Bad Experiences

This page exists in hopes of helping others avoid the same bad experience I’ve had with a company or product. I offer no guarantee your experience will be the same as mine, nor naive thoughts of a single post changing the way a company operates, just looking to add to the mix available for those curious enough to search.

Please, if you have to choose which page to read first, choose GoodStuff… I don’t think it’s possible to sound like a balanced kinda guy when writing a page like this.

Companies
A+ Towing in Eugene, Oregon.
I recommend avoiding at all costs. I was in a wreck, the Eugene Police Department called A+ Towing. Long story short, I emailed them three hours later asking if they had my car, gave them my license plate, name, phone number, email address, and a description of my vehicle. I did this with many towing companies since I didn’t know who had my car or what lot it was at, and EPD was unable to help.
I sent the email as soon as I could have given the situation (after I got out of the hospital; 3hrs) and I actually never heard back by email. Or phone. Instead they snail mailed me a “Notice of Foreclosure and Intent to Sell” because according to them, I had failed to contact them, and they had to look up my name via the Oregon DMV. I will save writing down the rest of the drama, except that when I began litigation (at the inquiry phase through lawyers) they started lying, and it looked not worth the effort. Save yourself the time and energy and use someone else!

Highpoint Technologies
Primarily they sell raid cards for computers. RAIDs exist for speed and stability, in this case I only care about the latter. The card itself is a weak link in an otherwise redundant system – I had considered purchasing two right off the bat. As you may imagine, having good support is critical.
Their phone support consists of leaving a message and never receiving a call back, they really encourage email support. Only problem is they don’t respond to email either. Will post more details later including dates and times I’ve emailed them and the same for their responses. Also, no cross shipping is offered no matter the collateral offered (i.e a credit card #,) which is fine for some industries but inexcusable for a company selling raid cards most frequently used in servers. Never again will I purchase from them.

Chase (acquired by JP Morgan & Co since then)
This was quite some time ago, but I had a credit card where bogus finance charges kept showing up. Was obvious because I paid the card off in full every month. One is easily forgivable, two in a short period of time was pretty odd, but three in less than half a year lead me to believe they make money by taking advantage of trusting people. To their credit the first two were easy to remove, but the third was an unbelievable pain, especially considering this was a black and white issue with plenty of supporting evidence. Had to go up several levels of management. I was polite the whole time but closed my account the next day.

Progressive
If phone notes and emails constitute proof, I have proof Progressive agents lied to me repeatedly. Specifically, Brett E Haag and his manager, Dustyn J Arlin. I don’t remember his title, but whomever was above “Dusty” backed up his employees’ actions.
Without going into details, it would have been beneficial for them to side with me, they basically didn’t feel it was worth their time. Around 9 months later they suddenly changed their mind (I’d say it was purely about money, but siding with me in the first place would’ve netted them more money, so wtf) and they had a gal named Ashley Shanteau tell me the other side was suing me when he actually wasn’t. She said this in a phone call, I responded via email about it, so no I cannot provide proof to back this one up. Turns out they were trying to deny medical treatment and now wanted my help to do so. Bet ya can guess what my answer was?

Citi
I started a credit dispute with one of the companies here through Citi. At the very beginning I didn’t know if this was the type of dispute they were handle. So I asked – yes, yes it was. Fast forward four months of continuous communication between us three: no, apparently Citi doesn’t actually handle disputes of this type. Okay then.

Target, specifically their registry system
Our experience was: we went in roughly 2.5-3 months before our wedding. We had to do it around that time due to the bridal shower coming up soon. We went in, got a hand scanner, and scanned all kinds of stuff. Some of the items I scanned a few of, then later did some research and deleted the ones I didn’t want.
After the wedding & honeymoon we came back to use some Target gift cards we were given. We printed out our registry and started trying to find the items. After a little while it became clear almost nothing was available in the store anymore! A little over half the items reported “online only” and many others said there suddenly of “limited availability” and might be on aisle such-and-such, yet we never found one of those items even after extensive searching.
Target – you bastards! I am perfectly ok with you switching your inventory around. That’s how stores work. But FFS LET ME KNOW so I can find a replacement item. These were not seasonal items, they were bathroom sets, towels, mirrors, a microwave, a shredder, etc.
In comparison BBB’s hand held scanner was ghetto but at least they didn’t modify everything on our registry in a few months.

