A woman signed up for Worcester’s senior tax deferral program but the mortgage company adding the unpaid taxes to her monthly statement, so she called the I-Team's Call for Action. WBZ-TV's Cheryl Fiandaca reports.
- Well, a retiree in Worcester thought that a tax deferment program was just what she needed to help her make ends meet.
ANARIDIS RODRIGUEZ: But instead of saving her money, an oversight by the mortgage company made her payments snowball to the point that she worried she would lose her home. That's when she called the I-Team's "Call For Action." WBZ's Cheryl Fiandaca has this story.
CHERYL FIANDACA: Mary Lou Lehigh has lived in this Worcester bungalow for nearly two decades. At 80 years old, she loves the independence it gives her.
MARY LOU LEHIGH: It's the first home that I have of my own. It's like a refuge. It's like a safe place.
CHERYL FIANDACA: But living on a fixed income, even her modest mortgage of $489 was getting tougher to make every month. So she signed up and got approved for Worcester's Senior Tax Deferral Program. It allows her to put off making property tax payments until her house is sold.
MARY LOU LEHIGH: It's for older people over 70 with limited incomes so that they can keep their house.
CHERYL FIANDACA: But her mortgage company, Community Loan Servicing, kept adding the unpaid taxes to her monthly statement. Soon, she owed nearly $2,000 and was getting collection notices.
MARY LOU LEHIGH: It says "notice of default with intent to accelerate." I was just panicked. I didn't know what to do.
CHERYL FIANDACA: Mary Lou called her lender dozens of times over several months but could not get the problem fixed.
MARY LOU LEHIGH: I was watching the news one night and I saw the "Call For Action." And I thought, oh my god, if they can't help me, I'm lost.
CHERYL FIANDACA: We reached out to Community Loan Servicing and Mary Lou got a call from a vice president.
MARY LOU LEHIGH: She was going to do everything.
CHERYL FIANDACA: In a statement, a spokesperson told us "we are pleased that the tax matter has been addressed to the customer's satisfaction, and we are also exploring additional ways that we might be able to offer assistance."
MARY LOU LEHIGH: I am so grateful. I wish I had done it months ago.
CHERYL FIANDACA: In addition to fixing Mary Lou's loan balance, Community Loan Servicing also fixed her credit and is now working on getting her a lower interest rate. Cheryl Fiandaca, WBZ News.
- I'm so glad Cheryl was able to do that, Anaridis, because for an older woman like that-- even though it's a clerical error, that must have been overwhelming. And it gives you a lot of anxiety.
ANARIDIS RODRIGUEZ: Yeah. And so frustrating. And if you're watching the news now, this is proof-- Cheryl gets it done.
- She does
ANARIDIS RODRIGUEZ: We have much more still--