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Stop Calling Me!

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Posted On: 05/11/2011

Question:

Why does the servicer of my loan call me on the second day of every month? I always make my payments before the grace period and have never been late. Isn’t this harassment, since we have until the 16th of each month to make the mortgage payment? They always read what they call a Miranda and say that they are collecting a debt. How often can they call me once I tell them I will make a payment on or before the grace period?

Answer:

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A mortgage is a contract. You as a borrower received cash up front and in return have agreed to certain terms and conditions.

Most mortgage agreements have a due date, say, the first of the month. Payments made after the due date can be seen as “late,” but this is not a practical reality if the loan also allows a grace period until, for example, the 16th.

If you miss the grace period you could face a late fee. However, even then you are unlikely to have a negative item on your credit report. The reason: Items must be at least 30 days late to show up on a credit report.

If your information is correct, if your payment is due on the first and the grace period extends until the 16th, then the servicer is seeking to effectively change the contract terms by demanding payment before a check is required. Early payments from lots of borrowers allow lenders to collect large amounts of additional interest.

When next you get a call ask to speak to the caller’s manager. Explain that if called again you will file a complaint with your state’s attorney general, the Federal Trade Commission and the now-forming Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (www.consumerfinance.gov).

Will such complaints do much good? That’s not clear – but it can’t hurt to try. And, of course, always make your payments in full and on time, “on time” being before what your mortgage agreement requires.

Peter G. Miller is the author of The Common-Sense Mortgage and a veteran real estate columnist. Have a question? Please write to peter@ctwfeatures.com.

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