My BofA NIGHTMARE that almost blocked me from buying a house.

So…we bought a house last¬†September.

house

This is not our furniture. The house was staged ūüôā

In the SF Bay Area, this is widely acknowledged to be a minor miracle and usually involves weeks of celebration. The story of how we found and bought the house is fairly amazing, but even more incredible is the fact that we were able to buy it at all, considering what happened with one of my Bank of America credit card accounts.

This is both a cautionary tale and a how-to guide for what to do if it happens to you.

The issue: a late payment.

Yikes, right? Normally I set up autopay on all of my accounts as soon as I open them. However, the BofA autopay system is FUN-KAY. Seriously. Fun. Kay.

For months, I had a autopay to this account set up from my bank. However, as payments were being made even though I did not have a balance, this frequently resulted in a credit balance on the account, so I discontinued that and instead set up automatic payments directly through Bank of America. The problem is that I THOUGHT I was successful, but instead due to a system error, the process did not fully complete. 

On my end, the Bank of America website seemed to show that autopay had been established and I was good to go.

This was not the case.

By the time I realized the mistake, I was 6 days too late.

I mean 6 days past the 30-day mark.

Double yikes.

BofA had immediately reported the late payment to the credit bureaus. Normally this would have been a bummer, but it was almost a life-ruiner, as we had literally just applied for a mortgage. My score had dropped by almost 100 points!!! Now we were no longer qualified for our loan.

I should mention here that I’ve never before made a late payment and have an excellent credit score. I should also mention that the total charge was less than $50, and the payment was significantly less than that.

After freaking out, I took action.

I started calling BofA’s¬†Executive Customer Relations office (866-299-4010) on Monday morning. I called 3-4 times a day, every day, through Friday afternoon.

Each time I called to “check on on progress,” and each time I took detailed notes about who I spoke to and what he/she said. I told my story to all who would listen. My goal was to get them to remove the late payment remark, AND to get a fax or an email stating this so that I could show my mortgage broker.

The chain of events:

On Monday,¬†they removed the late payment fees and interest from my account. I thought this was great, but it wasn’t. No one was able to remove the late payment remark after this action. Fee reimbursement¬†seems to be an end-goal for most people, but for me, I needed a lot more. So I kept calling.

On Tuesday, they¬†said they would remove the late payment fees and document it as an “encoding error.”¬†This did not work.

I called and called and called. I got many people who said they could not help. Each time this happened, I thanked them politely, hung up, and called back. I made sure to write down the names of people who were helpful as well as those who were unhelpful. This saved time, as I could easily see at a glance who had been sympathetic (or not) on previous calls.

Finally, on Friday afternoon, I finally got someone who was about to remove the late payment remark and code it as “customer oversight.” However, when she went to do this, she was unable to complete the transaction in the system because someone (in the beginning of my odyssey) had refunded the interest charges on the late payments. The system would only let her choose ONE option (EITHER refund the late payment charge/interest OR take the late payment remark off and report it to the credit bureaus).

This stumped me for a few hours, until I had a great idea. Since the Executive Customer Relations office was unable to move forward with the issue, I started at the beginning again, and I called the number on the back of my credit card and asked them to put the late charge and interest back on my card.

Then I called the direct line to the Credit Analyst department (866-845-0871). They told me that once the interest went back onto my card, they would be able to take the late payment remark off my account.

I waited until Monday morning, then called first thing to ask if they could complete the transaction.

The answer was YES!!!! They sent me a fax stating that I no longer had any late payments recorded with them, then they sent a similar letter to all three credit bureaus.

SUCCESS!!!!!!

As you can imagine, this was one of the most stressful experiences of my entire life. It was horrible. There were many moments where we thought that we might have to give up on our dream of buying this house, and I couldn’t believe it was all caused by an overdue balance of less than $50.

Have you ever had any crazy credit card experiences? What happened?

Comments

  1. No surprise that some freak with hair like that from San Francisco misses her payments; i.e., has no money, needed a loan, and thinks she’s just so right over everyone else. Hashtag FAIL!!!

    • Wow, Melissa. You are truly a vile human being. I’ll never understand what possesses people to vomit hate-filled vitriol the likes of which you’ve just done. And the level of disgust you achieved in just 33 words is just mind-blowing. Clearly, you were not raised well, and for that I’m sorry. Clearly nobody taught you the difference between right and wrong. Obviously you somehow missed the adage: “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

      I hope, though truly doubt, that you’ll take a moment to reflect and look up at the rest of the world from your miserable spot at the bottom, to realize that you’re actually making the world a worse place. How about adding some value for a change, and stop proving your ignorance.

