Mortgage payoff sent to wrong account

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Ella
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Mortgage payoff sent to wrong account

Post by Ella »

Yesterday I made a wire transfer from Vanguard to Wells Fargo, to pay off my mortgage balance. Today I saw that the transfer had been deducted from my Vanguard account, but not credited to my WF account. Since the credit was supposed to have been same day, I called WF to inquire.

Turns out the WF rep that I spoke to the day before the transfer gave me the wrong account number. Not just off by a number or two; an entirely different account number.

I have spoken with both VG and WF and here's what has been done so far:
1) VG gave me a federal reference number to trace the transfer, and I gave that to WF.
2) I have given WF the general contact phone # for VG.
3) The WF rep, who states he is a supervisor and gave me his direct phone number, told me he would trace the transfer, apply it to my loan account, backdate the loan payoff to yesterday, and cancel any interest or fees that may have accrued.
4) I have been told by the WF rep that the bank can legally withdraw the transfer from whatever account it ended up in, and that this will get resolved, although it may take several business days.

I plan to call the WF supervisor in 2 days to follow up.

Is there anything else I need to do at this time?

If anyone is curious, my WF account is signified by a loan number, not an account number. No account number is listed on any of my paperwork from WF. I did generate an online "payoff statement" as advised by WF, but they told me this was only for the purpose of knowing how much I had to pay. It turns out the payoff statement contained the correct account number, buried in the middle of a page of fine print. But I had no idea I was supposed to look for it, and I had no reason to doubt the WF rep who gave me the wrong account number.

If anyone has the urge to let me know how this is actually my fault or that they would never have done anything so foolish, please refrain. I am distraught and I do not need any snarky feedback.

Thanks
Ella
The Wizard
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Re: Mortgage payoff sent to wrong account

Post by The Wizard »

I'm sure it will work out in the end, but it can be annoying to check twice a day and find that STILL nothing has happened.
So about the best thing you can do right now is simply to have a nice glass of WINE when the little hand on the clock gets to the proper hour...
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livesoft
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Re: Mortgage payoff sent to wrong account

Post by livesoft »

All I can say is: Relax. It seems you've done all the right things and it will get taken care of.

A few years ago, I paid off my Wells Fargo home mortgage and also had the pay-off amount wired to WF. The source bank said that they would have to charge me $25 for the wire. They made a mistake: They never charged me for the wire. The source bank was Wells Fargo.

I'm looking now in my accounts to see if some money was magically wired into one of them. :)
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johnubc
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Re: Mortgage payoff sent to wrong account

Post by johnubc »

I would not sit on this for another minute. If the credited account goes and withdraws the money - you will be out of luck and out of the funds. Especially since you provided the incorrect account number to VG. Do you have proof that you were provided the incorrect number?
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HueyLD
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Re: Mortgage payoff sent to wrong account

Post by HueyLD »

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Last edited by HueyLD on Sun Feb 08, 2015 5:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
Topic Author
Ella
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Re: Mortgage payoff sent to wrong account

Post by Ella »

johnubc wrote:I would not sit on this for another minute. If the credited account goes and withdraws the money - you will be out of luck and out of the funds. Especially since you provided the incorrect account number to VG. Do you have proof that you were provided the incorrect number?
I have the piece of paper that I wrote down the routing # and account # on, on the day I first spoke with the rep. That's hardly "proof" but obviously I wouldn't have just made up a number. The WF supervsior said the phone coversation may have been recorded and he will try to listen to it.

What you point out is exactly why I am distraught. The WF rep said it doesn't matter whose fault it is, if the deposit was in error, the bank gets to claw back the money. I specifically asked what would happen if the money went to a checking/savings account and the person who owns it took the money out today. He just reiterated that the bank is legally entitled to get that money back. I can see a possible world where it takes some awful drawn out legal process to get the money back, but what else can I do right now to prevent that?

