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Another PITA bank issue
Old 08-28-2012, 03:31 PM   #1
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Another PITA bank issue

Over the past month I have been spending some of my spare time dealing with a check forgery issue. My June homeowners association check never arrived but was cashed, I found out when the overdue notice came (with late fee) but saw the debit in my bank account. One month later we have 11 emails & letters with the HOA and 5 with the bank, in addition to 5 telephone calls. Yesterday in the mail I finally received the bank affidavits to be filled by both parties and returned. I know the answer to this, but how do people cope with this crap with they have jobs and no free time?

Stuff happens, this is no different. What irritates me is the bank gives me 30 days to provide them with notarized documents including affidavits from the intended payee, but takes 10 of those 30 days to tell me. Then the HOA assess a $25 late fee each month, as it considers every month to be late until all payments are up to date. Both of these will be resolved as they should, but it is amazing how much busy work these organizations generate. Having dealt with similar, bigger problems in the past, it is clear that some business difficulty and negative attitude is clearly a strategy to discourage people from pursuing legitimate complaints.

My guess is another month, one more late fee, 3 more emails / letters each to the HOA and bank to get this resolved.

Oh - the check was deposited by another back with no endorsement, just an account number.
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Old 08-28-2012, 05:14 PM   #2
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Then would not the other bank be liable since they did not verify? Or am I just kidding myself with thinking that is the way it should be?
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Old 08-28-2012, 05:20 PM   #3
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Just curious if you mailed the check yourself or if you left it in your mailbox for pick up ?
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Old 08-28-2012, 05:29 PM   #4
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Then would not the other bank be liable since they did not verify? Or am I just kidding myself with thinking that is the way it should be?
Yes. No endorsement, just an account number, is common with established business accounts but not retail banking. The bank that accepted and paid is ultimately liable but my bank first wants to confirm that my complaint is legitimate. The lack of an endorsement is apparently not enough.

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Just curious if you mailed the check yourself or if you left it in your mailbox for pick up ?
Bank auto-bill pay. The bank prints and mails the check each month and has been doing so for a couple of years.
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Old 08-29-2012, 07:40 PM   #5
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Yes. No endorsement, just an account number, is common with established business accounts but not retail banking. The bank that accepted and paid is ultimately liable but my bank first wants to confirm that my complaint is legitimate. The lack of an endorsement is apparently not enough.


Bank auto-bill pay. The bank prints and mails the check each month and has been doing so for a couple of years.
Interesting situation especially with the auto-bill pay. At my bank (BOA), if the check does not arrive on time and there is a late charge, the bank pays that late charge. Of course, that is the small part of the problem. Would not the HOA be considerate of the circumstances? Ours would be.
A little explanation should go a long way.
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Old 08-30-2012, 08:22 AM   #6
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So, what do their records show for where they mailed it?

Is your homeowner association managed by a property management firm or by the members of the association.

What I am asking is did this get deposited to the wrong account, and by whom?

-- Rita
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:53 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by JOHNNIE36 View Post
Interesting situation especially with the auto-bill pay. At my bank (BOA), if the check does not arrive on time and there is a late charge, the bank pays that late charge. Of course, that is the small part of the problem. Would not the HOA be considerate of the circumstances? Ours would be.
A little explanation should go a long way.
Should be that way. The bank should pay the late fees and the HOA should be considerate. So far it has not been that way but the late fee issue is still ahead.

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So, what do their records show for where they mailed it?

Is your homeowner association managed by a property management firm or by the members of the association.

What I am asking is did this get deposited to the wrong account, and by whom?

-- Rita
HOA is run by a management company. Bank records show the check was mailed to the correct address - they have sent me 2 letters and 3 emails attesting to this. The property management company confirms it did not cash the check. I do not know who received the funds from the cashed check. I am guessing it was a business because the endorsement is only an account number, something banks usually only do for established business accounts.
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Old 08-30-2012, 10:25 AM   #8
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What a pain. I suppose it must have been misdelivered, and the receiving business deposited the check without even thinking.
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Old 08-30-2012, 11:02 AM   #9
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Never had that happen but seems like what audreyh1 is the most likely cause. They may have deposited a whole stack of received checks and never looked at them.

Maybe take a copy of the cleared check to the bank that accepted the deposit, show them it was not for the account the accepted for and see if they will help.
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Old 08-30-2012, 11:16 AM   #10
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Should be that way. The bank should pay the late fees and the HOA should be considerate. So far it has not been that way but the late fee issue is still ahead.


HOA is run by a management company. Bank records show the check was mailed to the correct address - they have sent me 2 letters and 3 emails attesting to this. The property management company confirms it did not cash the check. I do not know who received the funds from the cashed check. I am guessing it was a business because the endorsement is only an account number, something banks usually only do for established business accounts.
On your last stmt, not quite true... I deposit checks in my bank account all the time without any endorsement.... heck, I just did it about an hour ago... I think I have endorsed one check in the last 5 or so years... the teller said 'you have to sign the back'.... so I did.... most of the time, nothing...


One of the problems is that whoever got the money might not be guilty of anything... if it went to a business that deals with lots of money, it probably went to a lockbox.... the deposit ALL checks that come in no matter what.... send the info to the company and let them sort it out... there might be someone waiting for an invoice to appear in the amount of the check so they can balance their books.....
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Old 08-30-2012, 11:28 AM   #11
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Never had that happen but seems like what audreyh1 is the most likely cause. They may have deposited a whole stack of received checks and never looked at them.

