In a story that eerily mirrors my battle to overcome lender errors and erroneous credit reporting, Kendra and Todd have not missed a mortgage payment, nor do they have any financial difficulties. And yet their home is on the path to a wrongful foreclosure and their credit rating has been destroyed. They spend their time in an endless round of phone calls and letters in an attempt to prevent their home from being stolen out from under them. They are terrified they will be unable to get their mortgage servicing company, PHH Mortgage, to finally and effectively correct their accounting errors and clean up the credit reporting mess the bank created--before it's too late.
Read Kendra and Todd's story -published below with their permission.
I am a new homeowner as of August 2010. I am not having any kind of financial problems to hinder me from making my monthly mortgage payments. I have been employed by the same company for 8 years and in fact, was just told that I will be receiving a salary increase, small, but an increase never the less. I am married and have 2 children and 2 step-children (4). We live in Little Rock, Arkansas.
During closing, we were told our first payment would be due in August. Our bank sold our mortgage to PHH Mortgage, based in Mt. Laurel, NJ. PHH did not assume the loan and set up our account until sometime near the end of August actually. Our bank has all this documented. All of this was monitored and handled by our bank and loan officer. Once the account was established, our bank sent our first check to them by certified mail. The bank has tracking documents that shows our package was checked into PHH mail room on 9-09 and signed for by one of their employees by the name of LARA.
PHH Mortgage never applied the payment. We receive NO notification and have no idea that anything is amiss, neither does our bank. On 9-17, we make our 2nd (September) mortgage payment. PHH receives it and applies it, however, it is applied to August payment (not Sept). We don't learn this until October when we start receiving notices from PHH that our loan is behind. Immediately, upon receiving the 1st notice, my husband contacts the bank and gets them involved. Our bank representative contacts PHH by phone and faxes them the documentation showing when they sent the check and showing it received, but never applied. She is told that they will review and correct any errors on their end. Several weeks go by and we continue get letters from PHH saying we are in default of our loan. Meantime, on Oct 15, we send our 3rd payment for October, its applied as late payment for September. So on goes this vicious cycle!
Now my husband calls them around the 1st of November and speaks with a customer service representative. Here is where it starts getting scary, because they claim not to have any notes or documents on our account file that had been sent some 3 weeks previous by our bank. My husband gets the documentation from our bank, and this time he faxes it to them himself from his office. He also is told upon them receiving it, they will review and get back to us. NO ONE EVER CALLS and letters continue. Now, for November's payment, my husband calls it into them over the phone. At this point, he was responding to yet another letter and thought it would be best to call in the payment. It is taken, received, and we get a transaction number and have proof on the PHH online website that we called in the transaction. We later find out by reviewing our bank statement that the money is not deducted yet weeks after we made the phone payment. We were even charged a FEE for making the phone payment.
Now, by December, the letters coming now have an attorneys letter head, Sharpiro and Kirsch, and telling us our home is going to be foreclosed on if we don't bring our account up to date. The letter provides a number to call them. We immediately call them and explain how this all stems from a non-applied payment in August and we are NOT in default. We continued to make our monthly payments each month. PHH continues to back apply them to the previous month and show us in default. The attorneys office won't even talk to us. They basically tell us they don't want to hear it and if we have a "legitimate" dispute, we need to contact PHH.
Now in December we continue to call PHH to check on the status of the information we sent in and get generic responses. We make our December payment electronically. This payment was JUST sent back to us on Jan 18th with a letter stating that they will NOT accept anymore payments from us because our account is not up to date and in foreclosure process. With this "note" was NO reference to which payment they were returning or any other information. We actually thought it was our January payment we scheduled to have made from our account. It wasn't even our own check returned! They had apparently processed our check and then sent us a check from their account returning our funds to us.
The scary part is each time we call, we get someone new and there seems to be NO NOTES on our account that this has been disputed for months with calls and faxes, etc. January 10 we get a letter stating we have 30 days to "respond" to the attorneys regarding our loan or they will be foreclosing on our home. ARE YOU KIDDING? The letter reads as if we are a bunch of deadbeats and have continued to ignore their many attempts to reach us by snail mail. Even though we know the attorney has already heard our story, we do contact them AGAIN immediately. I offer to fax them the same documentation, in addition, to send them documentation of every month's payments from our bank statements. They again tell us it won't do any good to send them anything and if we have a "legitimate dispute" to take it up with PHH Mortgage.
At this point, my husband and I are beside ourselves. We have invested countless hours, missed work, to work on this with NO resolution yet. Toward the end of December, we stopped talking to the regular Customer Service reps and immediately ask to speak with a supervisor when we call. We are now on our 3rd "Supervisor" that has promised to review our faxes, that by the way, we had to re-fax to each one of them because its not noted or documented on our account. The supervisor tells us if we have the documentation they will review it and call us back later that day or the following day- they NEVER have called us back. Each time a few days goes by, we are calling back and get a different supervisor. Its liked someone dropped us in the middle of the twighlight zone dealing with this company. Our bank loan officer is also very involved and has been on the phone with PHH many times and as recently as today to with someone in the foreclosure department trying to explain this is a terrible mistake and injustice and PHH is actually at fault. She updated us today that the person she spoke with claims they are "working on it" - but that leaves us NO assurance as this is what we have been told for MONTHS and now our money is being returned to us!
WE ARE TERRIFIED- they are going to try to foreclose and take our home. Its like the left hand has no idea what the right hand his doing over there. We have spent hours and hours the past few days calling attorneys and researching. Several attorneys we talked to said unless we were filing bankruptcy, they couldn't help us.
I don't understand how this can happen. This has also severely impacted my credit. I have printed all 3 credit reports and PHH has reported to all 3 that we have not made payment in the past 4 months and we are $4777 past due. Are you kidding?
I have already filed a complaint with the BBB and FTC. If you google this company, the internet is littered with all kinds of terrible stories about them. The BBB has over 400 complaints on file and they have a C rating. It is despicable that consumers can be treated this way. This has caused us so much stress and it appears to be a long battle in front of us yet. All please pray for us.
Kendra and Todd
Little Rock, Arkansas