I Just Bought a House!

Totally unrelated photo...  Go Blackhawks!The headline is true — Thursday has come and gone and I’ve just purchased a house…from myself.

Yep, it was just a refinance but after signing my name 40 or 50 times I’ve now officially cut my monthly minimum payment by 60%.

That’s HUGE!

(For the record, I still won’t believe this actually happened until I get a new mortgage bill in the mail…in August, apparently…)

So, anyway, among all of the stuff I had to sign, there was this one sheet that listed all of the fees to be paid to Bank of America (my now former lender) to “release” the loan.

One of the “fees” was for mortgage insurance. It was for $170.30. That works out to exactly two months worth of PMI.

How messed up is that?

It was nearly two years ago that I’d paid my mortgage balance down to the point where PMI should have been cancelled automatically.

It never happened. Countrywide — at the time — wouldn’t let it happen.

I sucked it up and continued to pay $85.15 per month for insurance that I didn’t need *and* couldn’t cancel no matter how hard I tried even after they transitioned to become part of Bank of America.

The refinance was my way out — and it appears to have worked.

But they still got the last shot in with this phantom fee…

I can only shake my head…

Posted on June 10th, 2010 at 8:30 pm by Brainy Smurf
Finance, PMI - Mortgage Insurance | 6 Comments »

My PMI Battle: Re-Ignited

Uncle SamSo I started doing my taxes this week and, while going through the motions, I stumbled across something that drove me bonkers last year.

I’m in shock that I didn’t blog about it then. Perhaps I did, but I couldn’t find any mention of it…

And, honestly, I wasn’t going to blog about it this year either until reader Doug Hill posted a comment on one of my better entries regarding my PMI battle with Countrywide — the one I eventually gave up on.

See, last year there was a “new” deduction that homeowners could take. You could deduct your PMI!

How about that?

I was pretty pumped — until TurboTax told me that I didn’t qualify for the deduction.

It didn’t indicate why, so I just assumed that it was because I was too awesome, um, that it was because my income was too high. You know, something positive.

But this year, the same thing happened and I made a lot less. For a minute or so, I got all excited when it allowed me to enter that I’d paid $1021.80 for PMI in 2008, you know, thinking that I’d get most of it back from Uncle Sam.

No dice. I don’t qualify. Still.

So, modified slightly, here’s what Doug Hill said to get me all fired up:

Only those that took out a loan after 1-1-07 can deduct the cost of PMI through 12-31-10.

I took my loan out in August 2005…

Look up P.L. 110-142. Newest version of section 3 (b) doesn’t say anything about when you took out a loan; but IRS Code Section 163 Section H (iii) says the loan must be after 1-1-07.

Now we have two classes of homeowners who pay PMI — Deductible and Non-Deductible.

He’s right.

Like Doug, I’m getting hosed because I bought my house before the market started to falter. As MoneyMateKate so eloquently stated in another post, “No good fiscally responsible deed goes unpunished these days. Grrr.

Grr is right.

Once again, it feels like I’m getting the shaft for making a wise move and paying my mortgage bill on time and in full for all of these years… while the people who are walking away from their mortgages because they bit off more than they could chew could potentially be “bailed” out…by the taxes I’m paying.

Posted on February 5th, 2009 at 8:48 pm by Brainy Smurf
Finance, PMI - Mortgage Insurance, Rants, Taxes | 5 Comments »

Closing the Book on the PMI Fight

I Give Up!So, after all of this time of avoiding the subject entirely, I suppose it’s time to wrap up this whole PMI topic.

In last month’s net worth update, I briefly hinted at the fact that I was throwing in the towel for now…

I cast out one last line earlier this month to Countrywide when they completed my annual escrow analysis for my attached escrow account (which, in part, pays the PMI premium each month) and was greeted with the same response I’ve been receiving since July.

“Send us a check for $130, take a day off from work, and maybe we’ll drop it, but probably not. The current market conditions aren’t favorable, you know…”

So, for the time being, and likely the entire year of 2009, I’m just going to swallow my pride and continue to be ripped off because I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a battle I can’t win — there are just too many loopholes and specific conditions available in the law for them to fall back on to justify taking this money from me.

