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!