Products
El Gato’s EyeTV
EyeTV does not work, I can put it no more simply than that. EyeTV is not stable. EyeTV cannot properly remove old shows. It cannot choose which tuner to use on a source with multiple tuners, which I would be fine with if the unit was not purchased/bundled with an HDHomeRun, all of which have dual tuners. In the install I was doing I needed to have one tuner record a channel and the other tuner (hooked up to a separate antenna) record the other channels, because otherwise reception was not available. There is no workaround, and yes I contacted their technical support about all of the above issues. That’s just the way their product works.

Last updated 12/3/12

 

Special Mention (due to length I’m separating this from the above sections)

Infinity Lending Solutions, which is a DBA of American Pacific Mortgage Corporation

Do not do business with this entity.  Here are some of the things which have happened to me, from small to large, in rough chronological order.  Please note that Patrick Crawley is the same broker as I used for my first mortgage, and I used him again because I didn’t have time for anything but the best and I was prepared to pay a little extra for the privilege (vs going the online route, where you kind of expect them to pull some stuff on you!)  My previous experience with Patrick was very good and I’d even recommended him to others.

(If you’re not going to read the whole thing do yourself a favor and skip the first half, nothing unforgivable happens.)

• Super small stuff to start out: He (Patrick Crawley) would answer some questions and ignore others.

• We included my wife’s two most recent pay stubs at the same time we signed paperwork accompanying the GFE.  Soon after her paystubs were requested – we had already provided the most recent we had, he just never checked the documentation we gave him.

• There were quite a few mistakes on our paperwork regarding net worth.  We were instructed to ignore them and sign anyway.  I persisted in getting the major ones corrected.  (Maybe this one is not consequential since we were told our income made it irrelevant, but I don’t like signing anything that’s not explicitly true.)

• As is fairly common we work with a number of financial institutions.  After the initial “send us everything” phase (which is a completely normal part of getting a refi nowadays) we were asked for updated statements for the credit union which handles our credit cards but is otherwise empty.  Since no account had been specified out of our 2 accounts and 3 credit cards I asked which one, and are you sure you want this info since it is not our primary account?  My exact words were: “Fwiw I do find it kind of odd that a bank statement is desired for the accounts we don’t really use.”

His response: “I agree with you regarding the strangeness of the lender’s requests, it has to be the most frustrating thing concerning my job because of the seeming illogic.”

Two problems with this.  1) Soon after sending both accounts from that institution I received this: “I should have been more specific.  We need the account statement(s) to show where the cash to close (approximately $x,000) is coming from.”  2) Much later he informed me there is no third party lender, meaning all of this was his own company.  (He used to be a broker representing many institutions.)

To sum this bullet point up, despite me double checking an odd request, he confirmed the oddness and blamed the lender.  Turns out the lender is not some other entity, it’s them.  And the info he confirmed “they” wanted, they didn’t actually want.

• We were told to expect closing on Friday, 10/26/12.  I blanked out my schedule.  I had also made it clear from the very beginning of the process that I would like to see the loan docs prior to signing, so that I can read all 100+ pages without taking up the escrow agent’s time – it’s not fair to them, and allows me to write down any questions or note any discrepancies I find.  Did not receive loan docs, and was not able to close.

• I rescheduled onsites for Monday since they told me they’d get the loan docs to me and then we’d sign after a few hours on Monday the 29th.  Nothing.

• Because they missed the 26th and because these loans fund on Fridays, their company now has to pay interest charges from the next Friday through the end of that month.  Luckily, this is one thing I didn’t have to fight for.

• Finally received the loan documents Tuesday the 30th at 12:17pm with a 3pm signing scheduled.  Prior to meeting I had time to review the most important sections and found errors relating to the closing dates.  In fact throughout the document there were inconsistencies relating to the closing date.  Much later I found out the escrow agent had double checked with the lender to make sure the dates were OK.  She was assured they were.  Just in case we crossed out every one and my wife and I initialed each one.

• Although it’s only slightly related to their incompetence I noted I expressed my nervousness about closing within 3 weeks of when my county taxes were due.  I was assured there was almost no chance GMAC had already paid.  I called first thing the next morning.  They had already paid.  This means unless the escrow agent is able to obtain proof either via fax from GMAC or via county records search that the taxes are in fact paid, they have to pay them anyway.  Then I am at my county’s mercy for when they return the overage to me.  Could be a month, could be six I was told – they really have no idea.  That’s several thousand dollars just floating out there.  This is the kind of thing I expected to be steered around, and if I’d had more time exactly the kind of thing I would have taken care of myself (by not scheduling anything remotely close to it.)

