1. Yes, it's a whole new look! Have questions or need help? Please post your question in the New Forum Questions thread Click the X to the right to dismiss this notice
  2. Seeing tons of unread posts after the upgrade? See this thread for help. Click the X to the right to dismiss this notice

HOA Question Questionable billing practices at First Service Residential/Armstrong.

Discussion in 'Broadlands Community Issues' started by boomertsfx, Nov 12, 2013.

  1. boomertsfx

    boomertsfx Booyakasha!

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2002
    Messages:
    2,257
    Likes Received:
    32
    We've lived here since 2002 and have paid our HOA assessments automatically via online banking (First Virginia/BoA) since then, you know, to save on paper/labor/etc (do people really use those paper payment coupons??). In the early years I think the bank cut a check and mailed it out, but as Armstrong modernized their billing systems, payments got transmitted electronically and you could, if you wanted, pay a bill from your online banking to arrive the next day.

    We've always set our townhouse assessment to automatically arrive on the 10th of the month (set it and forget it!), which had been working just fine since January 2007. In fact, I have account statements from FS that document the fact that they always received our electronic payment on or before the 10th (using a service called FISERV - I guess that's a company that helped them accept electronic payments). In or around July 2012 there was a change in the billing system (presumably at Armstrong's end - FISERV disappears) and our payments, which still arrived on or before the 10th, started being posted into their system on the ~15th, thus triggering a late fee, late flags every month, and starting in July 2013, late notices that we were charged $5.46 for the honor of receiving. Of course any change in billing system should be transparent to homeowners.

    So, beginning in late July 2013 we've been dealing with horrible communication from the management company where they will say someone will call us back, emails go unanswered (including a "late fee waiver" for the HOA board to waste their time on!), etc. Luckily today I've finally received a response from them, likely due to me CCing our GM Sarah. FS/Armstrong is resisting and saying it's my fault my payments are being posted late. So far we've accumulated almost $150 in late fees due to this system issue and hope to resolve it soon, but I figured I would post my experiences in case anyone else has to go through something like this.

    Obviously the "hack" for this particular issue is to compensate for their slow billing system by sending payments a few days earlier (which I've already done), but my main beef is their refusal, so far, to refund their bogus late fees and fees to receive notice of the late fee via snail mail (even though I've been signed up for their Armstrong Connect/My Community Site for ages!)

    Sorry for venting, but I wanted to post on our experience in case anyone else has this issue. =) I'll follow up on any resolution.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2013
    TeamDonzi likes this.
  2. KTdid

    KTdid Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Messages:
    3,116
    Likes Received:
    75
    Even though you have a grace period, payments are due on the 1st of the month. I set up an auto payment through the CU with instructions to deliver payment by the 1st but if the 1st falls on the week end the payment is delivered the Thursday or Friday before.
     
  3. boomertsfx

    boomertsfx Booyakasha!

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2002
    Messages:
    2,257
    Likes Received:
    32
    Sure, I know that, and I don't even remember why I had set it to the 10th to begin with, but it had been paying for 5+ YEARS no problems, and I had a CREDIT of ~160$ at one point in 2012 for paying too much.

    In fact, I'm pretty sure I had it set to pay really early in the month... I'm not one to pay bills at the last moment :) Regardless, their system changed in 2012 (and I had not touched my end of the bill pay in 5 years, other than to increase when assessments increased) and affected my account by not posting the payments on the correct day.

    And it still doesn't excuse their lack of communication all the while continuing to charge late fees while we get to the bottom of it. Obviously I'm not some dead beat that is never paying their bill =)
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2013
    TeamDonzi and chris67 like this.
  4. luftinarr

    luftinarr Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2005
    Messages:
    1,221
    Likes Received:
    6
    I had a similar experience where the funds did not come out on the day I expected them to so I emailed and called. They said there were billing updates on their end and that the funds would be withdrawn immediately. That happened only once (a couple months ago) and ever since we're back on the payment coming out on the 2nd (and it's been like this for years as well). I also seem to recall some kind of negative news lately regarding FISERV. I don't remember it, but the company name I remembered.
     