      And for gods sakes, don’t write the word “hashtag”, that’s why there’s an actual hashtag symbol (#).

    • Hey, look everyone! The Troll has arrived! The Troll has arrived! She came down here to make herself feel better than people she doesn’t know! Isn’t she just totally freaking awesome?? Wow, with enough practice, I hope I can be a Troll someday…Hashtag WINNING!!!

  2. Note to Melissa. Having known the big-haired Foxy for most of my life I can tell you that very few people work harder, and deserve a house more, than she does. She has earned her good credit score and the ability to pay her own way the very expensive area she was born into. No one has handed her anything. (Well, I do hand her a cocktail once in a while…)
    I hope you keep reading this blog because her tips have made my life more prosperous. Maybe if you used some of the money saving and credit protecting tips and tricks she is offering to improve your own situation you might feel a little less resentful. I wish you all the best.

  3. FUN.KAY!

  4. Peter van Es says:

    This story sounds SOOO familiar to me. Since I’ve only been living in the US for 5 years, establishing my credit is very important to me. Set up autopay on the BoA website. Payment didn’t post. Late payment remark on my credit history. Late fee was credited to my account but the late payment remark is still there!

  5. Wow – glad it worked out! I had a problem with them years ago because of how their pay system was setup. You would click to pay a particular card and it would take you to the payment page. I thought (since I clicked for that card) that it was the payment page for that card and put the amount in to pay. Turns out, the one that I had to pay was at the bottom and I was paying a card that had no balance at all – for two cycles. Yep, 40 days late and they wouldn’t do anything about it. True, my fault for not looking closer but it is the only bank to handle it like that. Just fell off my report recently as it took about 8 years!

  6. topsyturvy says:

    I happen to find your article very informative, and I’d like to add that the comments from Melissa are awful. Congratulations on you new place .. I must say it looks great (esp. for SF area).

    • Points Pixie says:

      topsyturvy – I’m glad you found it helpful. Agree that Melissa is in some strange hater-y world. I’m going to ignore her! ūüôā And thanks for the congrats. We love our new house!!

  7. Yes, B of A’s autopay is worthless. They are the only ding on my otherwise spotless credit report. It is probably too late for me to get my ding corrected, but your article with all the details may be helpful to a large number of people who get trapped by B of A’s useless autopay.

  8. I’m glad it worked out. But why doesn’t BoA at least send an email that says, “Where’s your payment?”

  9. Welcome to my BOA nightmare world. I refuse to do auto-pays with them as they are so mucked up. My other issue is that I would make a payment on my cc at a BOA branch the day before the payment was due, that (of course) posted to the cc side of BOA as late payment, which resulted in late fees, credit agency late payment reports, etc. BOA’s customer service response is always “well they are separate groups within BOA”. My response is “tell it to the judge”. My timely payments were to BOA period. I am so done with BOA.

  10. I also was 37 days late on my Citi card. I had limited internet access and by the time I realized, it was too late. I send an email, but the rep said they have to report the truth and not reporting it will be a violation.
    Do you have a suggestion on how to proceed from here?!?

    • Points Pixie says:

      Shanz – I would search for their Executive Customer Relations department and start calling. If you have an otherwise perfect history and can prove that it was a special circumstance, they might take pity on you and help you get it off your record.

  11. are you sure they reported you for miss payment after just 6 days of past due? normally it is reported at least after 30 days of non payment.

  12. It’s amazing how you pulled this off and got Bank of America to fix your credit report. I wasn’t familiar with the 2 choices of either getting the fee reversed or getting the comments on your credit report removed. Great work and good information to have!

    • Points Pixie says:

      Shubhayan – Thanks. Yes, it’s not really public info. I learned this after dozens of calls and questions!!!

  13. Kristina says:

    Had the same issue with Target. Couldn’t make a payment for weeks because their website was broken. Also had autopay set up from my bank, but an error caused that not to go through. Total amount due on the account was $16. Thirty-three days late. 100 point drop–from 813 to 710. I have never had a late payment on any card, paid off one car; I am eight years into my mortgage with no late payments; and my credit history began 20 years ago. It strikes me that something is wrong with the credit score calculation if one $16 late payment can undo 20 years of perfect credit history.

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