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.