  5. redon1

    redon1 aka Aphioni

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2005
    Messages:
    5,929
    Likes Received:
    69
    we had similar issues with them trying to charge late fees even and poor comms on system changes. those who know my husband know that we did NOT end up paying any late fees, and haven't had problems since he cleared matters up with a manager. :)
     
    TeamDonzi likes this.
  6. TeamDonzi

    TeamDonzi ShowMeTheMoney!

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Messages:
    716
    Likes Received:
    2
    Boomer, I now am having the same issue as you. In fact I was told my account was cleared of late fees, but lo and behold....got a new letter saying I owe them $100 now. Of course I will not pay and frankly don't care what they 'do' to me about it. I believe that they are jacking the system to make extra money. If there are more people out there, they should post here.
     
  7. FSR

    FSR New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    If you are using an electronic service, you should allow at least 72 business hours for the payment to post to the account. That means a payment should exit your account no later that the 7th of each month to post to the account on the 10th. To ensure a payment on time, have the withdraw on the 6th. There is always direct debit program which withdraws money the first three business days of the month.
     
  8. TeamDonzi

    TeamDonzi ShowMeTheMoney!

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Messages:
    716
    Likes Received:
    2
    Yes, I backed it up to the 6th, however....FSR and I share the same electronic bank, so when my money leaves my acct on the 6th, it's credited to their acct no later than the 7th. I get confirmations for this, but somehow magically, FSR claims they don't get it in time. Same bank, quick transfer.....it makes no sense, except for the fact that they racked up $12,000 in late fees last year and plan to do the same for 2014.

    Oh, and I used to use Direct Debit, but FSR started taking the money out on random dates. We don't get paid on random dates, so this was a budgeting problem.
     
  9. kevinq

    kevinq Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2006
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    47
    I get that to avoid late payments, you have until the 10th of the month for payment, but the payment due date is the 1st of the month. It seems to me that the 9 days between the actual due date and the late payment date is to allow for processing time. By scheduling to pay 5 days after the due date, you cut into the allocated processing time that ensures that there is not a late payment. The electronic funds transfer into the First Service account does not appear to equal application of funds to your personnel HOA account. Processing time still applies.
     
  10. flynnibus

    flynnibus Well-Known Member Forum Staff

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2002
    Messages:
    5,230
    Likes Received:
    210
    Pay on due date.. not late date. Problem solved.
     
  11. TeamDonzi

    TeamDonzi ShowMeTheMoney!

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Messages:
    716
    Likes Received:
    2
    Flynn, I hope you're not one that pays way too much in taxes then looks forward to a refund of your own money.

    3 days before late date isn't late, plus I pay my mortgage first, then electric. Paycheck rolls in on the 5th, not the 1st. It's a timing issue. The confirmations I get say they are credited to my account, like this:

    Your payment to FirstService Residential was sent electronically for delivery on 12/06/2013.
    Your payment was posted to your FirstService Residential account on 12/07/2013.

    Again, never had a problem in the 8 years I've lived here, enter FSR. Immediately when FSR took over or changed names, the problems began, just like it happened with Boomertsfx, at the beginning of this conversation.

    Y'all can chat about paying your bills early if you want to and chastise me for not paying early. Doesn't always work out and If a bill is paid before it's considered late, it's on time and I'm pretty sure these confirmations would hold up in a court of law, which is becoming more and more likely.

    Attn: FSR poster, who is Shayla Love and why does she send emails under the name Camille Reed? Who's who over there?

    Ciao guys
     
  12. flynnibus

    flynnibus Well-Known Member Forum Staff

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2002
    Messages:
    5,230
    Likes Received:
    210
    It is late.. it's past the DUE date. Your line of thinking is exactly why everyone gets punished in the end. They give you an inch, you take a foot. The company gives you a grace period after the due date to account for the unforeseen and you take that as redefining when the bill is due. The bill is DUE on the due date, not the 'we charge you late fees after this date'.

    Most mortgage companies also give you 10-15 days before charging the late penalty... doesn't mean it's not due on the 1st.

