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Refinancing estimate off, but bank won’t budge on its application fee

Updated: April 19, 2011 4:53AM



Dear Fixer: I went to Chase Bank to make a mortgage payment, and a loan officer told me I could lower my monthly payment by $190 if I refinanced. She quoted me a rate of 5.625 percent. She told me my closing costs would be no more than $2,700.

I paid a $395 application fee. A few days later, I got the good-faith estimate and it said my closing costs were nearly $4,200. Instead of saving $190 a month, my payment would only drop by $135 a month.

I called Chase to ask why, and the woman told me not to worry, that the numbers would be what she said at closing. We set up the closing. On that day, the numbers hadn’t changed, so I didn’t go through with the closing.

Now Chase refuses to refund my $395. Anything you can do to help me recover my money would be very much appreciated.

Jeff Olson, Oak Lawn

Dear Jeff: We’re not sure what happened with the numbers, but we do know you should always go with what’s written down, not someone’s oral promise. When we contacted Chase about this, they wouldn’t budge. The feeling was that since you had the good-faith estimate and still decided to go forward, you forfeited the $395 fee.

We wish we had better news. Next time you — or anyone else looking to refinance to a lower rate — should be sure to shop around. Once you decide what length of loan works best for you, do some online comparison shopping. Some places to start are Bankrate.com, QuickenLoans.com and LendingTree.com. Compare what you find there with your bank or credit union (credit unions often have good deals for their members).

Make sure you understand all the costs and fees associated with the loan. Some places advertise “no closing costs” but they hide the fees for the appraisal, title search and legal charges in a higher interest rate.

Another good online tool is at interest.com, where you can calculate what interest rate you can afford. Good luck.

Getting the runaround about a consumer problem? Tell it to The Fixer at www.suntimes.com/pcds/ssl/scn/fixer.html. If you don’t have a computer, you can mail a brief description of your problem, along with your name, address and telephone number, to: The Fixer, The Beacon News, 495 N. Commons Drive, Suite 200, Aurora, IL 60504. Don’t send original documents. Due to the large volume of submissions, The Fixer can’t make personal replies. Letters are edited for length and clarity.



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