The economic upheaval we have all experienced for the past 4 years has produced a number of nasty surprises. One unfortunate consequence I have increasingly observed from all of this is the practice of various businesses to gouge their customers with bullshit fees and charges. Today's case in point: the good folks at Charles Schwab bank.
I am currently in the process of refinancing the FTI compound. Due to the vastly superior intellectual endeavors and policy position's emanating from our nerve center, we have been in the enviable position of maintaining an assessed value that helps us to qualify for a variable rate mortgage of fixed 2.875% for the first 5 years of the loan with no appraisal necessary. In my mind, that is a pretty sweet deal! Of course, I know of the pitfalls of an ARM, but only plan to use it as a vehicle to eventually have the compound itself mortgage free which will allow for a free cash flow to pursue our ultimate goal: developing an FTI taxidermy studio. But, I digress. One small detail has held me up, however. I do have an open line of home equity credit which acts as a second mortgage held by Schwab bank. And there is the rub.
My line of credit is worth $90,000, but, has a $0 balance owed. I have never used it. I merely opened it as a method to have some available cash if I or Mrs. Kfred ever need it for some type of emergency. The limit, however, is figured into any refinance equation and acts as another debt against my house. The good folks I am refinancing with (Everbank in Jacksonville, Florida) were OK with this open limit and had finished all of my paperwork and merely needed Schwab to sign off on the subordination to hold second place on the mortgage. Schwab got a little nervous about this and insisted that now an appraisal would be in order even though they currently are in second position anyway. In a nutshell, the only thing changing are the terms with my first lender. Schwab is not involved. To make a long story short, I chose to close out my line of credit and informed Schwab bank of my decision. Schwab was "sorry to lose me as a valued customer" and confirmed that I owed nothing on the line, but, would need to generate a payoff statement just the same. I need this document to give to the first lender. So far so good. Here comes the complaint: They could put it in the mail to arrive in 3 days or they could fax it to me for a $20 charge! $20! For a fax! With unlimited long distance minutes, I know it is no longer phone charges. I can't, for the life of me, figure out the labor involved to send a fax. I guess labor must be expensive. I told my customer care representative to drop it in the mail.
I have learned from this experience. I am contemplating making this site a members only/annual membership, paid access type of forum from this point forward. The revenue generated would be nothing but bottom line revenue to apply to the Misfits vacation fund. On deeper analysis, however, perhaps our 2 faithful readers might balk at our anticipated $3000 annual assessment. I might have to think of some alternative methods. I guess I will talk to Chuck.