Chase unresponsive to their property tax mistake
COLUMBUS, OHIO -- I have a ten-year home mortgage that was refinanced with Chase in 2003. I pay my own property taxes and insurance (i. e., no escrow account).
March 18, 2010--Chase sent a letter accusing me of being delinquent on my property taxes and threatening to pay them for me and set up an escrow account for all future payments.
My taxing authority allows for semi-annual payments, due Nov 30 and June 30 each year. I had paid in November; June was not yet due. After calling my tax authority (who did NOT report me as delinquent), I called Chase and learned that I need only send copies of my receipts to clear this up.
March 23, 2010--Certified letter to Chase with a copy of the receipt for November payment, and explanation that my taxing authority allows installment payments. Next payment due in June. Requested they respond that this was sufficient documentation to resolve the problem.
May 19, 2010--Chase writes to tell me that they still consider me to be delinquent, that they paid my "delinquent" taxes for me and have established an escrow account.
May 21, 2010--I received the May 19 letter, too late to make any phone calls.
May 24, 2010--Began making telephone calls to Chase and my taxing authority. In the process, I learned that Chase's third party tax agent, First American, had made a mistake in pulling "delinquent" accounts, and forgot to exclude people who were on installment payments. This had impacted about 200 people in my county alone. Chase was aware of the problem, but they did not communicate it to the low-level "customer service" representatives, nor to their supervisors.
After many calls, transfers and a lot of on-hold time, I learned that because they didn't have a letter from my taxing authority SAYING that I could pay in installments, they still considered my account delinquent.
May 27, 2010--I faxed and sent certified mail the requested documentation, with a request that the escrow account be "unestablished" as it was inappropriately enacted. I requested a response.
June 3, 2010--Chase sent a letter notifying me that they had received a past-due bill from my tax authority (not true) for the property taxes and had sent a check and established an escrow account.
June 4, 2010--I received the June 3 letter and called Chase again. After much run around (customer service can't help, you need to talk to the Tax Dept. Tax Dept. can't help, you need to talk to Escrow Dept. Escrow Dept. can't help, you need to talk to Tax Dept. All while being on hold in between with really annoying repetitive "music."), I finally got to speak to a supervisor who seemed to understand what happened and opened a "work order" for me. Supposedly, the only thing that needed to happen was for my tax authority to return Chase's check back and everything will be resolved. If I had any more questions, I should be able to get assistance by just referring to the work order number.
My tax authority meanwhile was collecting a number of Chase's checks, which they were not cashing and planned to return, but they could not get anyone at Chase to tell them where to send them.
June 7, 2010--I paid my remaining balance on the property tax and faxed a copy of the receipt to Chase. I also sent a copy by certified mail.
June 10, 2010--I received yet another "nasty-gram" from Chase about how much I would be required to pay on July 1 as a result of my being delinquent in paying my taxes. I called Chase again, with the work order number. Short story--it did no good. Customer service routed me to Tax who routed me to Escrow. The fellow in Escrow was very condescending and patronizing, saying I MUST have done something wrong, or this would have been resolved. He also tried to route me back to Tax Dept. I requested to speak to a supervisor; he sent me back to Customer Service, where I stayed on hold for about half an hour before their service department closed. I heard "We're sorry, but our offices are now closed...." and I was disconnected.
June 11, 2010--I obtained a letter from my tax office to Chase explaining that I had not been delinquent, that I was on an installment payment plan, and that they were returning Chase's check. I faxed this document to Chase and also sent it certified mail.
To summarize, this problem should never have happened, especially after I sent in documentation showing Chase was wrong. I had to force them to acknowledge having the documentation when I told them I had the certified mail receipts and the fax confirmations. Even though they were looking at the proof, they said nothing could be done until they got their money back.
It is my position that it was Chase's mistake sending the check in the first place, and that it is between them and the tax office. I shouldn't have to correct--or pay for--their mistake, nor do I have any leverage at the tax office to force them to send the checks back. (The tax office told me they will be returning the checks early next week, but it may take up to 30 days for Chase to acknowledge having them. My next mortgage payment, with the escrow assessment tacked on, is due before that.)
Proposed resolution: reverse the establishment of the escrow account and revert my monthly payments back to what they have always been. A letter of apology would be nice, too.
As soon as I get this cleared up, I will research paying off the loan and getting Chase out of my life. I just pray there are no more screw-ups before then. (And there is a whole other story about their harassment regarding how much insurance I carry on this property.)
Thank you for reading this lengthy rant. I hope it helps others.