Not ours. We wound up safe in the arms of a too-big-to-fail bank known for its stagecoaches, and are happily getting our payments in through electronic payment without issue.
Clients, though, are another story. The world of mortgage underwriting continues to be a cluster-you-know-what of requirements, ranging from the ridiculous to the sometimes-impossible. Here's today's story about that.
Meet G. G has an obscenely-high interest mortgage through one of the subprime bad guys of the 90s and oughts. G's income alone supports an ability to pay well beyond even that sick payment, but due to some credit problems in the early years of this decade, G wound up with a couple of judgments on file. G then did the appropriate thing to do prior to a refi and set out to pay them off.
One wound up with the county sheriff in a pre-garnishment period. G contacted them, got a payoff figure, and sent it in, receipted and all. This was in April or May. I finished my own work for the client (unrelated to the refi) at around the same time, and was somewhat surprised to hear, last month, that the judgment holder (let's call them P, for plaintiff- or prick, if you prefer) hadn't issued the satisfaction yet.
New York affirmatively obligates judgment holders to file satisfactions once judgments are paid; I always try to be prompt about it when my judgments for clients get paid. After all, they paid, and it's the right thing to do, and helps the payor reestablish credit in this tough world. Unfortunately, the penalty for not doing so is a pittance- $100 in costs where the judgment debtor probably needs to pay more than that to a lawyer for the work involved in getting it. But I started the process anyway- writing the lawyers for P, copying them on the checks sent to the sheriff which confirmed the full payoff, and asking them to send the needed document to satisfy the judgment. I said I'd even take care of the actual filings for them.
No word, until this past weekend, when a plain white envelope arrived. No satisfaction, but a $3,000 check. Payable to me.
Client was out yesterday, but we've been emailing all day today after my call to P's lawyer. They reported that P removed the account from their office and told them not to do anything further on it. (This is not an unusual occurrence; they may have given up direct collection efforts and sold the debt to a third party.) So their only option, they said, was to return the money on hand to G in my care.
Could they tell me who to contact at P about it? Why, yes. It's an 800 number. PPP-PPPP. Or something like that. Chances are, you'd recognize it. I knew they wouldn't talk to me without G's permission, so I passed on the number and let G give it a try:
The good news is, they managed to find the account in their records. The bad news is, they had no record of ever pulling the account from the law firm. Hence the question to me:
[P] says it is still with [the law firm that sent the check]. She is calling them right now to see if they outsourced the judgment.
If [firm] is still covering why would they send back the check?
To which I could only give one reply:
Sounds like they're running a circular firing squad on their end. I'll hold the deposit in case they want me to return the check to them and get the thing satisfied.
So now G, who by all accounts tried to do the right thing, is in the two lowest circles of hell. The judgment's still unsatisfied, probably costing several hundred a month in interest while the refi is held up, and I'm stuck with the money that I can't forward, or even deposit, until P gets its head out of its own ass.
Come back tomorrow. We're going to do.... amortization!
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