Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Big Banks = Big Crooks

Big Banks = Big Crooks

Here I thought the “Days of Banking Rip offs” was over…apparently not.  You wonder if “THEY” will ever learn their lesson…I think not.  Here’s our story…

Home in Palm Harbor

The story starts when we decided to sell this house and move into the condo back in 2013.  The house was paid for, the condo was not…worse yet, the condo was upside down at the time.  We ‘could’ have paid the condo off with the money gained from the sale of the house…but at the time we wondered if we might be better off just turning the condo back to the bank.  However, in 2012/2013 the bank did reduce the principle owed on the condo due to the new federal regulations, so we were not that much upside down…but still upside down.  The condo was, at the time, a business investment for Marcia from way back in 2007 or early 2008.  Of course, we all know about the crash of 2008, hence, the condo was upside down.

Mortgage Debt

Due to the condo being an investment, we needed to live in it for at least two years before it could be considered our home, and not an investment anymore.  So I suggested that we pay above and beyond the normal mortgage payment…and now, in 2017, we are not upside down…or if we are, not by much.  We also decided to continue to live here…it has its advantages for us.  Nice neighbors, well protected, not too bad of a HOA monthly fee.  Hence, we upgraded the floor, and over the next two years, we will upgrade the kitchen, give it some paint, and upgrade the bathroom counter, etc.  We are going to pay for this by…not paying interest any more, which means, paying off the condo.  By setting the same amount of money aside each month as we currently pay in mortgage payments, it will pay for the upgrades…and we will not be tossing a few thousand away in interest payments anymore.

Cold Feet

So I made the call to the bank, a MAJOR BANK, one of the ones listed in the first cartoon image in this blog…ok, Chase Bank, there you go.  Despite having a statement which says, “this is how much your owe on your mortgage, but if you wish to pay it off, call and get a quote”, I do call, and they want a few hundred more dollars for interest than what the 5 day old statement says.  Ok, I get that…they want their interest up to the day you pay it off.  But then she says that it will take a month to get the paper work saying it is paid off, and another 4-6 months before we get the paperwork which can taken to the county to show it is paid off (closing stuff).  So we thanked her for the information, and I digested the information.  I did not like having that important paperwork sitting in our mail because we leave here in mid-April…I did not like the 4-6 months for the more important paperwork just sitting around.  I got cold feet….even though we had transferred enough money from our Money Market account to the Checking account to pay the condo off and pay for the new floor (which ended up costing $1,000 more than we first planned on).  Then, I did the math.  If we paid around 90% of it off, the interest would fall to around $25 per month.  We can continue paying our current accelerated amount, and when we get to California in September, we can get a payoff amount, go to a local Chase Bank and write them a check.  In the meantime, we can put some money back into the money market so it can earn another $10 or so before we decide to use it.

Bank Bill Pay

Of course, we are big time “Bank Bill Pay” people…the only time I write a check out is for the IRS, and for some camping sites, especially National Park, National Forest Service, etc type of sites.  Heck, last year as I was about to put my first IRS check in the mail (I write out each quarterly check ahead of time after I we do our taxes so they are ready to go) I noticed I wrote each check wrong…leaving out the “Tens” area when I wrote out the amount.  (Like, putting $585.00 in the amount, but writing out “Five hundred dollars and no cents”, leaving out the ‘Eighty Five’ part.)   Ok, so now comes the part where the BIG BANK becomes the crook.   I go online with our bank, and change the monthly total to be paid to our Chase Mortgage to the 90% amount of the payoff.  It is rescheduled to go out on Friday, the 17th.

On Friday night I look, and our bank has sent out the money…but with it being such a large amount, they decided to actually send a physical check instead of just a wired check.  The computer says, “The balance will be deducted when cashed.”  Ok, so the waiting game starts.   Monday, still not cashed.  Monday night, still not cashed.  Tuesday, still not cashed.  Tuesday afternoon, still not cashed.  Tuesday night…BINGO, it is cashed.  All the while, I am also going to Chase site to see if it has been credited.  Finally, on Tuesday night, yes, it has been credited…and this is where the THIEVERY takes place.

Payment was due April 1st.  For April, they accept the normal principal payment, they accept the normal interest, and then there is this “FEE” for an amount which equals the principal and the interest.   Then they take a payment for May out of that “fee amount” for a slightly higher principal amount than April and for the a slightly smaller amount of interest than April, as “IF” we made another normal payment for May.  Then, after each of these amounts have been deducted from the total check, the rest is finally posted as a Principal Payment, and that our next payment is not due now until June 1st.  They are STEALING a whole extra month’s of interest from us!  Well, at least they tried to steal it.

