Bank charges woman two payments for one house

June 23, 2010 7:28:50 PM PDT
It's tough enough these days for many families to make their mortgage payments. Imagine making two payments on the same house.

That's what happened to an Oakland woman whose bank made a costly mistake. Fortunately, 7 On Your Side's Michael Finney stepped in to help.

Linda Sue Jenkins is disabled and on a fixed income. The mistake left her checking account overdrawn and the overdraft fees began piling up. She has lived at her Oakland home for the entire 59 years of her life.

She said she made her mortgage payment to Bank of America by phone, but Bank of America had no record of a payment.

"I kept calling them back every day. On hold, being transferred from one department to another and they never got it. And, finally they said, 'We got it,'" Jenkins recalled.

Bank of America debited her house payment as requested from her checking account at Wells Fargo. Everything was fine until she learned her account at Wells was overdrawn.

"They said, 'You don't have any $17, not only that, you're overdrawn by $762 that came out of your account the other day.' A second mortgage payment, but I made only one," she said.

Bank of America promised to investigate, but days went by and her account remained overdrawn.

"I called them back again. Put on hold. I just love that music you know," she said.

More days went by. Wells Fargo hit her with a $37 overdraft fee. That's a lot of money for a woman living off of her monthly social security check. You see, Jenkins is legally blind in both eyes and lives with multiple sclerosis.

Then, there were more fees.

"It was $5 a day for every day I was overdrawn," she said. "So, those $5 charges started click, click, click, adding up."

That's when a friend told her this was a case for 7 On Your Side.

"I always watch Channel 7 News and watch the 7 On Your Side and see who's Michael Finney helping today. And then I called to ask for help for myself. I never thought I'd be in that position, but I was," Jenkins said.

We called Bank of America and it agreed to refund Jenkins her overdraft fees. It also credited the extra mortgage payment for the following month. A spokeswoman for Bank of America says Bank of America apologizes for the mistakes. All funds have been credited to Ms. Jenkins' account and any overdraft fees have been refunded.

"So, I got my money back. I was happy," she said.

Wells Fargo also chipped in, rescinding the $5 a day penalty it has assessed.


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