Homeowners across the country, including eastern Suffolk County, came to a shock this morning to learn that their mortgage company had withdrawn multiple payments from their checking accounts overnight.
Payments to a Texas-based mortgage company named Mr. Cooper left checking accounts overdrawn and people unexpectedly without access to their money.
Consumers whose mortgages are serviced by Nationstar Mortgage’s Mr. Cooper, a DBA, took to Twitter and Facebook to complain and get responses from the service company. They all had similar complaints: They had been informed by their bank of large overdrafts this morning after several overnight mortgage payments to Mr. Cooper that were neither due nor approved had been withdrawn. They were all Chase Bank customers.
Calls to Mr. Cooper’s customer service line were not answered, and Chase customer service and branch staff were unable to explain what had happened.
A local woman who asked to remain anonymous said when she went to her branch shortly after it opened, she was told that numerous other customers had called or complained. Many were hectic.
“They charged my account for five mortgage payments – five – that were over $ 10,000. When I checked my email on my cell phone this morning, I thought I was seeing things. I had no money and was overdrawn by several thousand dollars, ”she said.
She said she didn’t set up automatic payments for her mortgage or even make her payments online.
Her Chase branch manager in Shirley said the bank couldn’t do anything about it until Monday. The bank could not reverse the charges as they were still “pending,” it was told.
“I was charged 6 unauthorized mortgage payments and over $ 7,000 overdraft fees from @Chase! IT IS NOT AUTOPAY !!!! It’s called stealing and that’s a bloody criminal, ”tweeted Sean Fierst from Colorado.
“Amen my friend,” replied Twitter user Misthios87. “My sh * t is not paid for automatically either. I don’t have the money to buy groceries. None of us do. Wtf @Chase ????? How do you allow that to happen? “
By noon today, there have been dozens of similar complaints on social media.
At around 12:30 pm EDT, Mr. Cooper posted on his own social media accounts, “We are aware that some customers are having payment problems today. We understand how important this is for those affected and are working with the banks involved to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. ”
That statement sparked another round of angry comments from people outraged by the company’s description of what had happened as “customers … with payment problems”.
Neither Mr. Cooper nor Chase could be reached for comment today.
Michael Agruss, a Consumer rights attorney In Chicago, unauthorized prints as reported today are potential violations of federal and state consumer protection laws. The federal law on electronic money transfer prohibits unauthorized withdrawals, he said. It provides for statutory damages of up to $ 1,000 plus actual damage.
“Every state in the country has an Unfair, Misleading or Abusive Acts and Practices Act (UDAAP),” said Agruss.
An unauthorized withdrawal that depletes a consumer’s accounts can create a situation that “can easily get out of hand” and negatively impact their credit, he said.
Even if the money is returned to the consumer’s accounts on Monday, “there is still recourse,” said Agruss.
“Consumers have rights,” he said.
Anyone to whom this has happened should file complaints with their bank and Mr. Cooper, Agruss said. “It’s important to file a written complaint after a phone call – and keep a copy. I cannot emphasize this enough, ”he said. “You want to have proof in case an overdue payment appears on your credit report in the future.”
Agruss said everyone should monitor their credit reports, especially after something like this happens.
“Make sure it doesn’t affect your credit report,” he said. He noted that at annualcreditreport.com, consumers can get free credit reports from all three credit bureaus.
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