During 2022, I paid my monthly mortgage payment which included a specific amount set aside in an escrow account, managed by Essex Mortgage, for misc expenses such as our taxes, flood insurance, mortgage insurance, etc.
In December 2022, Essex Mortgage sent me ~$1100.00 without explanation. I later learned that Essex Mortgage failed to correctly set up my escrow account and was, in fact, falsely reporting money paid to Essex Mortgage as allocated to my escrow account for the above mentioned misc expenses.
Turns out the ~$1100 Essex Mortgage sent me was, in fact, the money I had paid during 2022 for the 2023 flood insurance premium. Essex Mortgage failed to make the flood insurance payment on time and were granted a 30 day extension by my insurance carrier, USAA on behalf of FEMA.
Essex Mortgage then failed to pay my flood insurance premium within the 30 day extension that they were granted by USAA. I had already paid Essex Mortgage for the annual flood insurance premium as part of my monthly mortgage payment during 2022. Essex Mortgage falsely reported allocating my mortgage payment, in part, to an escrow account that Essex Mortgage managed specifically to pay for this insurance.
I was forced to pay an additional ~$1500.00 annual flood insurance premium, or risk having my flood insurance canceled due to non-payment and having to secure a new flood insurance policy at a substantially higher rate just to remain compliant with my mortgage terms.
I learned of this error, not from Essex Mortgage, but from USAA, my bank and insurance carrier. USAA reported similar issues with Essex Mortgage earlier in the year when my hazard insurance premium was due. Never once had Essex Mortgage made me aware of a problem. I contacted Essex Mortgage to discuss this issue on several occasions with no resolve. I finally submitted a formal, written complaint to CRBC and only then did someone from the Essex Mortgage Customer Experience Team reach out to me. Unfortunately they did not reach out to help me but rather to increase my annual mortgage by $1500.00 to cover the flood insurance payment for 2023 which I had already paid. Twice.
I advised the Essex Mortgage Customer Experience Team representative that I felt it unfair to ask me to return $1100.00 sent to me from my Essex Mortgage escrow account in error, when I had to pay the $1500.00 flood insurance premium twice. The position that Essex Mortgage has taken was to increase my 2023 monthly mortgage payment by $1500 to recoup the $1100.00 Essex Mortgage sent me by their own mistake. I advised the Essex Mortgage Customer Experience Team representative that I refuse to pay an increase in my mortgage payment for their mistake.
This error has caused a financial hardship for me. I was faced with the difficult decision of whether to forego Christmas presents for my Granddaughters or risk losing my flood insurance WHICH I HAD ALREADY PAID TWICE. I chose to remain fiscally responsible, unlike Essex Mortgage who failed epically in all aspects of their fiduciary responsibility to me. I am quite certain that my account was not the only account set up incorrectly and falsely reported fund allocations that were simply not wrong. I spent several days trying to talk this out with Essex Mortgage, the Insurance Department and Essex Mortgage and Essex Mortgage’s Customer Service Department. Not only was I disrespected by Essex Mortgage employees, I also endured emotional trauma and frustration all caused by Essex Mortgage.
Although Essex Mortgage has apologized for their error, Essex Mortgage has done nothing to correct their error except attempt to increase my monthly mortgage payment for 2023. This is an unacceptable resolution. I suggest that Essex Mortgage absorb the $1500.00 needed to repay my escrow account and keep my monthly payment at the amount that I agreed to pay in the terms of my home purchase – because the fault is theirs. They screwed up and they got caught. Call it an act of good faith, acknowledgement of the harm that they caused me, or whatever they would like to call it but it is ludicrous to increase my mortgage payments to cover an error that they created and for which I have already paid – twice.
This dispute has been going on since the end of December 2022. Essex Mortgage is aware of my request but has not agreed to it. Now it is 2 months later – 60 days since I found out that Essex Mortgage mismanaged my money. Still no resolve. I am posting this complaint for everyone and anyone to read as I know my account is not the only account that Essex Mortgage has mismanaged money for or falsely reported fund management.
My hope is that once others read this, they will come forward with their story as well. Together in a class action suit, Essex Mortgage can be forced to address real complaints from real home owners that they are screwing out of their homes. Instead of absorbing the $1500.00 now, they can absorb the entire purchase price of my home. By the time the lawyers get involved and get their cut, Essex Mortgage will be out of business.