Landlord Auto-Deducting My Life Away

Mike is broker than a joke.

He was getting his rent auto-deducted from his bank account, but he suspended it for this month. Or so he thought. He had been planning on sending in his check tomorrow, he has until the 6th to pay, but the landlord went ahead and took his rent out of his nearly empty bank account.

His landlord claims to never have received the papers requesting the auto-deduct to be halted. Now Mike is in the hole for the rent, plus overdraft fees and other fees. He’s trying to get his landlord to see their error, but it doesn’t seem to rate high on their priority list, so Mike came to us for some advice.

Will Mike see the true light of responsible consumerism and personal finance? Or will he fall to the dark succor of a payday loan? Read the transcript inside and find out…

(Photo: ireallylovecake)

mike hey sorry to bug you. I am have a issue with my apartment
mike I thought maybe you had a idea
benpopken: sure, shoot
mike ok so I have been living in my apartment for 10 months
mike I have used checking deduction to pay for rent reach month
benpopken: alrighty
mike this month I was going to pay with different funds so i went into my office last Monday asking to stop ERD (auto checking withdrawal). 2 woman helped me and gave me a form to fill out. I signed it and they confirmed I only wanted to stop the auto take out for March’s rent payment (this one) and start again in April I said yes. They said I was all done and it was taken care of
mike I open my checking account and the rent still was sent for auto withdrawal from my apartment. So now I am -$480.00 $200-$300 of witch is overdraft fees
mike I called my bank and they said if the apartment says it was a error I will get the fees back and the CSR recommend I start a dispute claim, “in case you don’t work it out with the apartment firm”. So i started that and they are mailing me that paperwork
mike I have talked with my apartment co. At Home Apartments is Saint Paul, MN and they kept putting me off, one woman said “how do we know you even filled out the form” since they said they lost it
mike I then talked with a nice woman who said :we will work it out” but I need to wait to speak with the property manager
mike who I was told call me today, but apparently they had a emergency so I will get a call tuesday
mike so that is my story
mike oh and if I did not just get a $100 check that i will take to a check cash place I have no $$ to live on
benpopken: This woman was with the apartment complex?
benpopken: righ yes, she was
mike the Assistant Property Manager
mike but i just left the office and now she seems more unsure
benpopken: Would it be safe to say you’re living paycheck to paycheck?
mike yes, soon that will change (after my lease is up in 2 months) and move back w/ my parents to save $800 a month
mike so I can get some $$ saved and my little bit of debt paid
benpopken: Good idea
mike although I live paycheck to paycheck I keep my checking/savings account in the +
benpopken: Lesson #1: If you have zero savings, don’t give people access to your bank account to auto-deduct
mike and I only have “savings”
mike of $10.00
benpopken: #2: Save at least 10% of your income so rainy days like this don’t hit you as hard
benpopken: Dispensing with that, do you have copies of the documents you signed at the bank?
mike the dispute forms?
mike they are being mailed I am a member of Vista! Credit Union
mike located in FL 7 CA
mike FL & CA
benpopken: ok
mike and I live in MN
mike but I can’t drop Disney’s FCU! they are cool
benpopken: I would ask them to be faxed
benpopken: And you probably need to hassle the nice lady and get yourself to talking with the actual decision maker man
mike how long shop I give the apartment before I dispute, i know with rent there are allot more legal issues
benpopken: In the meantime, perhaps ask your parents or friends for a short term loan of a few hundred bucks to get you by
mike I am willing to pay the rent just not my huge massing fees
benpopken: This is what you do
benpopken: call them tomorrow and say you need a response by end of business day tomorrow
benpopken: otherwise you will start to make trouble through the credit union
benpopken: “otherwise I will have no choice but to resolve this through the credit union”
benpopken: “You may not believe me, but their documents will show that I’m correct”
benpopken: That will probably involve additional hassle and potentially fees for the apartment complex so I think that’s something they would want to avoid
mike ok, if I do follow with the dispute what are the chances of it being accepted
mike I have never disputed anything
mike but I hope the complex will go “above & beyond”
benpopken: Well since you’re correct, a very high chance
benpopken: You don’t really need them to go above and beyond, you just need your money back
benpopken: you don’t need mints on your pillow
benpopken: Actually though
benpopken: you have two paths to follow up on
mike oh?
benpopken: The question is whether the apartment complex got the stop request and chose to ignore it
benpopken: or whether the bank failed to properly notify the apartment complex
mike the stop request was done on the apartment side
mike for the withdrawal
