stonewalling tactics began to become apparent. I asked about the process again, hoping another rep might help. She did give more information than the site (accidentally, I assume) and told me with multiple contractors to pay, I should complete the self-contracting form instead of the waiver of lien form. That form includes the following statement: "I (We) will be self contracting repairs to the property, and will provide paid receipts for material and/or sub-contractors used in completion of those repairs." 1. I had no choice but to complete this form since I had multiple contractors. 2. I said I would obligingly provide receipts upon receipt of the funds from CitiMortgage since I cannot pay $38K out of pocket. 3. I HAD to agree to this to get ANY of the funds from CitiMortgage. The rep said that was all understandable and fine.
A week later, I had their required inspector out to confirm repairs. He confirmed and they acknowledged that 95% of the repairs had been completed. This step I understand as they have an obligation to ensure their collateral is at least worth the value of the loan. So this is completed, and according to their website, the remainder of funds will be released. That's not happening.
After more than six more phone calls, they are insisting they need receipts from me showing I have paid the contractors. What? That's what the money is for, to pay the contractors. I even asked the automaton on the other end of the line if he (different unempowered call center employee every time) had $38000 lying around and if so, he can pay them, send me the receipts, and I promise I'd pay him back. Not surprisingly, he didn't get it. They are obviously trained to stonewall in order to hold on to the money as long as possible.
Finally, I called the mortgage customer service department and after 3 tries, got a manager. She was seemingly helpful, but I was mistaken. I told her in no uncertain terms that I would cash out investments to pay off the loan and they could give up the possible hundreds of thousands of interest, or she could make a call to get my funds released. She made the call, got back on the line and GUARANTEED my money would arrive by July 16th. I got all the info, including her extension (if it's real) and a case number and said thank you. An hour later, I got a call from the insurance department demanding receipts again and explaining no funds would be released until they had them. I had the same, maddening circular argument to no avail. Since we had FINALLY received a third of the funds, I sent her a receipt from a contractor (this after sending two receipts prior - money paid out of our own pockets) showing that exact amount paid. She made all kinds of huff and puff about having to escalate for approval - again, obvious stonewalling - and I said I could care less. I said, "We have done more than is required by your documents and incomplete instructions and varying stories from different employees there. Your document does not in any way legally bind me to pay contractors and provide receipts BEFORE you send me MY money. It does not state a contingency for release of my funds to me. It does not state a specific percentage or number of receipts (by the fourth call, they were saying 100% and/or 50% of the amount of the repairs according to whom I spoke with. Blatant lies spoken as absolute truth without any supporting documentation.). I do not owe you anything based on your own documentation other than two paid receipts, and even then, I don't owe them to you before you send me the funds. You do owe me my money. Your inspector already confirmed the repairs are complete and your concern in this is alleviated. You have no right to continue to hold my money to earn interest and to bolster your reserves, which is obviously what you are doing. Have I made myself perfectly clear?" She said, "yes" and that the funds would be released upon receipt of the fax (again, 48 hours with no follow-up). That's the third time someone has "guaranteed" that and I have no reason to believe them. In the meantime, I have contractors who deserve their money.
What recourse is there? It is obvious that their arrogance makes them feel entitled here as illogical as it seems. It's a scam, plain and simple. It is obvious to any thinking person they are holding homeowners' insurance funds for their own use. It is blatant thievery. What miniscule power do consumers have in such an oligarchy?
Flower Mound, Texas
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Citibank