Yep, I’ve met all of the commonly mentioned benchmarks; the 22% equity being the most often referenced as a mark resulting in automatic termination.

But there are little sneaky things in there like termination, automatic or not, never happening until reaching the mid-point of the original amortization schedule.

Yeah — like 9 years from now…

In my instance, that’s another $9200 in PMI payments.

And, even then, there are ways for Countrywide to continue to hit me up for an extra monthly fee.

Aggravating is the only word I can think of to describe it.

Seems my only hope is to re-finance and, right now, I’m not ready to make a move like that.

I’m not really sure why I say that, it could just be laziness — it probably is, but for whatever reason, I’m just not comfortable making that move right now…

You know, with “market conditions” being what they are…         ;0)

Posted on October 27th, 2008 at 9:08 pm by Brainy
Mistakes, PMI - Mortgage Insurance | 8 Comments »

Interesting Government Visitor to Pants in a Can

United States House of RepresentativesSo I was looking at my Google Analytics reports early this morning and noticed a new network location listed under the “Visitors” tab.

It’s labeled “Information Systems – U.S. House of Representatives”.


Now I’m sure some out there think I’m going to say something about how I’m horrified that some government employee is wasting our tax dollars surfing websites like Pants in a Can on the clock, you know, using government time and equipment for, well, less than official things but I’m not going there…

Government waste, oddly enough, doesn’t bother me too much.

Looking into it further, their landing page on the site was my post from July 15 titled, “FTC Bait? My Own Mortgage Crisis…

That had me thinking, hey, cool, maybe the whole PMI/Countrywide dilemma I find myself in is getting a little attention in Washington! Sweet! This could be a good thing…

But then I went another step further and looked up the search terms they used to stumble across my site…

definition of mortgage insurance, ftc


I dunno, maybe it’s just me, but you think they’d have access internally to, um, more official sources of reference…

But I can’t say that I’m not flattered that they clicked through to my site.

And I also feel the need to say that I’m thrilled that someone in Washington DC is looking this type of thing up.

Though the media would have you think otherwise of late, mortgage company disputes don’t begin and end with foreclosures…

I’m not looking for a bailout; I just don’t want to be ripped off (any more)…

Posted on September 24th, 2008 at 8:35 pm by Brainy Smurf
Blogging?, PMI - Mortgage Insurance | No Comments »

Chasing my Tail: Countrywide’s (Late) Response

Chasing my tail…What is this, like the tenth time I’ve posted about Countrywide’s terrible customer service?

Sorry, here I go again…

So, tonight, moments ago actually, they responded to my inquiry from September 10th.

Back then, I asked two questions:

1. Does Countrywide acknowledge the Homeowners Protection Act in regards to the automatic cancellation of PMI?

2. At what point will the PMI on my account be automatically cancelled? I’d like a specific date please.

They responded tonight:

Posted 09/22/2008

Reply : Dear Brainy Smurf:

Once again, thank you for your recent Internet inquiry addressed to Customer Service.

Our initial research shows that we can best resolve this inquiry for you by speaking to you in person. To ensure that we fully resolve your concern, we ask that you contact the PMI Department directly at (800) 669-9092.

Thank you for communicating with us electronically; we appreciate the opportunity to be of assistance.

Brilliant! Almost word-for-word, the same response I received last month.

Remember what happened the last time they asked me to speak with them in person?

Yeah, they had no idea why I was calling even though I had a direct line and a name to speak to. Hmph!

They truly have me going in circles.

I’m really tempted to send them a 2-letter response.


Posted on September 22nd, 2008 at 10:20 pm by Brainy Smurf
PMI - Mortgage Insurance, Rants | 2 Comments »

Cancelling PMI with Countrywide: It’s like a Broken Record… A Broken Freakin’ Record…

Broken Countrywide RecordI think I’ve made a breakthrough when it comes to dealing with Countrywide’s Customer Service Department!!!

If you want to be acknowledged, you *need* to ask twice. Yes, twice.

That said, they still probably won’t answer your question.

