Thursday, September 10, 2009

CitiMortage and Life Under the Big Top....Look Out! Here Comes the Clown Car!

My wife and I have had the displeasure for almost a year now of trying to sell our home. Because she was taking a new job in a new town, it was necessary to put the house up for sale. When we first started out on what can only be termed as a "exercise in angst and humility", we thought, let's put it up for sale by owner. Our thinking was, why do we want to give money away by hiring a real estate agent. Besides, my wife is a real estate attorney and she for the most part knew the In's and out's of the real estate world. As part of full disclosure here, we like a lot of people in this country had been struggling to make our mortgage payments. For one reason or another, it was just difficult. It was our own fault and this is not a "poor me" entry. I now bring your attention to the wonderful company that handled our mortgage, CitiMortage. For the better part of three years we have had to deal with this company. Unfortunately. These clowns, and I use this term, because everytime we would call them, we got a different person. Like the famous clown cars at the circus, they just kept coming at us, or in this instance, given to us.

CitiMortage customer service, or "clowns" as they shall be known for the rest of this rant are such for many reasons. The first, as mentioned above, is because we could never get just one person to handle our account. Now, I say this, and on more than one occasion, it was told to us that just one "clown" would handle our account. This was a lie. Everytime I called or heaven forbid my wife called and I would want to speak to my "clown", I was told either they were unavailable or that they did not handle my account. Remember now, clown car antics at its finest. In one side of the car and right out the other, never doing or able to do a thing. They would have my head either spinning so hard or hurting so bad that I would literally have to lie down after talking to them! Second, and I mentioned this above, but my wife trying to talk to them on the occasions when I was not available was another exercise if futility. The "clowns" would say something along the lines that they did not have authorization to talk to her and would have to have written, faxed authorization to do so. No problem, done, EVERYTIME AFTER SHE WOULD CALL AND WAS TOLD SHE WAS NOT AUTHORIZED! Now, I am not the sharpest pencil in the cup and have been known not to follow directions very well, but after about the tenth time, we just gave up. How many damn times do you actually lose something? Remember this part too, oh is there more to come on this. So as a review so far, multiple people to talk to, none of which have a clue about our account and second, they can't receive a simple fax to authorize a main contributor to the mortgage. Along those lines, everytime I talk to a "clown" they say that our conversation is recorded and that they type notes pertaining to our account. When I have questioned them as to why I have to give the same answers over and over again when they should be in their system, I am told that "no notes exist for this account". So all this time, you are just giving me lip service and trying to pump sunshine up my butt when the whole time its nothing more than pickle juice. I felt like that poor sap they bring out of the crowd at the circus and they lean in too far to smell the flower and get squirted with water! There are more issues than what I have wrote out here. One I don't bore you and second I just get pissed off everytime I have to recall all their acts of stupidity. But, you've got your background, now comes the fun part!

As I mentioned before, my wife and I are trying to sell our home. The whole "For Sale By Owner" bit just did not work out. It was just way too involved for us. In November, the wife had moved to our new town and I just didn't have the time nor resources to put forth the effort needed. As it would happen, a local real estate agent came by and wanted to list our home. Great! Go for it! I phoned the wife and told her the good news. She was on board and off we went listing the house. At first we listed our home for what we needed to get to get out from under our mortgage. Forget making money, the economy was and is still shot, we just needed a clean break. We cut a deal with CitiMortage that cut our payments in half, the one and only thing I can say that they did right for us, and then cut our price on the home for what the market would bear and prepared for a short sale. The house got plenty of looks, but no offers. Then one day, offer number one came in and came in way short, thanks but no thanks. Then, and here is where my final straw with CitiMortage begins. We got an offer on the house and it was for the full asking price at the revised price. The wife and I were so excited, we thought, this is it, we are going to get out from under the house and save a little money and really begin to settle down in our new town. The offer came in on August 6th of this month, our agent sent the paperwork to CitiMortage the next day, August 7th, a Friday. The fun is about to begin! The following Monday, our agent calls CitiMortage and a "clown" answers. Sorry ma'am, nothing has come through on our computer fax pertaining to the offer. OK, no problem, its just Monday, probably be in on Tuesday. Call back the next day, guess what, you got it! Nothing on the computer fax. So she faxes again and again, and again! Four times it took the "clowns" to receive our information. The next step is for someone to review it. By this time its been almost two weeks since the second offer came in. After more "clowns" give our agent the run around, it is finally given to someone to review, for real this time! We should have an answer in thirty days. Whatever, I'm just glad they haven't lost anything this time. This brings me to today, September 10th. Over a month since the offer was made and we get news today that our buyer is no longer interested because it is taking too long to get answers. When our agent finds this out she does her best to hold onto the buyer, she even calls CitiMortage and even though they said it was going to take thirty days to get an answer, we get an answer today that they accept the offer! Sorry charlie, buyer is out, on to other houses. Thank you CitiMortage! Because of your procrastination and incompetence, we are not stuck with the house longer and really don't know if we are going to be able to continue to make payments, can you say Foreclosure? Happy days are ahead! I plan on sending this to as many people as possible in the hopes it ends up in front of someone that runs CitiMortage. When they see this, I hope they are embarrassed and ashamed. If all business in this country were run like this, we as Americans would be the laughing stock of the world! I sure hope Sanjiv Das, CEO of CitiMortage, is proud of the work he and his company have done, because this is one American family he has really worked over!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Southern Tradition Continues...