• Friday the 2nd of November.  I was under the impression the loan was going to fund today and we would be done with the whole process.  Things had not been great, but if the story ended here I would not recommend these folks, but I would also not be writing this.  It had been bumpy but not so terrible.  Got a call while onsite to confirm a meeting for closing at 3:30pm – this was a complete shock and I thought surely a mistake.  Turns out the lender rejected the documents due to the — you guessed it — the date being incorrect.  The exact same date they explicitly authorized.
(Related: There was also an email server problem at the escrow company which prevented a 10:02am confirmation from reaching me until 1:57pm; also, the meeting had to be asap since if we started at 3:30pm there would be no one available to pick up my daughters from preschool/daycare.)

• So I rushed down there, abandoning my client in the middle of the job, to sign these new documents.  I called my wife and had her leave her work, which was not awesome since Fridays are (along with Mondays) their busiest day(s).  We got there and started the process only to find the lender had removed the money which covered the interest from now until the end of the month!  I was stunned but thought it only fair to call Patrick Crawley to see what the situation is, to get his take on it.  Maybe see if he could set it straight.  Find he’s not available, but another person from their organization (Wendy) gets on the line and apologizes.  She assures me they will redo the documents as soon as they can and with extremely favorable terms.  It will basically be an “I’m sorry” but in financial terms.  (I have paraphrased her comments as I do not remember them exactly enough to quote them, but I’m positive I captured her intent.  There was no confusion versus “let me fix that error and get these docs back to you otherwise untouched.”  If that’s all they had promised I would have cut my losses and walked, as common sense dictates.)  Wendy even assured me Patrick and his boss had spoken about “my situation” and he was committed to doing whatever was right for the client.  I believe I heard the name Jerrod Riddle, but I’m not 100% sure.

I am trying my utmost to set my subjective opinions of this organization aside and simply tell the story, exactly as it happened.  In fact I must try to convey the facts as purely as possible, otherwise I open myself up to a lawsuit by publishing this in a public place.  I have lightly editorialized such as “related to their incompetence” or “Luckily, this is one thing I didn’t have to fight for.”  But never in a manner that would distort the facts.  I feel it relevant to note mortgages and refinances are incredibly complex beasts, and one such complication is that on an FHA streamline refinance I cannot receive more than $500 back.  But because the taxes have been paid the previous lender credit could not have been it’s full prior amount.

The thing is, that’s fine.  All I was expecting was for them to pay the interest charges to the end of the month due to their screwup, and to not remove any more than that.  What they actually did was remove the entire additional amount which meant I was paying extra due to their screwup.  Not OK.  If they’d removed enough to reach my max of $500 I could hardly fault them for staying within FHA guidelines, and would have signed the loan.

So far we have some poor communication early on (not responding to all questions, cherry picking them to avoid the tough ones,) some needless errors (losing info, requesting the wrong info, entering incorrect info on our assets/liabilities page,) some poor planning (not taking into account the lender’s failures – really his underwriting/processing department – when scheduling time, not avoiding signing around taxes,) and some actions which look like an outright attempt to rip me off (confirming the dates were OK with the escrow agent then changing their minds, removing ALL of the lender credit instead of just enough to reach my max payoff.)  I am pretty fed up by this point, but I really want this to be over and I’ve been told I’m going to see loan docs so favorable they will act as an apology from the company.  Plus told that the boss is on board with this.  So I’m still on, and am waiting for revised loan documents.

• My next phone call from Patrick Crawley occurs between the 2nd and the 8th, don’t care to look it up right now.  Have one from the 7th lasting 7 minutes, maybe that’s the one… at one point he called to check in, I relayed that I’m just waiting on the loan docs.  I make sure he spoke with Wendy, he told me he had.  He tries to absolve himself of all responsibility while simultaneously telling me the lender is actually his own company (since they’ve been bought out, I assume.)  He does not seem to understand that I do not personally hold him responsible for all failings, but instead expect him to at least try to protect me from his company’s repeated incompetence.  I don’t expect perfection.  Who knows, maybe he doing tons of work, but what was seeping through made it seem like he wasn’t.

In Retrospect, I’m very glad I both reasoned away from his advice of not paying my October mortgage and was not able to cancel the tax payment in time.  Both of which I was advised to do.  I would have been left with a huge late fee from GMAC (possibly dealing with an emergency payment,) and having to pay the thousands for taxes out of pocket (while it is still in the future at this point in the document, the closing date ended up being the day after taxes were due.)