It’s kinda funny, in an infuriating sort of way, because they actually responded to my original inquiry from August 30 — but only after I sent it a second time, well, yesterday.

To me, that means that they were just sitting on it hoping my problem would just go away.

What’s up with that? Last time I checked, that’s not customer service.

To recap quickly (there’s a lot of back story to this whole saga that you can find here, if you’re interested), here’s what I submitted:

Hello, I’ve called customer service twice and spoken to three people this week, all of which have been unable to answer my questions:

1. Does Countrywide acknowledge the Homeowners Protection Act in regards to the automatic cancellation of PMI?

2. At what point will the PMI on my account be automatically cancelled? I’d like a specific date please.

Please answer these two questions for me.

Pretty simple, right? Two questions.

Just looking for a yes or no and a date. That’s it.

I’m not asking “why” or anything that requires a long drawn out response.

This is how they responded:

Dear Brainy Smurf

Thank you for your recent Internet inquiry addressed to the Customer Service Department.

Please be advised that on August 27, 2008. A request to have the PMI requirements reviewed was submitted to our Mortgage Insurance Deletion Department. Once the research is completed a letter will be mailed to you advising of the outcome. This may take up to ten business days.

Thank you for communicating with us electronically; we appreciate the opportunity to be of assistance.

No way! Are you kidding me?

They’re going to send me another one of those letters that I’ve already got 4, maybe 5, copies of already. I’m thrilled. I mean, that’s exactly what I asked for, right? A letter. A letter asking me to send them $130.

No, wait a minute… That isn’t what I asked for…

A letter asking me to send Countrywide $130 doesn’t answer either of my questions.

In fact, it doesn’t relate to the automatic cancellation of PMI or the Homeowners Protection Act at all.

So basically, 5 letters, 10 back-and-forth customer service submissions, and a few phone calls later, I’m pretty much in the same place that I was back on July 15.

That is, of course, if you omit the fact that I’ve been robbed of $85.15 for the past 3 months too…

Thanks Countrywide, you know, for giving me the runaround for the past 60 days…

Posted on September 11th, 2008 at 8:01 pm by Brainy Smurf
PMI - Mortgage Insurance | 2 Comments »

Countrywide Non-Responders

Countrywide has terrible customer service…A couple of months ago when I submitted an online customer service inquiry to Countrywide, it went without response until I submitted the request a second time.

Seems history repeats itself.

It’s been 10 days since my last submission. They claim on the website that it may take 1-2 days to respond.

Obviously, they’re late.

With that, I’ve just submitted my last inquiry again:

Hello, I’ve called customer service twice and spoken to three people this past week, all of which have been unable to answer my questions:

1. Does Countrywide acknowledge the Homeowners Protection Act in regards to the automatic cancellation of PMI?

2. At what point will the PMI on my account be automatically cancelled? I’d like a specific date please.

Please answer these two questions for me.

Now to sit and wait some more…

Posted on September 10th, 2008 at 5:53 am by Brainy Smurf
PMI - Mortgage Insurance | 3 Comments »

Homeowners Protection Act of 1998

It’s not a Bill anymore…  It’s a law!Butch, a reader who has been following my PMI removal problems while going through the same routine himself, emailed me on Wednesday evening with a link to the full text of the Homeowners Protection Act.

He wished to highlight the very last part of Section 2 which defines “termination date”:

(16) TERMINATION DATE.–The term “termination date”
(A) with respect to a fixed rate mortgage, the date on which the principal balance of the mortgage, based solely on the initial amortization schedule for that mortgage, and irrespective of the outstanding balance for that mortgage on that date, is first scheduled to reach 78 percent of the original value of the property securing the loan; and

(B) with respect to an adjustable rate mortgage, the date on which the principal balance of the mortgage, based solely on amortization schedules for that mortgage, and irrespective of the outstanding balance for that mortgage on that date, is first scheduled to reach 78 percent of the original value of the property securing the loan.

In Butch’s words, it’s “as though the FTC website is missing a crucial tidbit.”

You know what?

He’s right.

The FTC’s “Alert” curiously omits any reference to paragraph 16A or 16B of Section 2.

