Whatever you pay adds up to pounds 192

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The Independent Online
PAYING a lump sum off your mortgage should be one of the few pleasures in life, writes Sue Fieldman.

In November, a reader in Hertfordshire went to her local branch of the Nationwide Building Society to pay in a lump sum of pounds 1,000 to reduce her mortgage. She handed over her cheque for pounds 1,000 and did not look at the receipt until she got home. It was for pounds 192.67 - the amount of her monthly mortgage repayment.

She returned to the branch for an explanation. Apparently the computer had been expecting my monthly payment of pounds 192.67 and it was impossible to print a receipt for the amount of the cheque,' she said.

She was given a handwritten receipt for pounds 1,000. But some days later another receipt turned up from head office for pounds 807.33 (pounds 1,000 minus pounds 192.67).

She wrote to back, asking for clarification. After seven days , she wrote again. This time she claimed pounds 25 compensation for her time spent writing letters, two visits to the branch, photocopying, telephone calls and parking charges.

She received an immediate apology and a cheque for pounds 25.

A Nationwide spokesman said: 'If someone comes into a branch to make a lump sum payment and the monthly mortgage payment has not already gone through, the computer will automatically credit part of the lump sum to the monthly payment. It is adjusted later.

' We are looking at the system to see if it can be changed.'