Big Banks = Big Crooks

So I call them this morning, and first thing I ask is, “Where are you located?”  The lady says from overseas.  I asked politely if we might be transferred to a person in the states because we needed to talk to someone whom we could clearly understand while we discussed our issue.  She politely said ok, and transferred us to a nice lady in Ohio.  So I explain the situation, and this nice lady immediately gives the “corporate line” of  “when our computer receives a payment which is over…”   So I ‘not so politely’ shoot that line down by saying, “If you look at the history of our account, we have paid more than the required amount for over three years now, and you computer always put the extra towards the principal.”  And if that wasn’t enough, I added, “Let’s just suppose that we had $100,000 in your bank…and we went into the bank today to withdraw that money, but we insisted on being paid interest for April and for May even though we are taking out the money in March…”  A bit of silence, and then an acknowledgement that things were not done correctly (I felt like saying, “Oh, it was done correctly by bank standards, but not ethically correct…” but I held my tongue on that one.)  Twenty five minutes later, it was all straightened out.  And I only insulted Chase (calling them thieves, crooks, taking advantage of the elderly, etc.) a few times.   I did end on a positive note telling the young lady that I know she did not do this, and that she handled the situation very well.  She said, “No sir, we were wrong, it is fixed now…we are sorry.”   Yea, more corporate talk…if you get caught with your hand in the cookie jar, repent.  But as Marcia say, “If you don’t get caught with your hand in the cookie jar, they will take every cookie they can…”  After all, this is not the “FIRST TIME” we caught Chase with their hand in the cookie jar…shortly after we got married Marcia had made a payment towards principal and Chase took that payment, created into three normal payments with the rest going toward principal, putting us three months ahead on our payments.  When they were caught doing that, they assured us that ANY part of a payment in the future which was over the normal payment amount would go toward Principal.  You wonder if “THEY” will ever learn their lesson…I think not.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

20 Gallons Gas for $22.58, am I Dreaming???

1965 Austin Healy Sprite (mine did not look as good as this one)

With this head cold, (yes, we both still have it), it is easy to wonder what is real, and what is a dream.  Like my first car…a 1965 Austin Healy Sprite.  At 16 years old, it was a dream car.  Two seats, convertible…it held 8 gals of gasoline “IF” I filled it up until it started coming out the spout.  Had it for less than a year…rebuilt the engine twice, and if it wasn’t for those duel carburetors, I’d probably still own it today.  What I loved about it, besides the obvious, was that I could fill it up for under $2.  I think the most I paid for gas was $2.25 once, normally I could get by putting in a dollar.  Of course, gas was less than 30 cents a gallon back then.  What a dream!

20 Gallons for $22.58   $1.129 per gallon

Today I put 20 gallons of gas into the motorhome…and it cost $1.129 per gallon.  WOW…it sounds like a dream, but it was reality.  One thing about shopping at Winn Dixie, beside it being just down the street from the condo, is that you get 5 cents off in gas for every $50 you spend.  You can save it up for 2 months.  With 10 days left in this cycle, I decided to put the maximum, 20 gallons, into the motorhome today…at $1 off per gallon.  Sure could have used some of these prices last year on the Alaska Highway…that WOULD have been a dream!

SafeGuard Tire pressure monitoring system

Two years ago we purchased the SafeGuard tire pressure monitoring system.  On our last trip one of the car pressure sensors stopped working on us.  I thought it was a bad battery, even though we replaced all the batteries just last spring.  Talked to the company and they said to send it to them, and they would replace it for free…so I did.  But when I talked to them a week later, the guy said that it was just a bad battery…even though I had put in a “new” Energizer battery.  He put in a new battery and tested it, and sent it back.  I put it on the car and tested it over at the motorhome, and after I re-programed it, everything worked again.  Apparently in trying to get it to work, I had cleared the setting for this one tire…so it had a bad battery, and it needed to be reprogramed.  Sure glad they honored their 2 year warranty, that’s for sure.  We LOVE our tire pressure system.  It gives you a lot of peace of mind as you travel down the road…and it did catch that one dual tire problem last year.

cough

As for our colds…it is like walking up an escalator.  For every three steps you go, you realize you dropped a step in the process.  YUCK!

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