They simply state:

If you put less than 20 percent down on a home mortgage, lenders often require you to have Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). PMI protects the lender if you default on the loan. The Homeowners Protection Act of 1998 – which became effective in 1999 – establishes rules for automatic termination and borrower cancellation of PMI on home mortgages. These protections apply to certain home mortgages signed on or after July 29, 1999 for the purchase, initial construction, or refinance of a single-family home. These protections do not apply to government-insured FHA or VA loans or to loans with lender-paid PMI.

For home mortgages signed on or after July 29, 1999, your PMI must – with certain exceptions – be terminated automatically when you reach 22 percent equity in your home based on the original property value, if your mortgage payments are current. Your PMI also can be canceled, when you request – with certain exceptions – when you reach 20 percent equity in your home based on the original property value, if your mortgage payments are current.

One exception is if your loan is “high-risk.” Another is if you have not been current on your payments within the year prior to the time for termination or cancellation. A third is if you have other liens on your property. For these loans, your PMI may continue. Ask your lender or mortgage servicer (a company that collects your payments) for more information about these requirements.

This “crucial tidbit” must have fallen under their “certain exceptions” or something… In my opinion, it shouldn’t have.

Anyway, I was aware of this section of the law. Before I even called Countrywide, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing anything.

Hard to believe, but I did actually read all 15 pages — though much of it does not apply to my situation.

I was even prepared for Countrywide to respond with something very similar, half expecting them to, but they didn’t.

That’s why I, again, resorted to Jedi mind tricks with my last online request.

Okay, maybe I didn’t use any Jedi mind tricks, but I definitely opened the door for them.

At what point will the PMI on my account be automatically cancelled? I’d like a specific date please.

I mean, could I have given them a better set-up?

Still no response.

But if they do come back and plainly say, “July of 2010″ or something, I’ll put this issue to rest.

I won’t be happy but at least I’ll know where they got their answer.

As of right now, they don’t have an answer at all…

(And it also makes you wonder how so many people got their PMI dropped just by using the appreciation of their home rather than the size of their mortgage payments. There are all kinds of articles out there on the net from 2006 or so about that. If PMI isn’t supposed to drop until the amortization schedule says it is, well, what’s up with that?)

Posted on September 5th, 2008 at 5:29 am by Brainy Smurf
PMI - Mortgage Insurance | 15 Comments »

Back to Getting it in Writing

Confusion and FrustrationBack at it. On Sunday evening, I submitted another online inquiry to Countrywide:

Hello, I’ve called customer service twice and spoken to three people this past week, all of which have been unable to answer my questions:

1. Does Countrywide acknowledge the Homeowners Protection Act in regards to the automatic cancellation of PMI.

2. At what point will the PMI on my account be automatically cancelled. I’d like a specific date please.

Please answer these two questions for me.

Not holding my breath on the response to this one.

By the way, thanks for all of the emails of encouragement over the past couple of weeks!

Posted on September 2nd, 2008 at 7:26 am by Brainy Smurf
PMI - Mortgage Insurance | No Comments »

Tales of PMI Cancellation: Slept On It

Countrywide Home Loans
The more I think about my conversation with, well, I never caught her name, but the more I think about the entire discussion yesterday, the more I wish I’d at least gotten a solid answer to well, anything.

Does Countrywide acknowledge the existence of Homeowners Protection Act?

From what I can tell, no.

Does a scenario exist where PMI is automatically terminated?

Again, it doesn’t appear so.

Had yesterday’s conversation gone differently, even with the same negative result, I think I’d still consider myself a satisfied customer.

Unhappy, but satisfied.

I mean, had she said something along the lines of, “Yes, Mr. Smurf, you have indeed reached the required loan to value percentage, but PMI will continue until the date that your original amortization schedule would have had you reaching that percentage. By the way, would you like to discuss refinancing options?”

Yeah, that’s still a BS response, and still a rip-off, but at least it would have been some solid information. All I have now is a bunch of jumbled worlds — COV, market conditions, however, and Smorf…

This morning I’m going to try the online customer service method again asking bluntly, “Is Countrywide aware of a law called the Homeowners Protection Act?” and “At what date will my PMI be terminated automatically.”

