As we discovered during the mortgage crisis, navigating a home loan can be extremely difficult. A Hercules woman discovered just how complicated when she accidentally found an unnecessary monthly charge on her mortgage in 2012. It was finally corrected over a year later.
For most of us, our home is our biggest investment. Most lenders require home owners to have insurance.
In some cases, the lender purchases it and adds it to the cost to your mortgage.
That's what happened to Hercules resident Lessie Barnes.
"They charged me I noticed starting in January of 2012 and I found it in April," Barnes said.
Barnes said no one at her lending company ever told her the insurance had been purchased for her.
In fact, she had already purchased insurance on her own several months earlier.
"In fact I never would have found the charge had I not decided to refinance the loan," Barnes said.
It was during the refinancing process that she discovered paper work indicating an escrow had been opened in her name and money was being withdrawn each month to pay for a $2,088 home insurance premium .
"It was very frustrating. I'm a retired school teacher so you know, what my paycheck looks like, but that's a lot of money to just let go," Barnes said.
She said she had submitted proof of her insurance to her lender, Bank of America, in September 2012 when she received a notice from the bank two months later warning her it did not receive it.
So she submitted proof again and never heard anything back.
When she discovered the escrow account, she marched into her local Bank of America.
"I sat in the bank here in Hercules all day one day to the point where the girl's kept rolling their eyes wondering how can we get rid of her," Barnes said
By the time she discovered the error, Bank of America had already sold the loan to Green Tree.
Bank of America told us by email:
"We apologize to Ms. Barnes for any inconvenience. If she had submitted proof of insurance prior to the loan being transferred, it was not recorded in the system."
A letter from Green Tree received in June of last year promised a refund in 30 to 60 days.
When the refund did not arrive, she called Green Tree every month asking about it.
"In September and October, I did not contact them. I was tired of you know calling, but in November, I decided I am calling Michael Finney because he takes care of business at 7 On Your Side," Barnes said.
Within a week she got a letter from Green Tree promising a refund which arrived a week later.
In an email, Green Tree apologized to Barnes and said:
"This isolated incident involved an unusual set of circumstances peculiar to Ms. Barnes' account and is not reflective of a typical Green Tree customer experience."
"Thank you Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side for getting our refund. We really appreciate it," Barnes said.
We'd like to thank all the parties involved for working to resolve this matter.