Maybe take a copy of the cleared check to the bank that accepted the deposit, show them it was not for the account the accepted for and see if they will help.
I agree with both comments.

To me a key player in getting this resolved is the bank which actually accepted the check. They should be able to use the account number to track down the check's recipient and return the money to the OP along with some official statement attesting to just what happened so the OP can use it to prove to the HOA that there was an honest mistake through no fault of the OP so the OP can get any late fees waived - we hope!.

The stack of checks theory makes sense to me, too. I recall one time many years ago I switched 2 checks by mistake, mailing the check for the phone bill to the CC company and vice versa. The phone company returned the check but the CC company deposited the one for the phone company as a partial payment (savin me any late fees). I assume the CC company included my check among thousands of checks when they deposited it while the phone company took a closer look at the (wrong) one I sent them and rejected it.
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Old 08-30-2012, 11:46 AM   #12
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Just a thought. I assume the property management company probably handles more than one account. I suspect they received the check - and put it in the wrong pile. But it's a PITA that you have to prove this.
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Old 08-30-2012, 12:08 PM   #13
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US banking regs clearly establish the depository bank as liable for the endorsement. Once my bank presents them with the affidavits of fraudulent endorsement they must reimburse my bank, which then reimburses me. There is no doubt regarding the liability.

The process, however, is lengthy, and the institutions (my bank and HOA) have shifted attitudes over the past decade or two. From "let's see how we can resolve this" they have evolved to "this is your problem, the window to resolve is short & the clock is ticking, there may be fees levied against you anyway".

It's reasonable for the burden of proof to be on me. The cutback in qualified people really shows in situations like this. I've spoken with 5 different individuals across 3 departments in the bank, and aside from a supervisor that appeared qualified the others were one step above a telemarketer, unable to leave their scripts.

The funds were withdrawn but it does not cause us any hardship, I have experience resolving problems with institutions, especially banks, and have the time and patience to see this through. I wonder what happens to others not so fortunate.

Regarding late fees, two have already been assessed. One individual at the bank confirmed they will pay, althought I suspect it will require more forms and some begging. Given the circumstances, I think either the HOA or the management is being greedy and opportunistic.
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Old 08-30-2012, 12:22 PM   #14
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I know it's easy to say after the fact, but I have never, ever trusted bank "bill pay" services that have them mailing physical checks. This is not the only bill-pay mix up I've heard about. Can't your HOA do ACH?
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Old 08-30-2012, 12:28 PM   #15
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Just a thought. I assume the property management company probably handles more than one account. I suspect they received the check - and put it in the wrong pile. But it's a PITA that you have to prove this.
Could be. The have seen the check and affirm they did not receive it, and will also need to sign an affidavit attesting to that.

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I know it's easy to say after the fact, but I have never, ever trusted bank "bill pay" services that have them mailing physical checks. This is not the only bill-pay mix up I've heard about. Can't your HOA do ACH?
I would much rather have the physical check than have them drawing directly from my account. Easier to resolve issues when they appear.
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Old 08-30-2012, 12:59 PM   #16
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I don't think the bank bill pay is the problem. I use it all the time. Seems like maybe the mailman delivered it the wrong box which would happen with any physical piece of mail.

I had situation once where I paid HOA with electronic check, they never got around to depositing it till over 3 months after they recieved it. Well bank automatically cancels electronic check over 90 days outstanding so it didn't go through. They tried to say I hadn't paid... I just said sorry, you got the check and didn't cash it, not my problem.
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Old 08-30-2012, 01:11 PM   #17
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If this was my problem , at this point I would go to the lobby of your bank, call the police and file a crime report at the bank. Banks dont like this kind of thing. When the police arrive at the your bank, your bank will now have to spend a lot of time on this, bank internal security , postal inspectors etc. Now a real p.i.t.a. for the 2 banks. They might just credit your account in short order to make it go away.

Maybe this is like killing a bug with a cruse missle , but it should quickly get the attention of both banks.
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Old 08-30-2012, 01:16 PM   #18
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I know it's easy to say after the fact, but I have never, ever trusted bank "bill pay" services that have them mailing physical checks. This is not the only bill-pay mix up I've heard about. Can't your HOA do ACH?
I asked my Managing Agent (of our co-op) the same thing in the last few years. I was told that it would be too costly (for a relatively small-scale operation) and they would have to pass those costs to those who use the service, unlike the ACH payments I make to much larger entities such as my local phone company, electric comapny, and cable TV provider.

After the PO lost my check in early 2011, I finally switched to online bill-pay where the bank mails a check to the MA's bank every month. That was the MA's suggestion, as many others do the same thing and it has worked fine in the ~1 year I have been doing that. This was my only monthly bill I was still sending out myself so now all of my monthly (not less frequent) bills are on some sort of auto-pilot.
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Old 08-30-2012, 07:29 PM   #19
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As I posted previously, I have been doing online bill pay for about six years now and have never had a problem. The only checks I write now are for birthday gifts and to people that do work for me at our house on a one time basis. Except for the cleaning ladies, all maintenance people are paid through bill pay. Sometimes I pay in cash but a check is proof of payment. Overall, I write very few checks. Let the bank print them and mail them. Better records.
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Old 08-30-2012, 08:02 PM   #20
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If I was making a deposit to my account and endorsing it DEPOSIT ONLY TO and my account number, and was told to sign the check.
I would walk over to the ATM and deposit the check there. FU.
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