I’ll also ask them not to send my another letter in 7-10 days. And I’ll also ask that that they not ask me to call customer service again. I’ve spoken to three people and no one has answered my question.

Posted on August 30th, 2008 at 5:55 am by Brainy Smurf
PMI - Mortgage Insurance | 3 Comments »

Help Me Obi-Wan Kenobi, You’re My Only Hope…Against the Evil Countrywide Empire!

Ben KenobiYep, this PMI cancellation thing just isn’t going to happen.

Apparently the Homeowners Protection Act never existed.

The idea of PMI automatically cancelling on it’s own is complete fiction.

I made my call this afternoon to Lisa — who, if you recall, asked that I call back to check on the status of my request. She had given me her direct line.

I called the number. Six minutes on hold and then the call dropped.

Hmmm… This isn’t looking good already, I thought.

I tried again. This time I was on hold for three minutes and woman named “Willa” answered. Hmmmmm… Willa didn’t sound one bit like Lisa.

She asked if she could help, so I anxiously told her that Lisa has requested I call back to check in on the status of my PMI cancellation. Willa put me on hold.

A minute or so passed and she came back on the line, “Mr. Smurf, our records indicate that a letter with further instructions to cancel mortgage insurance was mailed to you on August 27 and you should be receiving it within 7-10 days.”

“Really? Well, I’ve already received that letter three times,” I responded. “I know what it says and that’s not what I’m calling about. See, Lisa said that she had emailed the MI Deletion department and that she’d likely have a response for me today.”

“I’m not sure why she would have emailed them, I’ll transfer you — please hold.”

I began to pace. I tried to rock out to the hold music but it wasn’t working. Nine whole minutes passed. Four extra seconds too. Yes, my phone at work is freakin sweet.

Finally a woman’s voice spoke to me from the other end.

I had to confirm my name and account number and SSN again. She spoke softly and had traces of an Asian accent. Had I not been on hold for so long, I would have hung up and tried again. I hate soft-talkers. Always have, always will.

I didn’t catch her name, unfortunately, and she apparently didn’t catch mine either as she addressed me as “Mr. Smorf” three times in the first 30 seconds and for the duration of the call.

I explained my whole situation again and guess how she responded?

Yep, more nonsense about submitting a request to the MI Deletion department (isn’t that who I was just transferred to?) at which point a letter will be mailed to me detailing the blah, blah, blah…

I calmly explained that I’d gone through this process multiple times already.

I just wanted to know why my PMI hadn’t been cancelled.

I explained that there is apparently a provision in my original mortgage agreement that states that once I reach 22 percent equity or a 78 percent loan-to-value percentage, PMI is supposed to be terminated automatically. That hasn’t happened. Why?

She stammered a bit, I couldn’t understand (or hear?) her, and then she put me on hold.

I fully expected to be disconnected.

But then she came back.

“Mr. Smorf, your current loan to value is 77 percent, however, a COV certificate is required in order to…”

I cut her off and said, “The law is pretty clear — the loan to value is supposed to be based on the original property value at the inception of the contract. You just said that my loan to value percentage was at 77 percent. That number would be based on my original property value which, by law, means that I shouldn’t be paying for PMI anymore.”

She stammered again and repeated what was obviously on the computer monitor in front of her — “However, um, market conditions are such that, however, LandSafe will have to conduct an appraisal but you, however, shouldn’t send the payment along with your regular mortgage payment.”

What? “Yeah, that’s not what I’m calling about.”

I told her that I’d heard all of that before.

She then began to tell me that “the appraisal is only $130 and with that, PMI could be cancelled.”

“Could be? Or would be?”, I asked.

She stammered a bit and then responded with, “A real appraisal is usually over $300.”

Yeah, see, I don’t care.

I bought my house before prices skyrocketed. It hasn’t dropped in value. My tax records show that — and Countrywide pays my taxes for me.

Even the neighbor from hell has their house on the market for $192k. My lot is bigger, my house is bigger, my house is, well, it’s just nicer. Even using that dump’s price, which is much lower than mine is worth, my $109k balance clears the bar by a good 30%.

