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Car paid off, but he never gets title

Updated: February 11, 2012 1:15AM



Dear Fixer: I’m hoping you can help me. In 2007, I bought my daughter a new Chevy Cobalt. The car was financed through US Bank.

I paid the loan off on April 19 this year. The bank told me I would get my lien release and title within 30 to 60 days.

I never got the title, so I called US Bank’s main number to let them know. That was in June. They told me they would send me a copy of the title and I should receive it in 7 to 14 days.

In the meantime, I did receive the lien release letter, but still no title. In October, I decided to go to a branch by my house. After a month of talking to them, I was told that US Bank had sent out the title and since I did not receive it, I needed to go to the Illinois Secretary of State’s office and pay $95 to get a duplicate.

All I know is if I do not receive a utility bill because of the mail, it is still my responsibility to pay the bill. Is it not US Bank’s responsibility to send me a copy of the car title?

John Grano, Addison

Dear John: The Fixer was about to strap on the ol’ anti-gravity suit to climb into the black hole your title had fallen into, but happily, there was no need. US Bank came up with a much easier fix. Spokeswoman Lisa Clark told us that while it is true that they mailed the title on April 25, they wanted to get this resolved for you. They have sent you another lien release and a check for $95 made out to the Illinois Secretary of State, so all you have to do is go get that duplicate title.

Dear Fixer: On Nov. 17, I called my bank-by-phone number to budget what I had for groceries. To my surprise, my account was in the negative by $96.24.

This was caused by a debit of $122.48 from Comfort Suites in Columbia, Mo. My family had stayed there a few days earlier. They had charged my debit card — which was given to them for incidentals only — instead of putting the charges on my husband’s credit card, which was used for the reservation.

I called the hotel and they said if my husband would call with his credit card information, they would credit my account and put the $122.48 on his card. So he did that, and they charged his card.

Meanwhile, I asked my bank if they would remove the $34 overdraft fee. The teller found there was now a second debit of $122.48 that had just been charged!

The bank kindly removed the overdraft fee, but stated that if the account was still negative the following Monday, I would be assessed daily fees of $8. I live paycheck to paycheck.

I also was assessed $10 for moving money from my savings in an attempt to cover this.

I complained again to the hotel, but the next day, my balance remained at negative $204.48. I also had a second $34 overdraft fee.

The bank was kind enough to remove the second overdraft fee and suggested I file a dispute.

I know that human error is not only possible but inevitable. But I haven’t heard a single apology from anyone in authority at Comfort Suites.

Julie Modesto, Portage, Ind.

Dear Julie: It’s common for hotels to place a “hold” or “block” on a credit or debit card to make sure they get paid, but this was beyond screwed up. Normally, the hold gets removed when the transaction goes through. That can take up to 15 days if payment is made on another card (as was done here, when they finally put this on your hubby’s card). But why they debited your account twice is anyone’s guess.

We took this to Choice Hotels International, which apologized and promised to follow up with the independently owned hotel. There, you got less satisfaction — just an e-mail from a manager thanking you for staying there and not directly addressing your issue.

In the end, you told us, your bank acted on the dispute and the second debit was taken off. You were lucky to not incur any $8 daily fees. As for that $10 fee for moving money from your savings, we asked Choice Hotels International to help you out, but never did get a response.

Getting the runaround over a consumer problem? Tell it to The Fixer at www.newssunonline.com, where you’ll find a simple form to fill out. You’ll also find a list of consumer contacts and tips.



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