Thanks
Ella
The Wizard
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Re: Mortgage payoff sent to wrong account

Post by The Wizard »

HueyLD wrote:
...You should allow the supervisor at least three business days to track down the misplaced money. If you call the supervisor next Tuesday, (s)he should have an answer for you, or be able to provide you with an update.
I've never worked in a bank.
But why should it take three DAYS to resolve this issue?
If I had supervisory/administrative access to a bank computer system and was trained in all of its nuances, I bet I'd have the main part of the problem solved in three MINUTES.
The main part initially being to ID the incorrect account which received the payoff funds and then putting a FREEZE on that account while going through proper procedures to move the funds to the proper account...
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MindBogler
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Re: Mortgage payoff sent to wrong account

Post by MindBogler »

The conversation with Wells Fargo would have been recorded. In the event that the recipient believes this is a fortuitous windfall, and spends it , Wells Fargo will be on the hook for it.
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HueyLD
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Re: Mortgage payoff sent to wrong account

Post by HueyLD »

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sunnyday
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Re: Mortgage payoff sent to wrong account

Post by sunnyday »

Sorry to hear that. Sounds like it will go through in a couple days so I would just hang tight for two days. I would keep notes of who you spoke with at WF (their name, date/time of conversion, and what they said). This will help you reference things if there is any more confusion (sounds like it will be taken care of though).
Ella wrote: What you point out is exactly why I am distraught. The WF rep said it doesn't matter whose fault it is, if the deposit was in error, the bank gets to claw back the money. I specifically asked what would happen if the money went to a checking/savings account and the person who owns it took the money out today. He just reiterated that the bank is legally entitled to get that money back. I can see a possible world where it takes some awful drawn out legal process to get the money back, but what else can I do right now to prevent that?
The amount is peanuts for WF. I'm sure they would fund your account no matter what. They would never want legal action over such a thing. If they can't "claw back" the money, they would probably check the phone records, possibly terminate the employee, and fund your money.

---

In general, I wonder if it's better to have big payments pulled instead of pushed from one's checking account. For example if I make a prepayment for my mortgage, I do it through the mortgage company's website instead of sending an e-check.
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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Mortgage payoff sent to wrong account

Post by Epsilon Delta »

It might make sense to put it in writing and send a copy to both Vanguard and WF. Recount both what happened and your understanding of what the representatives said.

I do not know this is needed but I've read enough contracts with clauses such as "you must notify us in writing within X days, You may telephone us at xxx-xxx-xxxx but this does not preserve your rights" that I fire up the word processor every time. Less formally I feel that this gives a small but polite push to resolve the matter if it has not been completed by the time they get the letter.
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HueyLD
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Re: Mortgage payoff sent to wrong account

Post by HueyLD »

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livesoft
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Re: Mortgage payoff sent to wrong account

Post by livesoft »

Bank of America made a 6-figure error in one of my accounts that took 3 weeks for them to figure out and fix. They ended up paying me for all the bounced checks, insufficient funds charges, etc. It was a human error on their part, but the bank auditors had to trace the path of the money because it was so large. I can imagine that they didn't trust anyone when doing their investigation, neither the client (me), the bank teller, the bank manager, etc. When BoA asked what they could do to keep my business, I asked for $5,000 which they would not pay me.

In any event, I was not worried during those 3 weeks about being made whole, but it sure took longer than I wanted it to.
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sscritic
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Re: Mortgage payoff sent to wrong account

Post by sscritic »

Look at it from the other side. If you find $50k in a bag that fell off an armored car, the money isn't yours. In my state the law requires you to report your find to the police (I am pretty sure, but don't have time to search the code). Found money in your checking account is no different; it doesn't belong to you. Spending money that doesn't belong to you might well be a crime in your state (read your own code). That's why I would be confident that the bank could recover the money if someone tried to spend it.
Topic Author
Ella
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Re: Mortgage payoff sent to wrong account

Post by Ella »

Thank you to everyone who has replied. I am relieved that most people agree that this WILL get resolved.

The payoff amount was 6 figures, peanuts for WF perhaps but life-changing for me. I am not sure how I'll sleep the next few nights but I can't be the first person this has happened to, so i have to believe it will be fixed.

