Tom was in danger of foreclosure and losing his home, so when he was approved for a mortgage modification program by Bank of America, he was relieved. As long as he made his new lower monthly payments on time for three months, he was golden. But one slip of the fingers on his phone’s keypad changed everything, and fast.
The Tampa Bay Tribune tells Tom’s story, wherein he was paying by phone for his loan, and accidentally hit “0” instead of “8.” That meant he paid $615.02 instead of $615.82 on his second trial payment.
Boom! A computer program triggered by the payment difference kicked him out of the program for breaking his modification contract.
As soon as Tom realized what had happened, he called customer service, and a rep told him to send a check for 80 cents. Despite the seeming silliness of it, Tom sent it off right away.
“I want to keep my home,” he told the paper. “And to lose it over 80 cents is crazy.”
The check was cashed, and Tom thought he was in the clear. Until the next month, when Bank of America returned his 80 cents, plus that month’s payment, and sent a letter dooming him.
“Your loan is not eligible for the Fannie Mae modification program because you did not make all the required trial period plan payments by the end of the trial period.”
Foreclosure marched forward and Tom started to get really worried.
There is a happy ending for Tom, however, as Bank of America spokeswoman Jumana Bauwens says he is now back with the lower monthly payments, partly because the problem was caused by the bank’s computer program immediately shutting Tom out of the program. Fannie Mae owns his loan, but they are in charge of servicing it.
“He’s in the process of getting a permanent modification,” Bauwens said. “The paperwork is not finalized, but that 80 cent error is not going to create any additional issues for him.”
And Tom isn’t only — other consumers have gotten into deep water fast because computers see things so cut and dry. Homeowners need to step in and take action when there are glitches on their accounts.
Meanwhile, says the paper, Tom is going to pay by mail.
Typo involving 80 cents nearly cost man his home [Tampa Bay Tribune]