    I'm not suggesting you pay early - I'm suggesting you pay when they are DUE. If it's a matter of timing, then adjust the month before one time so you have the money on the previous pay cycle and not the one on the 5th.
     
  13. cogs

    cogs Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Messages:
    379
    Likes Received:
    51
    FSR does take a long time to account the monies they received. I have seen them take 6 days after they received the check which is unusually long time. Once the payments which went out of my bank on 7th of the month was accounted on 13th by BHOA and 14th by SWHOA.

    In the case of FSR, that "we charge you late fees after this date" should read "we charge you late fees if we dont account for you money by this date".
     
  14. flynnibus

    flynnibus Well-Known Member Forum Staff

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2002
    Messages:
    5,230
    Likes Received:
    210
    But still WELL below the time between the due date and late fee date. So if you pay by the due date, how long it takes them to process it is of no concern. Instead of trying to live on the edge and bleed when you get cut.. pay when the bill is advertised as DUE.

    Sometimes people make things way more complex than needed...
     
  15. cogs

    cogs Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Messages:
    379
    Likes Received:
    51
    You are missing the point. Irrespective of when the data entry was done, payment receipt date should be the date they received the payment. When one pays over the phone, money is debited from the bank immediately, but FSR considers the payment receipt date 2-3 days later when the data entry is done.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2014
  16. kevinq

    kevinq Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2006
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    47
    I agree with flynnibus' point - no matter if it takes 2, 3, ...or 9 days to process the payment, if you pay by the Due Date (1st of the month), a homeowner does not have to worry about late payment fees.
     
    flynnibus likes this.
  17. flynnibus

    flynnibus Well-Known Member Forum Staff

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2002
    Messages:
    5,230
    Likes Received:
    210
    Fsr is not unique in this. go on a credit card website and see when 'payments will be posted to your account...' Even tho you paid them directly and they know you did. You will still pay a late fee even tho they know you authorized a payment if the posting date is after the due date.

    Due date is due date.

    Fsr may not be fast in this regard but they don't need to be if you just follow the rules from the start.
     
  18. cogs

    cogs Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Messages:
    379
    Likes Received:
    51
    Flynnibus,

    I agree that payment is due by the due date. No arguments there.

    But the 10 days grace period is not a decision of FSR. BHOA and SWHOA governing documents clearly state that assessments not paid within 10 days of the due date are considered delinquent and subject to late fees. That means, any payments received by FSR between 1st of the month and 10th are the month are NOT delinquent, irrespective of when FSR does the data entry.

    In light of the homeowners raising the issue of FSR taking long time to process the payment and possibly charging the late fees, it is up to both HOAs to decide the proper course of action. One action would be your argument, if you paid by the due date this wouldnt have happened to you. Second and more appropriate action would be asking FSR to account for all payments received by the 10th of the month as timely payments irrespective of when FSR gets around to processing them.

    BTW, that "payments will be posted to your account..." of the credit card is just a matter of posting, ie moving the data across several systems. If I make the payment online or on the phone on 15th of the month, I may not see the payment in my account until the 17th, but when it appears, payment date would still be 15th.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2014
  19. flynnibus

    flynnibus Well-Known Member Forum Staff

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2002
    Messages:
    5,230
    Likes Received:
    210
    Please cite the text because it may not include the protections you interepret the text to include.

    As for what is 'more appropriate' as soon as you tell me you intentionally schedule your payment PAST the due date every month I have no sympathy if you got bit.

    No I was referring to that just because you paid on the web on one day, you may not get credit for having paid that day. There are cut off times and processing before many will give you credit for... (And many will charge extra to take the payment live via agent and credit for same day).

    Could fsr do things faster? Yes, but what is limiting them? Dunno...

    Would I be motivated to press them hard over this? Not likely when the ones claiming the worst impact are those who abuse the grave period intentional.
     
  20. cogs

    cogs Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Messages:
    379
    Likes Received:
    51
    Section 6.5 of BHAO Declaration:
    I suspect this has always been the policy of Armstrong and with the change in Armstrong management agent and its management, things fell thru the cracks.
     

Share This Page