Market conditions? You want to talk about market conditions? Well, apparently, for customers like me who actually pay their mortgages each month, the current market conditions only benefit Countrywide. I have to pay additional fees when the market tanks? I don’t remember signing up for that when I bought my house.

Sure, your business is in the crapper, but you know what? That’s not my fault. That’s not my problem.

And hold on, the law and my mortgage both reference the original purchase price — NOT the current market value!!! Why are we discussing this?

I didn’t say any of that, but continued to vent and argue my case.

I even laid out a scenario as an example — my current balance on the mortgage is $109k. If next week, I submitted a payment of $108k, would Countrywide still not cancel PMI.

“That is correct, Mr. Smorf.”

“So, I could, infact have a balance of under one thousand dollars and I’d still have to pay PMI each month?”

“Due to market conditions, however, a COV, um, investors are, however, at 78 percent, um…”

That was the response. Can you believe that?


“So, PMI will never be cancelled automatically, is that what you’re saying?”

A long pause… “That is correct, Mr. Smorf.”

I went pretty crazy at this point.

I even started talking to the point that I needed to take a breath but I didn’t stop to take one. My palms were clammy. I even had to wipe my brow. That never happens.

I asked if she was kidding — I mean, I had to.

When I finally allowed her to get a word in, she suggested that I refinance.

I told her that refinancing costs even more money than an appraisal. I don’t need to refinance. I’m perfectly happy with my rate. I don’t need to cash out and I don’t need to lower my payments.

I just want my PMI cancelled which, according to the law, is supposed to be automatic and FREE!

She then went back to her script saying, rather, she went back to reading that a COV certificate was mandatory due to market conditions.

Every third word or so, she’d use the word “however”.

If I had to write a transcript, it would real like Caitlin Upton’s “uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as” response in last year’s Miss Teen USA pagaent. Seriously.

I responded that I, quite frankly, didn’t care about the current market conditions. That’s Countrywide’s problem and not mine. My mortgage agreement was for a 30-yeard fixed rate mortgage with PMI to be dropped at the 78% mark.

I then bounced another scenario off of her…

What if I had made this request, and this phone call, two years ago, you know, before Countrywide essentially screwed themselves over to create the current “market condition”.


She didn’t have an answer.

It was an awkward moment. And it lasted, oh, maybe 10-15 seconds.

Wow, I was actually acting like a certified arsehole. This was a new feeling for me.

As the silence continued I thought she’d hung up on me…


“Yes, Mr. Smorf, however due to current market conditions…”

Wait a minute — I basically just got out of you that this actually has nothing to do with “market conditions”… This is apparently standard policy for Countrywide Home Loans. And how is it that they can just ignore the law like that?


I was at the point where I realized that I wasn’t getting any further today so I tried to wrap it up as politely as I could.

I thanked her for her help — though my tone was less than sincere — and told her that I’d research my options, though she provided me none, and call back at a later date.

She went back to her “script” and sheepishly asked, “Are there any other concerns I can help you with Mr. Smurf?”


Then, in apparent closing, she said that “Countrywide appreciates your business and…” well, that set me off again…

“Wait a minute. No, you don’t appreciate my business. I pay my mortgage payment every damn month. I’m not the reason for the current market conditions you speak of. I’m not calling about some hardship I’m facing or to re-negotiate the terms of my original loan or crying ‘woe is me, please don’t take my house.’ I’ve been asking Countrywide to hold up their end of the original deal for nearly two months now and I’ve gotten nothing but a bunch of bunk. I’m the ideal customer, and you know what? Yeah, I am a little bit upset about the situation Countrywide has put me in — not that you hadn’t noticed.”

“I understand Mr. Smorf, however…”

“No, however nothing. You’re screwing over your best customers by ripping them off. I am being ripped off. To the tune of $85 per month, I am being ripped off. How dare you ask me about refinancing with Countrywide. Really, why on earth would I give a company that rips me off any more business that I need to? And you know what? I am going to be a thorn in Countrywide’s side until this matter is resolved.”

