Washington Mutual / Unethical practices and buying out mortgages
I bought my house in 1999. I setup automatic payments well in excess of the required payments thru my online payment system at my local bank. In 2002 Washington Mutual bought out the loan, but my automatic payments kept getting cashed. In December 2005 WaMu decided to change the delivery address of the payments, even though they were being made electronically, they rejected payment and tried once to charge late fees. I called, complained and got it fixed. This July 12, 2007 my mortgage payment was once again rejected by WaMu, 4 days before the deadline. My bank tried to call WaMu and correct the error but WaMu has a policy of not talking to a "3rd party" . Clearly a ploy to avoid fixing the error in time to clear the payment. Both my bank and WaMu chose to send snail mail, neither calling nor e-mailing to notify me of the "mistake". WaMu claimed in writing, that I just plain did not pay this month. My bank claims, on paper, "the payment was refused by the payee" and "Payee would not speak to a third party" despite the whole system insisting on a phone number, mailing address, and account number to set it up. WaMu changed the account number by 2 digits, knew that was why the rejected it, and proceeded to make sure there was no way to correct for the problem in time! Clearly intentional negligence on their part. I talked to one Rebecca K. (she refused to give her last name, when I complained and she insisted that they were in the right, and the $36.11 late fee could not be waived because of "policy". Further she had the gall to insist I pay NOW, the evening their letter arrived, and only pay an extra $15 for telephone payment! Clearly policies designed to allow unethical practices skirting the law, and upping profit margins. These little dirty tricks, it seems have thru fine print and legal lobbying been made less than illegal. But I contend clearly remain unethical, especially for a company whose CEO and Chairman of the board, Kerry K. Killinger , was quoted only last April in Fortune as saying with regard to ethics ' I try to do the right thing and use the test of "Am I comfortable with having my mother read this in tomorrow's newspaper?" ' Hmnnn, this is not the Seatle Times, nor the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (I found two addresses for him) but it could be, and mom could be reading of it in the morning.
WaMu's instance of this scam aside, unethical practices in banking and credit cards seems to have become the standard or higher profits rather than the rope that hangs them. I've had similar issues thru assorted credit cards and the banks that bought out credit card accounts in the past. Generally I report them to BBB or States Attorney General in their base state then close the account and never do business with them again. My mortgage is clearly a bigger task, since I am forced to refinance and have no guarantee they won't simply buy out the mortgage again as they keep "expanding".
Wider than just my bank, I think my congressman, and yours, and everyones need to hear a few words about ethics and the lending industry from everyone with a mortgage, home loan, or a credit card. I found this site useful in locating and contacting my representatives: http://www.senate.gov/ just pick your state and detail address out and follow links until you find a means of contact that works for you.
It is also useful to find the state of incorporation for your problem bank, and either contact the Better Business Bureau in that state and/or the State Attorney General with your complaints. You'll find you are only one of many with similar issues. Companies that pull such trickery, seem to do it by policy not by mistake.
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