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Countrywide Home Loans / fradulent billing

1 Kansas, MO, United States Review updated:

I have been with Countrywide for several years with no complaints, until this month when I received my billing statement. It stated my escrow amount was going to increase $25 per month due to increases in taxes and insurance. No problem. Then I noticed the actual payment was increasing almost $70 per month and I couldn't figure out why. After going over and over the paperwork, I realized they were tacking on an additional "reserve requirement" of over $40 to each payment. Looking at the projections of charges for the next year it was only showing the $25 to my escrow and no explaination of how the the remainder was being used. I called Countrywide and the CSR explained to me that the "reserve" was an "insurance policy/cushion" for any unexpected increases in taxes and insurance. When I questioned why I would be charged this amount when I was already being charged an additional $25 for those increases, she had no comment. I asked how the $40 was going to be applied and she told me it was not being applied to anything...they were just going to take my money and hold it in an account! I told her that I would pay the $25 but that I refused to pay the $40 and she needed to forward me to someone that had the authority to remove the charge. She said that wasn't a problem and if I would "hold" she would have the amount taken off my bill. That really raised a red flag to me. If this was a legitimate charge, they would not be so willing to remove it. Within a few minutes, she had the charge removed and my payment would only include the $25 increase. Even though the problem was rectified, I have to wonder if they are doing this to everyone, and how many people wouldn't question it. This charge is not being used for anything other than to draw interest for Countrywide and I can't believe it is a legal practice.

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Comments

  • Tb
      6th of May, 2008
    0 Votes

    Your story is EXACTLY like mine this past month. Must be across the board for those of us who financed through Countrywide. I called them today and explained that I had never paid this before and I know that it is "allowed" but not a "requirement". So without any hassle the CSR took it off my bill. Helps me out. Now my 40 bucks a month can cushion my savings account and not some ailing business's. No way could I do the already 30+ increase with the extra 40 on top of that! It sure was a shocker to see that new payment amount.

    Glad we could get it taken off. Hope others do the same!

  • Sh
      7th of May, 2008
    0 Votes

    Wow - I am having the same problem - I called them yesterday and was forwarded to some voicemail and have been waiting for a call back to inquire what the heck this reserve requirement was. I can't afford another $60/mo tacked on and just sitting there for their own personal cushion! That's a tank of gas for me. Ridiculous.

  • Mo
      13th of Jun, 2008
    0 Votes

    I've recently had a similar experience with Countrywide Mortgage. Things going along smoothly and then out of the blue, they increased my monthly mortgage payments by five hundred dollars, claiming that it was essentially to build up my escrow account. Unfortunately, they claimed that the increase was based on actual tax rates that had been assessed for 2008 by the County Tax Assessor's Office, but when I called the tax assessor, they stated in no uncertain terms that they had not even set the rates for 2008 and that Countrywide and Wells Fargo had been using this line with lots of customers. Countrywide also stated that they would adjust the erroneous fees while I was on the telephone with them, which they claim they did, but then they decided to keep the fees after all because they claimed they needed to pay back sanitation charges on my account. To the tune of nearly nine hundred dollars? That's some serious sanitation service! I have reported Countrywide to the State Attorney General's Office in California and Georgia. I advise others to do the same. That's the only way these predatory lenders are going to stop ripping people off.

  • Sa
      7th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    I discovered this same exact problem today. Ridiculous. I sent an email to Consumerist to investigate and will definitely be calling and complaining and working to get this removed.

  • Sa
      7th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    I just called and they removed this without question. They are absolutely hoping that people don't notice and know that they have no way to force this extra payment. If I could get rid of Countrywide without expensive refinancing, I would in a second!!!

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