For a couple of weeks after my post about Chase Home Finance's continuing attempts to defraud my wife and me, things were all quiet on the mortgage front, almost. We mailed in our August payment early (just principle and interest, just what we owe), so it would arrive well before August 1st. We can't pay online now, as the "make payment" option automatically includes $563.36 of fictive escrow. We received an email on July 24th acknowledging and thanking us for our payment.

Three days later, the 27th, we received another email saying our mortgage payment was coming due. On August 3th, we received a email saying our mortgage payment hadn't been paid and we received precisely that same message every weekday for the rest of the month. After the 16th, the messages added a $33.71 late fee to the sum we were said to owe.

Evidently, we had not gotten through to them.

It was not for lack of trying. The very day after we received Chase's letter detailing our imagined delinquencies and its latest escrow dreams, we faxed a politer-than-they-deserved letter and the canceled checks, etc. that proved our case. No response. Then we emailed the qualified professionals at Chase Customer Care Online, whose reply made it abundantly clear that no qualified professionals had read our email. Finally, I broke down and called, something I'd hoped to avoid doing, because whenever I speak to a Chase Customer Care professional, my blood pressure spikes, or least it feels that way.

This call was no different. After explaining everything to a Chase Customer Care Pro, I was told I need to explain it all again to a CCC Pro of the Tax Department persuasion. My call was patched through to a guy named Ken (first names only at Chase Customer Care!). Ken took my name, asked me to wait a moment and promptly disconnected me. Called back and spoke to Carmina, who put me through to someone named Synina; maybe I should stick to CCC Pros whose names rhyme? Synina listened politely to my story, assigned our case a work order number, 135331499, and said the matter would take two weeks to clear up.

Two weeks later, we'd heard nothing from Chase aside from ten more emails saying our August payment had not been received.

Then on August 25th, just as we were about to leave town for vacation, August mortgage payment sent off, we received both a letter and a call from Chase. The call came from the Department of Dunning, a bewildered soul who kept repeating that our August payment was due even as I ventilated on the subject of the check the bank has acknowledged and, more important, cashed and, more broadly, the perfidy and general loathsomeness of her employer. Soon I was on the phone w ith JoAnne of the Tax Department. She had a soothing voice and a polite manner and she assured me that the whole situation would be resolved in the not-too-distant.

The letter was from the Chase Insurance Processing Center, informing us that if we didn't send proof of insurance within two weeks, Chase would take out a policy for us and escrow us for it. We thought it odd to hear from the Insurance Processing Center at this moment, since we haven't missed or even been late with an insurance payment since 2006. Does Chase's right hand knows what the left one is stealing? We wondered, faxed proof of insurance and left town in pouring rain, hopeful we might be nearing the end of this particular Chase scam.

We got home a week later. More mail from Chase! Our August payment had been accepted without late penalties or escrow and our neighbor's water bill is now gone from the list of our "delinquencies" (thanks, JoAnne). Still, September mortgage statement states we owe $496.63 in escrow, $66 less than before, but still $496.63 more than we owe.

Perhaps the rapacity would be less galling if JP Morgan Chase didn't lead all other banks in money spent on lobbying congress, or if they hadn't paid a $28 million dollar settlement so the federal government wouldn't pursue charges that Chase deceived borrowers and engaged in abusive practices. A company that spends like that really should stay away from petty larceny; it's unseemly as well as being, you know, criminal.

I'm trying to give Chase the benefit of the doubt. It's been a hot summer (though I bet the corporate mother ship downtown is cool as a wine cellar) and a busy one, what with all the foreclosures and the big-time foot-dragging on those HAMP loan modifications the government pays for.

On the other hand, screw'em. I'm thinking small claims court.