A never ending car payment

11:24 PM, Nov 11, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- "I had student loans for school, so a loan was going to be the perfect way to get a car," says Jenny Guarino.

Jenny got her Subaru in 2006.  By October 4, 2011, she'd save up enough to pay it off.  She went to the Wells Fargo branch near the Navy Yard and paid just over $1500 in cash to get her title.

"I had waited the two to three weeks, and I was kinda curious as to what was going on," Guarino says.

The title never came.  But, another bill did.  So, Jenny made a call to the bank.

"I talked to a lady and she says, oh, this is a mistake.  For some reason your account came over here.  I see in my system that it's all paid in full.  Everything is great," she says.

This began Jenny's two year journey to finally get total ownership of her car.  She had the paperwork saying her account had been paid in full.  And, bank employees told her it was a problem on their end.  But, Wells Fargo kept billing her for the money she thought she'd already paid.  When she hit a wall, she contacted WUSA 9 Call For Action.

Here's what our team found.  Bank employees told Jenny she owed just over $1500 to pay off her loan.  But that number was too high because those employees failed to account for her pending monthly automatic loan payment. 

When Jenny paid the amount, the bank applied part of her payoff to the loan, and without notifying Jenny, refunded the difference to her personal checking account.

Jenny closed her checking account several days later, but she didn't notice the refund.  With her checking account closed, the pending automatic payment didn't clear.  But, the bank never told her that they now considered her account delinquent.  She found that out when she called to ask the bank when it would mail her title.

"It's just a headache," she says.

A headache because Jenny had been going around in circles.  Her documents showed the loan was paid in full.  Yet, the bank argued it wasn't.  Wells Fargo wouldn't budge and reported the outstanding payment to the credit agencies.

"Is this a stain? Would you call this a stain," says WUSA 9 anchor Lesli Foster

"Yes, yes, it's a stain on my record," Jenny Guarino says.

Wells Fargo and Jenny have gone back and forth through the years.  Jenny's stand was she would pay that remaining balance, but she wanted the bank to help her restore her credit.

At one point, Wells Fargo put that in writing.  Somehow, that deal fell apart.  Until now.

Jenny received a letter from the bank after we worked out a deal by phone last month.  In it Wells Fargo agreed to accept Jenny's payment minus fees and interest, and pledged to work on her behalf to clean up her credit reports.

In a statement, Wells Fargo Vice President of Consumer Lending Communications, Natalie M. Brown says, "Our goal is to work with our customers to successfully manage their debts and payoff their loans.  We are pleased that, after working with Ms. Guarino for over a year, we have come to a mutually agreeable solution."

Jenny's happy to finally put this whole ordeal behind her.

She says, "I think if it were not for Call For Action I don't think I would be able to here."

Once Jenny realized the bank snafu, she agreed to pay that money.

But, she believed, as we did, that the bank should also help restore her credit.

Our team worked hard to get a resolution, and we want to help you, too.

Click on the WUSA 9 Call For Action link to file a complaint or call our hotline at 301-652-HELP (4357)

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