mike I have done this one time before and it worked fine
mike and the complex’s account claims she never got it
mike although I filled it out in their office
benpopken: ah ok
mike since my bank said all I would do in change accounts or contact them to stop a certain month or even all together
mike anyway I just wonder how it got lost in the same office
benpopken: Well with those documents getting mailed to you and your persistence, you should be able to get squared away.
mike cool thanks I hope it works out, since daily I am getting more and more fees by my guess with what with post tue I will have over $600 of overdraft fees! Maybe I should start carrying cash and not using my card for small transactions.
mike debit card*
benpopken: If you’re unable to keep track, it might not be a bad idea
benpopken: I know it can be hard if you don’t have a lot of cash in the kitty
mike I just hate cash, I stay in the black but I spend cash faster thats all
mike well in the black except now
benpopken: It stinks, cause you mess up once and they fine you, and then they fine you for fining you
mike true but at least the Credit Union CSR said they will reverse the fees if the apartment calls and deals with it,
mike well thanks for the tips
mike great site BTW
benpopken: That I don’t understand
mike what?
benpopken: fee-reversal isn’t supposed to be contingent on the merchant calling in and saying “we messed up”
benpopken: as far as I understand, the banking institution is supposed to call the merchant and it’s up to the merchant to provide proof
benpopken: and failing that, the fees are supposed to be reversed
mike oh, umm so lets say complex calls and says “we messed up” but the Credit Union won’t reverse fees (worse case) is it fair to expect complex to pay for them?
benpopken: that wouldn’t happen
benpopken: if the complex says they messed up, the credit union would definitely reverse the fees
mike ok cool
benpopken: it’s not like the bank is losing any money, they’re just shuffling it around
mike true and its not like the rent would not be paid, I am willing to pay the rent just not the fees
payday laon should I pick a CFSA member
benpopken: uh you don’t need a payday loan
benpopken: swallow your pride and ask your friends and family first
mike😦 ok you’re right
mike right*
mike thanks for being honest it is
benpopken: they’ll help you out
benpopken: it wasn’t your fault
benpopken: the monopoly card read “bank error not in your favor”
benpopken: So when did they deduct the rent?
mike: today
benpopken: When had you been planning to send in the rent?
mike: we have until the 6th to pay
mike: so tomorrow
benpopken: You were planning on cashing a check tomorrow?
mike: yep
mike: I get paid
mike: but now that check won’t even put me in the black
mike: after all of the fees
benpopken: bummer
mike: yar
benpopken: Why did you ask for the auto-deduct to be taken off for this month?
mike: because I wanted to pay with another fund and I knew that I would not have the money until right at the 6th
mike: and auto-deduct comes out usually on the 3rd
mike: but that was a sat so in this case the 5th
mike: so should i cancel the auto take out after this is all done for good?
benpopken: That’s probably advisable
benpopken: will give you more control over your finances
mike: true BTW do most banks let you go this much in the hole?
mike: why did my bank just decline?
benpopken: from their perspective, they did you a favor
benpopken: they covered the fund request for you
benpopken: now, if you bounced several checks, they would just return the check as NSF (non sufficient funds)
benpopken: in this way, they saved you from the shame of the merchant knowing you didn’t have enough money
mike: ahh but then I would be in the +
mike: it is good for a small thing but this is crazy if at the end of the week goes by I think I figured I will have $1200 in fees asone
mike: I dough t that will happen
mike: from what you told me
mike: but it’s scary
benpopken: If you’re really worried about that, like I said, get a loan from your parents
benpopken: stop the overdraft fees from accumulating any further
mike: yep yep I will get that done
mike: to put a stop to them
benpopken: There is another school of thought that says banks let you overdraft and then charge you lots of fees because they can make a lot of money from doing so
benpopken: Though that would be a bit surprising coming from a credit union which is supposed to care about its members more than a traditional bank
benpopken: then again, you’re banking with the Disney Credit Union
mike: I remember the credit union orientation (YES we had one) and yes Walt Disney World’s FCU
mike: the branch manager pleading with us not to overdraft
mike: it was well, odd
benpopken: That’s because, as you’re seeing, overdrafts are teh suxorz
mike: now one last question: would this maybe have my membership at the FCU being pulled?
mike: I have heard of that happening to people who overdraft a lot
benpopken: Unlikely
benpopken: They would only do that if you bounce checks on a chronic basis
benpopken: and before they yank your membership, they would downgrade it
benpopken: take away your debit card and checking, forcing you to conduct all deposits and withdrawals at the bank in person, etc