As I set out on that most maiden of voyages, my first blog, my mind raced as to what should be my first entry. There were a lot of ideas. My interests range from NASCAR, softball, professional and college sports, and just in general whatever life has to offer on a daily basis. In the end though I settled on the subject that at the end of the day that is closest to my heart, with apologies to my wife, college football. More specifically the University of Georgia Bulldogs.

Nowadays all over the South, from Athens to Tuscaloosa with stops along the way in Knoxville, Tallahassee, Auburn, and dare I say Gainesville, fans are gearing up for Opening Day Kickoff. You can absolutely smell it! There is excitement everywhere! In Athens, they are breaking in a new quarterback and running back, in Gainesville, they are reloading for a chance at a repeat national championship, and in Knoxville, they are just hoping to get through the first year without their coach getting lynched for some of his comments in the preseason. Its time for Tiger Walk, in Auburn, the girls are rarin' to go in their sundresses and mint juleps at the Grove at Ole Miss. UGA VII is getting his teeth sharpened ready to take a bite out of an opposing player, Chief Oseola and Renegade are getting their spear ready to stab at midfield. In Alabama, students are scouring the stores looking for just the right Hounds Tooth hat. Tradition is everywhere and so is the food. Ribs, BBQ, seafood, homemade potato salad, corn on the cob, and boiled peanuts. Go to any tailgate party throughout the South and you will find any one of these items and for sure you are bound to find someone with all of the above. Diets die on Fall Saturdays in the South.

Now back to my beloved Bulldogs. Traditions and rituals abound in and around Athens on game day. For myself, it starts on Friday. More precisely, its Red Friday. You will find me wearing something red and usually something that has Georgia on it. Another tradition that I strictly adhere to is that the wife, during football season, is not allowed to wear orange. Under no circumstances will I be seen in public from September to January 1st if she is wearing orange. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. She doesn't like it, but hey, this is about me, not her. Now on the occassions that I do get to go to a game in Athens, its absolutely puts me in sensory overload! The color, the people, the smells, everything about the campus is electric! You have Dawg Walk, where the players walk into the stadium with the crowd lined up on the sidewalk doing various cheers, you have the pregame introduction of UGA VII, you have the playing of Glory, Glory and after games when there is a victory, there is the ringing of the Chapel Bell. The first game I attended was back in 2004. I cried. To look out and see the awesome spectacle that is Sanford Stadium was just emotional. From the famed Hedges that line the field, to the big G at midfield, the Granite Bulldog Statue that serves as the final resting place for the previous mascots, to again, all the people, it is just a special place. Now I could go on and on and I hope that the few words I put down here paint a beautiful picture, but in the end there are no words that can do justice to what a wonderful place Athens, Georgia is on fall Saturdays. You may not be a Georgia fan and that is ok, but for this ole boy, there ain't no place I'd rather be than in Athens come September. GO DAWGS!