Epsilon, thanks for suggesting writing letters. I'm not sure where I would mail them, each institution has multiple addresses. I think I'll wait until Friday (day after tomorrow), call WF again, and ask them at that time where to address a letter that summarizes what's happened.

I agree with the person who said that tracing the money should be a quick affair, but there's bureacracy in everything, and the WF rep has other priorities in addition to my problem. I don't want to needlessly/uselessly be a PITA. However, I will start calling daily if it isn't resolved in 5 business days (i.e. by Tuesday).

Thanks again to everyone who replied. Please keep me in your thoughts for a quick resolution and good outcome.

Ella
johnubc
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Re: Mortgage payoff sent to wrong account

Post by johnubc »

HueyLD wrote:
Ella wrote: The WF rep said it doesn't matter whose fault it is, if the deposit was in error, the bank gets to claw back the money. I specifically asked what would happen if the money went to a checking/savings account and the person who owns it took the money out today. He just reiterated that the bank is legally entitled to get that money back.
Ella,

Your banker told you correctly. As an example, I once deposited a check from a business associate and was given next day availability for the money. I started writing checks against that balance. However, the deposit was returned due to NSF a few days later and the bank retroactively deducted the check amount from my account. In addition, I was charged with NSF fee at $35 per check written.

What you've been told is actually a fairly routine part of the banking system. You will be made whole.
a check deposit is VERY different from a wire transfer. In a wire transfer the funds are immediately transferred and can be withdrawn immediately. It is quite hard to undo a wire transfer.
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BrandonBogle
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Re: Mortgage payoff sent to wrong account

Post by BrandonBogle »

Ella wrote:Thank you to everyone who has replied. I am relieved that most people agree that this WILL get resolved.
I concur with others that this WILL get resolved.
Ella wrote: Epsilon, thanks for suggesting writing letters. I'm not sure where I would mail them, each institution has multiple addresses. I think I'll wait until Friday (day after tomorrow), call WF again, and ask them at that time where to address a letter that summarizes what's happened.
Ella, I would recommend writing it up basically as you already did in your opening post, request a WRITTEN confirmation of your inquiry INCLUDING a reference number of the inquiry, and send it to the "general correspondence" address on your regular mortgage notices. Send it CMWRR (certified mail with return receipt) and hold onto the receipt. Continue to take good notes including the name, date/time of any contacts, and any reference number. You will be made whole, but should you need to engage higher powers, your return receipt will act as proof that they were timely notified (if WF's own records weren't proof enough). For 6 figures, the extra few dollars for this could be enough to let you sleep the next few nights. Hopefully, by the time they get the notice, it will all be resolved and you get a confirmation letter of the correction already being done.
Pacific
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Re: Mortgage payoff sent to wrong account

Post by Pacific »

I am curious as to why you did not know the correct account number if you had been sending monthly mortgage payments to the account.
Topic Author
Ella
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Re: Mortgage payoff sent to wrong account

Post by Ella »

Pacific wrote:I am curious as to why you did not know the correct account number if you had been sending monthly mortgage payments to the account.
As my original post mentioned, there never was an account number associated with my loan in my paperwork from Wells Fargo; only a loan number. My loan was underwritten by one company and immediately transferred to Wells Fargo upon closing. With Wells Fargo I had electronic statements only and automatic monthly withdrawals. I never "sent" a payment or received paper documents.

Furthermore, there is no way for me to know the account number by looking at my statements or any other online documents. These all refer to a loan number and a loan number ONLY.

Finally, the 2 times I called Wells Fargo, I was always asked to identify my account by the loan number, never by any account number.

I find it all bizarre in retrospect, but until I decided to payoff the mortgage, the very existence of an account number distinct from the loan number was unknown to me and irrelevant to how my loan payments and documentation functioned.

