Local News

Fayetteville Woman Credits Five On Your Side With Resolving Payment Dispute

Posted July 24, 2002

— The process of paying bills usually runs smoothly, but as Mary Kelly of Fayetteville found out, one mistake can create a domino effect of problems.

For some people monthly bills are tough to keep up with, but not for Kelly.

"I am very conscientious. I usually pay my bills when they come in," she said.

That is why Kelly was surprised to get a notice from Nationwide Insurance last August. The notice said she that she had not paid her homeowner's insurance.

Chase Manhattan, Kelly's mortgage company, is supposed to make the payment from her escrow account. So she called Chase Manhattan to find out what had happened.

Kelly said a Chase Manhattan representative told her, "We've got it right here. We paid it to Texas Casualty."

"I said 'Well who's Texas Casualty? I've never heard of them,'" Kelly said.

Chase admitted to paying the wrong insurance company and promised to fix the problem.

Six months later, Kelly's mortage payment went up significantly. A closer look showed why.

"They never did put the money back in that they paid the other insurance company. They just took out another $537 out of my escrow account to pay them," said Kelly said.

Kelly wanted Chase to fix the problem immediately. Chase said it would take weeks to fix the problem, and told Kelly to continue making her original house payment.

Kelly did as Chase advised and still got late notices, added fees and letters threatening her credit.

Almost a year after the first mistake, the situation was still not resolved.

"It was unbelievable," Kelly said. "I was at the end of my rope. I just didn't know where to go next. So I called Five On Your Side. I was in tears."

Five On Your Side called Chase, and within a week Chase straightened out everything.

Catherine Keary, a Chase Manhattan spokeswoman said, "It shouldn't have happened." She apologized and blamed the problems on "human error".

Kelly said she is relieved that the situation has been resolved.

"I feel wonderful," she said. "I can't believe that what's taken me a year not to accomplish, Five On Your Side has accomplished in less than a week. I just wish I had called you months earlier."

Some people put those escrow statements aside without really looking at them. If Kelly had done that, she would have missed the problem and paid the extra money without knowing it.

Five On Your Side said consumers should always check out all bills and statements closely.


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