Monday, August 6, 2012

Glad I paid attention

Last month, we opted to switch a Parent Plus loan to a different lender for a slightly better interest rate. It required virtually nothing on our part in the way of applications, fees etc., so it seemed like a no-brainer. The original lender was paid in full by the new lender on July 9. On July 10, our regularly scheduled payment of $368 was debited from our account by the original lender. Uh, huh?

I let it go for a couple weeks, thinking the account would be reconciled and the overpayment either shifted to the new lender or returned to us. No such luck.

Last week, I braved the lengthy options menu with a phone call. After being on hold for close to a half hour, I finally reached a live person. I explained the situation and asked what had happened to that $368. If it was applied to the loan, fine. If not, where was it? Her immediate reply was "you are not due a refund." OK. So what happened to the money? She stumbles over her answers a couple times and I finally tell her that I would like a detailed statement so I could see exactly where the payment was applied. She allowed as how she would send it for a review.

Not even 24 hours later, I got an automated email saying a refund check had been issued. It came today, and I immediately used it for the next payment on that loan.

But it got me thinking. What if I hadn't noticed? What if I hadn't asked? It's clear there was no intention to return that money. And in my world, $368 is not pocket change.

The moral of the story is check and recheck the numbers. And if you don't understand, insist that a clear explanation is provided. I don't think the money was intentionally withheld from us. I just think that most times, there's no one there who cares. And that's where I come in. Because, I most certainly do care!

Sarah

6 comments:

  1. Yup you always have to be on top of things. I bet poor bookkeeping mistakes like that on the part of the businesses are more common than we think. Good for you for catching it!

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  2. I know most of this is just computer over sight, but it pays to be diligent, good got you, that is no small amount of money.

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  3. Thank goodness you are on the ball!! That is a substantial amount to be just floating around in cyber space!!

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  4. That is scary, especially since CS was so quick to say you were not due a refund! I would've been really ticked off, but glad you were on top of your game. $300+ is NOT pocket change!

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  5. Good point! That happened to our first house payment. We sent the payment to the mortgage company only to find out the mortgage had been sold to another bank before the payment was cashed. It got credited to the right account but I was on the phone with both banks until all was reconciled because as you said, hundreds of dollars isnt pocket change and you cant always rely on computerized systems to figure these things out.

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  6. I think this happens more than anyone realizes, just to be honest. I work in a dr's office and in the last year my job has shifted and I've ended up working in the billing department with insurance claims. The bookkeeping in this office in years past has been less than thorough. I can't tell you how many times I've called insurance companies regarding claims that are several years old and ask for information on the payments and I'm told..."I do see your claim in our system, but it was never completely processed." In reality, they're saying "you sent in a claim, but we never sent you the payment." When I ask for an explanation, there is none. How this office managed to stay in business with this is beyond me. Anyways, thanks for the reminder that we really do need to keep an eye on every single penny!

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