Talking to a mortgage company, especially one as big as mine, is always a trip down the rabbit hole. I didn’t get my mortgage from this company, of course. But the paper was sold and resold and so I wound up with one of the most problematic of lenders in the country.

Admittedly, they haven’t yet forgotten to pay my insurance bill, although last year they paid the bill to a company I hadn’t signed with, without my permission. It took me months to get my money back from the wrong company, it raised my mortgage payment since my lender decided in their wisdom that I was the owner of two homeowner’s insurance policies, but at least my insurance was paid.

Unlike the previous mortgage company. They simply didn’t pay for my insurance, and didn’t bother to let me know that because, well, your guess is as good as mine. I found out when I received a notice that I didn’t have insurance and they were charging me for their own policy at much higher rates. Given how hard it is to find homeowner’s insurance in Florida, this proved to be a journey full of heartburn and rage.

Regardless, with my new mortgage company, I was last year being charged for two policies, only one of which was real. I got it sorted out eventually, got my escrow reduced back to something less than astronomical. All was good.

Until tax time rolled around last fall. I noted that my taxes hadn’t been paid out of escrow, so I called to ask about it. “Well, you didn’t authorize it.”

What? What? It says right there at the top of my statement, both the paper one and the one online that they are responsible for paying my taxes and I should not pay them myself. Very clear and simple English. And what, may I ask, is the point of you collecting escrow for taxes if you’re not going to pay them without my permission? Believe it or not, they asked me the amount and then paid it. Only then.

Well, I am now a downy duck. My distrust for these banks and their practices is so elevated that I don’t even take their e-mail for it when they say they have received my monthly payment. No I go online, make sure I’ve been properly credited, and then print out all of the transactions for the last 18 months. Not that I would ever imagine they would screw anything up.

So we come to this year’s taxes. I called, because, well, last year they needed my “authorization” to pay. Lo and behold I am told:

Mortgage Company – “We didn’t get your tax bill.”

Huh? I am speechless, but only briefly.

Me – “What do you mean? How could you not get it? I got mine two weeks ago.”

They insisted they hadn’t received it.

Me – “And just what am I to do about that?”

Mortgage Company – “Go pay your taxes yourself.”

Really. Really?

Me – “You have the money in escrow. You pay it.”

Mortgage Company – “Can’t do that without a tax bill. And if we have to request another bill, you will be charged $5.00. Would you like to fill out a customer satisfaction survey?”

Ahem.

So next I call my tax collector. I can hear the disbelief in the lady’s voice.

Tax Collector – “Of course they have it. We send them electronically for every house they hold the mortgage on. We sent them all on October 31.”

Me – “Well, they say they don’t have it.”

Tax Collector – “They’re crazy. Of course they have it. We bill them for millions every year, and it all goes out on one electronic bill.”

Me – “They told me to come pay my taxes myself.”

Tax Collector – “Yeah, right. They have the money, they have the obligation to pay. Don’t you listen to them. I’m going to have my supervisor call them about this, and you just keep an eye on your account and make sure they pay. But really, I’m sure you don’t have to worry. They’re not going to fail to pay for thousands of householders unless they want some serious trouble from us.”

I won’t name the mortgage company. I also won’t tell you what the tax collector said about them, because I don’t want her to get any trouble for sharing her opinion of them. Nuff said.

.

Reader Comments Welcome.