Ella
countdown
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Re: Mortgage payoff sent to wrong account

Post by countdown »

I think there is an excellent chance your conversation was recorded, as most financial phone transactions are. Try to confirm that, and if the rep who made the mistake in the number 'isn't sure'...move up the food chain and ask his/her supervisor if the call was recorded.
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GerryL
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Re: Mortgage payoff sent to wrong account

Post by GerryL »

This whole episode validates my decision to pay off my mortgage in person last month. I had the day off work, so I went to my credit union to get out the cash (not in the 6 figures to be sure), but they offered me a cashiers check for no charge. Then I drove a couple of miles to the closest WF branch and handed the cashiers check to the teller.

I would be very anxious in your shoes, even though I knew it would all be worked out. Hang in there.

BTW, I have had money taken out of my checking acct due to bank error on several occasions. Once, when I was a poor student (in Hawaii), the bank accidentally put my account number on someone's bank card that the person then used to withdraw cash before going out of state on a trip, probably with my account # in his pocket.
Topic Author
Ella
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Re: Mortgage payoff sent to wrong account

Post by Ella »

An update: I kept myself so busy today that I didn't actually think about this mess even once. Around 4 PM I had a minute of downtime and it came rushing back, but I'd committed to not calling WF until tomorrow. So I checked my account online on the off-chance it might show something and...paid in full. :D

The numbers don't completely add up (off by about $25), but it seems to have been basically taken care of. I am going to call the supervisor tomorrow just to close the loop and make sure everything's in its place.

I keep rechecking the website to make sure the "paid in full" hasn't disappeared. But I figure that nervous tic will pass by next week at the latest.

Thanks to everyone for your encouragement and suggestions. Hopefully if anyone ever pulls a bush league move like I did, they'll have the assurance that if it worked out for me it will work out for them.

Ella
vkfu
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Re: Mortgage payoff sent to wrong account

Post by vkfu »

Thanks for the update. Glad to hear it has been mostly resolved.
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runner9
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Re: Mortgage payoff sent to wrong account

Post by runner9 »

Glad it's resolved, and congrats on paying off the mortgage!
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nisiprius
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Re: Mortgage payoff sent to wrong account

Post by nisiprius »

Ella, so you'll call tomorrow and confirm that everything's OK, and it almost certainly will be.

One thing financial institutions are really good at: making sure money doesn't disappear. If $X vanishes from one account, $X appears somewhere else. It's just a matter of tracking it down.

Nevertheless, if you haven't done so already, it is now time to go into what I call "full-bore recordkeeping mode." From now on, every time you talk to someone on the phone, make written notes. You would like to get
  • the name of the person you spoke to--often hard to get these days, but ask; if they just give a first name, OK, but get that much;
  • A way to reach them again by phone if you need to. It's rare to get this, but again, try.
  • Something you can use to refer to the conversation. I usually ask "Is there a reference number for the conversation?" If the answer is "no," I'll say "How can someone else at your company look it up if they need to?" The answer will usually be something like "You just need the account number and the date." If I'm feeling paranoid, I'll ask "Will they be able to see your notes about this conversation?" So far the answer I've always gotten is "yes."
  • Write down a note about what they said--it doesn't have to be verbatim or details, just something short like "Marietta said the payment has been credited."
  • Before ending the conversation, read that short note back so they can say "yes" or correct anything.
  • Write down the date
  • Drop the note into some messy pile of paper where you can't find it again. Well, it's what I always do.
This is faster to do than to say. And it doesn't have to be super formal or anything. The point is not to prove anything in court, the point is so that if gets complicated everyone you're talking to can be in the picture, and the story can resume where it left off instead of going back to zero every time. And so they know that you're not engaged in wishful thinking when you say "Oh, but so-and-so SAID."
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Watty
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Re: Mortgage payoff sent to wrong account

Post by Watty »

Ella wrote: Thanks to everyone for your encouragement and suggestions. Hopefully if anyone ever pulls a bush league move like I did, they'll have the assurance that if it worked out for me it will work out for them.

Ella
It was only a four figure snafu but here is my post from a while back about my online bill pay typo that eventually got fixed.

http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtop ... &p=1804167
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