Someone stole our mortgage payment. How can we get our money back?


Michael and Dorothy Nelson have owned their Edison home since 1985.

Missing mortgage payments aren’t normally part of the couple’s life.

But in December 2019, they received a notification from their mortgage company that their $1,627 payment for the prior month was never received. They would have to make two payments to bring the account current.

But that couldn’t be right, they thought.

They checked their PNC account and saw the check was indeed cashed and the money was out of their account. To make sure their mortgage was current and so their credit wouldn’t be trashed, they sent in the extra payment.

But what happened to the first check?

“We are seniors and need every penny we have,” Dorothy Nelson said. “We’ve been robbed.”

It’s nine months later, and the couple has been caught between two banks that haven’t come up with a resolution.

“I’ve spoken to so many people at PNC Bank, from customer service representatives, managers, executive client relation specialists,” she said. “Every one of them gave me an amount of time needed to `resolve’ this issue.”

But nothing has been resolved.

Here’s a taste of what happened.

PHONE CALLS AND MORE PHONE CALLS

When the couple first learned the payment was missing, they contacted PNC, which said it would look into the matter.

On Jan. 11, Nelson received a copy of the check.

“The check was cashed by Bank of America with no endorsement,” Nelson said.

Over the next few weeks Nelson, made several calls to PNC. Each representative said it would take time to review — three to five days, 10 days and so on — and each time Nelson called back, the bank said it needed more time, she said.

On Jan. 27, a representative said the management team would start to research what happened.

Then on Jan. 30, another rep said there were no notes about the incident, and Nelson would need to fax full copies of her bank statements to show the check had been cashed and money was taken from the account, she said.

So she did.

Into February, there were more calls, and each new representative didn’t seem to know anything about the case, Nelson said.

Finally, on Feb. 12, Nelson said she reached two representatives who seemed on the ball. One sent a request to Bank of America to investigate.

But by March 2, Bank of America hadn’t responded. Nelson was told by PNC to give it another week.

You can imagine what happened next.

Nothing. Nelson said she was told to wait another week.

This went on — wait longer, Nelson was told over and over — until June 5.

That’s when Nelson said she got a call from a PNC investigator who said the bank may reimburse her. She was given a case number, too. That seemed like progress.

More calls. More instructions to wait.

On June 25, a PNC representative said “a letter of resolution” was sent to Bank of America on May 22, and it will take 90 days from that date for a resolution.

But 90 days later, there was no resolution, still.

Nelson was given a new target date: Sept. 8.

Can you guess what happened then?

Nothing.

On Sept. 9, another representative said the case would be escalated, and possibly, PNC would credit her account.

But the next day, still another representative said something different.

“She said PNC cannot help until Bank of America gets back to them and reimburses the money,” Nelson said. “She said that PNC will not reimburse my money to me.”

That was enough for Nelson.

“We’ve lost $1,637 from this and PNC refuses to give us the money and then go after Bank of America to pay them back as I suggested many times,” noting she’s been a long-time “faithful” customer of PNC.

She asked Bamboozled for help.

THAT RESOLUTION, FINALLY

We examined the front and back of the check and the lengthy log of phone calls Nelson kept since the start of this ordeal.

We shared it all with PNC and Bank of America, asking them to review the case. In 24 hours, Nelson got a call.

“He informed me that they received a call from a newspaper journalist regarding my check fraud yesterday afternoon,” Nelson said. “He said PNC is going to make this right for us and the full check amount will be put into our account by the end of the day.”

PNC will continue to investigate with Bank of America to try to recover the funds.

“I really can’t believe that it took me nine months with no resolution and you handled this in one day and we’re getting our money,” Nelson said. “Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

By the end of the day, the money was back in the Nelson’s account.

We went back to PNC and Bank of America to see if they could explain why this took so long. Both banks declined to comment.

Despite the nine-month wait, thanks to PNC for helping this customer.

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Karin Price Mueller may be reached at [email protected].

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