7 On Your Side

Mortgage late fee problem

Friday, July 08, 2011

It's a beautiful refurbished brownstone in the middle of a picturesque street in West Harlem.

"(This was the dream for you?) It was a dream," said Suzy Baptiste, brownstone owner.

She was longtime renter, but now Suzy Baptiste owns the five bedroom brownstone and shoulders a massive mortgage.

She says she has to watch every penny she spends.

In December of 2009, the public school teacher and mother heeded President Obama's pledge to help homeowners and applied for a mortgage modification through her lender, Bank of America.

The great news, her interest rate would was halved.

"From 6.375% to 3%" Baptiste said.

Her monthly mortgage would go down from $3,400 a month down to $2,500, a savings of $900.

The modification should have started in February 2010.

So, Suzy started paying the lower amount.

The problem was, Bank of America didn't make the change until three months later in May.

She racked up hundreds of dollars in late fees.

Month after month, Suzy says she tried to correct Bank of America's mistake.

"Oh that's been a nightmare situation. Frustration," Baptiste said.

She contacted 7 On Your Side and we asked the mortgage lender to examine the documents put through over a year ago.

7 On Your Side was able to speak to Bank of America, and they said they were going to dismiss Suzy's late fees?

Her late fee and penalties were scrubbed from her record, and finally the account for her beloved Brownstone shows the correct monthly payment.

"It was quite a relief, finally this problem is solved. It's been on my shoulder for quite a long time. I thank 7 On Your Side, I mean 7 On My Side," Baptiste said.

Bank of America said the mistaken late fees were old ones from three and four years ago.

Ms. Baptiste disagrees saying the fees hit just last year.

Regardless, the bank agreed to dismiss all penalties, nearly $700 for this customer anyway.

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bank of america, 7 on your side, nina pineda
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