A few weeks ago I wrote to you and told you that we paid off our car loan. What I didn’t tell you was all of the drama that was associated with closing out the account for the loan.
We were scheduled the payoff the account around the beginning of April. Since I couldn’t find the coupon book which we received when we originally took out a loan, I scheduled one extra payment to be sent in just to be certain that the full balance was paid.
When the middle of May rolled around and we hadn’t received any correspondence from the bank stating that we had paid off the loan, I got a little worried. I decided to call the bank to find out what was going on with the loan. When I called them, I was told that the loan had been paid in full with the payment that was sent in the beginning of April and that the title and confirmation letter had been mailed out within 10 days of that date.
So that meant that there were two things that I needed to take care of: First I had to figure out exactly what happened to my title. Second, I had to get a refund of that final payment which was sent in towards the end of April.
If you’ve been following this blog for long time, you may remember that we moved two years ago. We turned on mail forwarding with the post office and changed our address with our main banks. After we did that we notice that all of our credit card companies and other financial institutions were alerted to the change of address even though we had not contacted them.
Because of this we did not call the bank which held our car loan because, we assumed (I know, I know) that their information was updated just like all the other banks. So when the bank told me that they mailed out the title and letter by the second week of April, I knew that they sent it to my old address.
I asked him to confirm what address they had on file and, as I expected, it was the old address. So the thought of some stranger having the title to our car was the first thing that came to my mind. Fortunately, the bank let me know that the title and the letter were returned due to an incorrect address. So they were able to mail it back out without any problem.
Although, I must add that when I called in the second time to take care of the other matter, I was told that in 2011 they received a notification to update my address. So that means that whatever system all the banks use to stay up to date with their customers’ address did work. In this case, however, whoever was supposed to make that update to my record failed to do so.
Now that the title was taken care of, I needed to get them to refund that final payment that I had made. I had them look in the system and they indicated that the last payment they showed being applied to my account was the payment that was made in the beginning of April (the one that paid the account in full). They told me that the account was closed as of that date and so it was impossible for any other financial transactions to happen concerning that account.
The way that I handled making payments for my car loan was to set up automatic payments with my bank that went out every four weeks. These payments were done through an electronic transfer from my bank to the bank which held the car loan. So, I was advised to call my bank and ask them to contest that final payment which they transferred over towards the end of April.
When I communicated this to my bank, they attempted to make the call in order to reverse that payment. Unfortunately the bank which held my car loan told them that they were not able to speak to them concerning my account because I had not given them authorization to do so. After getting that straightened out, they were finally able to get the payment reversed and the money put back into my bank account.
What frustrates me about this whole ordeal is that had I called them back in 2011 when we moved, most likely the address change would have taken effect back then and I could’ve also set up an online account so that I can track the details of the car loan. Since we purchased the car we had not been in contact with the bank at all because we set up automatic payments and there was never any need to contact them.
So for me, this was a great lesson and reminder that I need to be on top of these types of issues. Had I taken care of business back in 2011, and not just assumed that the system would correct itself, most likely, I would have avoided having to chase down my title and also making an additional payment and having to wait to have refunded back to me.
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