This will come as a serious blow to a number of our commenters, but we have a bad story about a credit union. Gasp, shock, horror, it’s true. Opportunities Credit Union of Vermont, where reader Rick has his mortgage, told Rick that they wouldn’t be paying for his home inspection because they never got the bill. However, Rick’s inspector’s online billing system shows when people look at the bills he sends. It shows that Opportunities Credit Union accessed the bill. Whoopsies. Here’s Rick’s letter to the Credit Union president, asking them to pay the $125 for the home inspection:
Opportunities Credit Union
92 North Avenue
Dear Ms. Stewart,
I am writing to make you aware of an incident regarding my mortgage with your organization [address redacted]. Let me first say that this is my first mortgage, and after falling in love with our new property, it seemed very unlikely that we would be able to get a mortgage at all – the mobile home in question had been rejected by several traditional mortgage agencies, and Opportunities Credit Union was there for us when we needed you. We’re very grateful for this, yet feel that we received poor service recently regarding a mandated home inspection.
Prior to applying for our mortgage, we had an excellent local inspector, Mr. Jim Breer of Better Home Inspections in Barre, conduct an inspection of the home. Based on this inspection and an appraisal, Erika Glidden sent a list of repairs to complete. After the repairs, the appraiser and inspector would return to verify the repairs. I’m sure this is all common practice, but as this is our first home, we asked Erika to explain it all in detail. One of the details discussed was payment for the post-repair appraisal and inspection. Erika was clear with us that these bills would be submitted to Opportunities, and that the credit union would pay them. I verified this again in mid-June, prior to scheduling the follow-up inspection with Mr. Breer. When I contacted Mr. Breer, I informed him that he should get a list of required repairs directly from Ms. Glidden, and that he should verify with her that Opportunities would be paying his fee. We were very clear about this, and he had no trouble getting the list for his inspection from OPPSVT.
On June 26, 2008, Jim Breer complete his inspection, and on June 27th, he submitted his report electronically to myself and to Natalie Aiuto at Opportunities, as instructed by Erika Glidden. The invoice for his services was attached to the report (as with the appraisal, which was paid without issue).
Mr. Breer’s electronic report system assigns a specific username and password to each recipient, and allows him to track access to his reports. He reports that Ms. Aiuto viewed the report on July 1st. On July 3rd, Ms. Glidden contacted me via email to report that she “still had not received” the inspection report, and that Mr. Breer “never sent… a copy…” At this point (also on 7/3/08), I provided Ms. Glidden with my user name and password to access the report – both copies included invoices. After finishing two small repairs, on 7/28/08, Ms. Glidden emailed to let me know that everything was “all set.”
Nearly a month later, on 8/19/08, Ms. Glidden forwarded me a copy of an email from Jim Breer, complaining that he had not yet been paid his $125 fee, and threatening a lien on the property. Included in the forwarded email was the following:
From: Natalie Aiuto
Sent: Tuesday, August 19, 2008 8:43 AM
To: ‘Erika Glidden’
Subject: FW: Past due balance
Erika, on 8/5 I sent you an e-mail that you replied to on 8/11, asking if the home inspector’s bill for $125 for Young was paid, and you replied that the file was “all set.”
Please see Jim Breer’s e-mail to Rick Young, cc’ing me…
Ms. Glidden explained to me that “escrow had been closed out,” and that the bill was now my responsibility. In this same 8/19/08 email, she explained that she “never received a bill,” and therefore bore no responsibility. The bill was attached to the report, which she had viewed.
When I was able to get the report tracking data from Mr. Breer, and provide it to Ms. Glidden, she protested that, “the only part of the report that was looked at was parts that pertained to repairs on the home.” There was no such confusion with the appraiser’s report, which I have a copy of and which is laid out very similarly – and even so, failure to notice a bill does not mean that it needn’t be paid. Further, in the body of the 8/19 email, it is made clear in the email between Ms. Aiuto and Ms. Glidden that Opportunities was aware of the fee, and acknowledged responsibility for payment prior to the release of escrow funds.
Ms. Stewart, I recognize that $125 isn’t a lot of money, but your organization made a commitment to me, and to Mr. Breer that you would compensate him for his services. The consequences of Ms. Glidden’s failure to follow through and the fact that she provided false information to Ms. Aiuto shouldn’t fall on your customer. To resolve this issue, I would appreciate it if Opportunities would pay Mr. Breer the $125 that he is owed. The ball was dropped here, and responsibility lies with OPPSVT. If needed, I will gladly provide copies of all emails and records that I have access to.
I look forward to your reply and a resolution to my problem, and will wait one week before seeking help from a consumer protection agency or the Better Business Bureau. Please contact me vie this email address, or at xxx-xxx-xxxx [redacted]
Maybe they accessed it and just didn’t look at the right parts, but how is that Rick’s fault? The crux isn’t Ms. Glidden’s or Aiuto’s reading and comprehension skills, it’s whether they got the bill. By their own admission, they did….so what’s the problem?