• Finally on the 9th I hear that they could have the loan docs this week and we could close around Thanksgiving, and fund at the end of the month.  Unfortunately my wife could not get any more time off work past the 16th due to lots of coworkers having requested that time off months ago.  It’s a family-heavy time of the year.

Patrick ignored a second question in the email.  Which is usually somewhat normal, but wouldn’t someone who cares about customer service trying to be bending over backwards at this point?  Why wouldn’t they try to get me the loan docs earlier?  They were already paying for a full month of interest in the docs we signed originally.  For the first time I felt like they were trying to take advantage of me rather than just being terrible at their jobs.

• On the 12th I received updated loan docs.  They corrected the credit amount to cover interest through the end of the month, but did nothing else.  They were certainly not apology level figures.  It’s not unfair to draw the conclusion due to nothing else being touched that they were not at all sorry, and in fact did not give a damn.  

• In double checking a reply to Patrick on the 13th for accuracy, I found a forwarded email chain.  In it, Jerrod Riddle (whom I am assuming is Patrick’s boss) or the person using loansbyjerrod@gmail.com states: “However, I would like Patrick’s two pennies as to how the client will see it. I’m sure by now you know that this client (no disrespect intended) doesn’t calculate math the way the rest of us do J.”

I am speechless.  I have no idea how he came to this conclusion – perhaps, because I don’t want to pay for other people’s mistakes I am bad at math?  Or is it the way I repeatedly discover their errors?  Maybe he thinks by attaching the “no disrespect intended” that any behind-the-doors insult is suddenly considered professional conduct?

He goes on: “I just don’t want another situation like we had last week and waste your time if they aren’t going to sign once they get there.  Patrick??? Thoughts???”

This is the one that infuriates me.  Fuck you, Jerrod.  Fuuuuuuuck yooooouuuuu.  I am a father of two including a three month old.  My IT business is so busy I have had to bring on help in the past two months.  I try to have a family life.  My time is extremely valuable to me.  Extremely.  Amazingly.  Valuable.  I do not make meetings just to cancel on them, and I certainly fucking don’t do it while I’m in the middle of active onsite billable work.  How about this?  How about your company doesn’t try to fuck me over, and I will sign the documents Patrick and I have agreed on in advance?

• Now I am in a bind as I desperately want to get out this deal, but I have sunken costs in time spent.  Since I have more business than I can handle, each hour I spend dealing with a new lender represents quite a bit in terms of lost opportunity/income (yes, consultants make a fair chunk per hour to make up for quite a lot of things, including that if they are not actively billing they are making $0/hr.)  I talk with my wife and we decide just to give it one last chance.

• On the 13th I ask the escrow agent if we can sign Friday the 16th at 2pm, and also: “More importantly, does this have even the slightest potential for a repeat of the first signing, where the lender gave you the explicit OK and then changed their mind?”  She replies: “I have personally affirmed in writing with the lender that we are okay to sign these documents on the date that we have scheduled, and I know that they have made certain of it this time.”

• Morning of the 16th: The escrow agent is “quadruple checking” and finds a problem.  I clarified at the signing itself – she literally asked four people at the lender, whom I believe is American Pacific Mortgage (the owner of Infinity Lending Solutions,) and while all said it was OK, when she brought up the max $500 back requirement, they came back and said nope, won’t work.  Must be adjusted.  Which meant I will be out a few hundred bucks.  I saw the error too, but figured that among all the things to argue about, getting money back is not one of them.  I also figured they might know some way around it, and didn’t really care since that’s between the FHA and them.  So we have four people who looked at this issue and apparently all gave it the OK.

What does this mean? How could four people at the lender look at the front page summary and not notice this error?  Especially when the escrow agent did, and I did too – the amateur here.  Is it possible the lender cares so little for the client and customer service in general, that they’d rather see a third signing fail?

In the end, it doesn’t matter.  Whether it is gross incompetence or an attitude that the clients don’t matter compared to money, I strongly recommend everyone stay away from Infinity Lending Solutions and American Pacific Mortgage.

 

Note: I did not mention the escrow agent or company by name because I don’t want them tied into this.  While a careful reading would reveal what a good job they did, I don’t think they gain anything positive from being mentioned here.

Note: If anyone involved in this transaction has corrections I am committed to posting the truth.  Upon presenting reasonable proof I will make changes as needed.  I going to list any changes below this note (with a time/date and what I had said and what the document now says.)  While my site does not provide contact info, if you were involved, you have more info than practically anyone.  Which definitely includes my phone number, address, and email.

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A place for random thoughts.