She apologized for the fact that I felt that and I ended the call. In case you’re wondering — no I didn’t hang up on her.

Of course, I was just blowing off some steam.

I’ll be honest. Hefty Smurf, I am not.

Richard BlumenthalI’ll probably just end up paying the $130 for an appraisal but before that happens, you can bet that I’ll send a boatload of nasty messages their way, file a complaint with the FTC, and pass along the details of my ordeal to Richard Blumenthal, the Attorney General for the State of Connecticut.

What’s that? You’ve never heard of Richard Blumenthal?

Well, make a mental note, someday you will see his name.

When it comes to Attorney Generals in this country, he’s the biggest badass around making national headlines on a regular basis. I’ve heard he uses Jedi mind tricks as well. Not sure if that’s true, I’m just sayin’…

And not that he’ll pursue this, but he’s already sued Countrywide once and he’s the type that likes to pile on.

Even if a letter written by a junior staffer full of fluff threats arrives at Countrywide’s door with Dickie B’s return address on it, well, it’ll get some attention. Of that, I’m sure.

Posted on August 29th, 2008 at 8:51 pm by Brainy Smurf
PMI - Mortgage Insurance, Rants | 5 Comments »

Countrywide Customer Service Contact Made

In acknowledgement of the DNC taking place this week, here’s LBJ sitting on hold with customer service.This afternoon I printed out all of my documents, got myself all pumped up to bestow my plight to an actual person, and dialed 1-800-669-9092.

I took a big deep breath as I awaited a voice on the other end.

“Thank you for calling the Private Mortgage Department. If you’re calling about a PMI deletion letter you’ve received, press 1.”

Great. An automated system…

Beep. I pressed “1”. I guessed was about a PMI deletion letter I’d received. THREE TIMES!

A few bizarre clicks and a few computer whisper tones later, I was connected to Lisa who asked if she could help me.

“Yes, I’m calling to try to cancel my private mortgage insurance.”

She asked for my name, account number, and the last 4 digits of my SSN. Easy enough. Then she put me on hold.

As the seconds became minutes, I began to pace. I tried to get into the funky acid jazz muzak I was being subjected to, but the anxiety I was feeling made it slap bass more annoying than anything else.

Click — Lisa was back. She explained that she’d submitted a request to the MI Deletion Department and that I’d receive a letter in 7-10 days with further instructions.

Wow, where had I heard that before?

I’m pretty sure she thought her job was complete…

Now, I didn’t turn on the rage. I just politely said that I’d thought that I’d already received that letter three times and then detailed to her that I’d submitted this request three times already.

I went on to say that it was my understanding that once I’d reached 22% equity in my home based on the original value that the PMI would be cancelled automatically and that it hadn’t happened yet.

She put me on hold again.

This time the muzak had more of a country-rock sound to it. Really, it was like wimpy Lynyrd Skynyrd. Then it faded into the funky jazz.

Lisa came back. She said that she was researching it and that it would be a few more minutes.

“No problem”

I paced.

I paced some more.

I started to nose whistle with the tune.

Click — Lisa was back again. She said that there was a provision on my mortgage documents regarding a “78% Loan to Value Ratio”.

To me, this was good news as I hadn’t used the number 78, so it wasn’t like she was just regurgitating what I’d already said — she must’ve actually read that somewhere when I was on hold. Things were looking good.

She stated that she’d emailed the Mortgage Deletion people to see about getting it cancelled and that they usually take a day or so to respond. She gave me her direct line and asked me to call back to check on the status tomorrow.

Now I’m thinking things are looking sketchy again. They’re going to say I need to pay $130 for an appraisal or something… I just have that feeling, you know?

I said thanks, and then she tried to upsell me with a re-fi offer! Too funny…

I declined, said thanks again, and ended it with, “Talk to you soon!”

Total time on the phone was 12 minutes and 29 seconds. I *almost* recorded the call, but I’m pretty sure that’s illegal…

Anyhow, with any luck, by the end of the week, my mortgage will be PMI free.

Posted on August 27th, 2008 at 10:04 pm by Brainy Smurf
PMI - Mortgage Insurance | 1 Comment »