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Personally track a package/envelope (GPS or other sneakiness?)

Posted on 2009-05-11
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Last Modified: 2013-11-10
I know for a fact that the bank (The uber-evil Bank of America) that holds my mortgage is defrauding me.  I have a fifteen day grace, although any payment sent after the beginning of the grace is charged the after-grace fee, without fail, unless I use the "Delivery Confirmation" service offered by the post office (or other carriers).

This has been verified multiple times, and even the post office employees have told me this is a common complaint of mortgage payers.

The problem is, I can't sue Bank of America because I have no proof.  If the bank sees the payment come in with confirmed delivery, then they obviously know that I've got my eye on them, and don't try to defraud me.

So, I need a solution - namely I need to mail them payments which only I am aware are being tracked, and then sue them when they attempt to fraudulently charge me.  Obviously, I'd need to do this several times to establish a pattern of fraud in court, so the solution can't cost too much (although maybe I get lucky and they offer a big settlement if I keep my mouth shut).

Any ideas?

Thanks,
-Jon
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Question by:The--Captain
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11 Comments
 
LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:aleghart
ID: 24363632
Or...you can pay your mortgage on time and stop complaining.

Honestly, the effort you're spending on trying to "beat the man" could be spent on licking the stamp and walking to the post office.

You'll get some exercise to boot.

Take the money on Rube Goldberg envelopes, lost work, travel, dry cleaning your suit, and parking at the courthouse....and pay your mortgage one paycheck earlier.  Then, you're two weeks early (or right on time) instead of two weeks late.

Then, you can write any nasty thing you want on the envelope.  Flip the stamp upside-down.  Include a coupon for K-Y...whatever gets your sentiment across.
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:Mark
ID: 24363906
0
 
LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:lherrou
ID: 24364215
The--Captain,

Or pay online. It's fast, easy, and the payment takes place when you schedule it for.

Cheers,
LHerrou
0
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:knoxzoo
ID: 24368813
Unless you can make friends with the postal worker who delivers your mail to BofA, there's no way for you to do what you want cheaply and discretely.  If you can make friends with him/her, and he's/she's willing to log receipt and delivery dates for you, you might have a shot.  

The least expensive option, beyond sucking up to postal employees, would be prepaid cellular phones with GPS that you can track online.  But, that's still going to be very costly, and not the least bit subtle, given it would be virtually impossible to make anyone believe you accidentally mailed your cell phone, or the GPS tracker sparkmaker mentions (cute but mucho expensive).
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LVL 16

Author Comment

by:The--Captain
ID: 24381173
Yes, I know sending it earlier *might* avoid some of these problems - however, it is by no means guaranteed, due to the inherent uncertainty of delivery times when using the USPS.

Does it concern no one that Bank of America is perpetrating fraud upon likely countless numbers of our fellow citizens, to the probable tune of thousands if not millions of dollars each month?  These scammers get you coming and going (since the last time I checked, my taxes were paying to bail out these greedy charlatans).

If I were to complain about the dismal state of our nation's prison system and requests ideas to help improve it, would your advice simply be to not get arrested?

Frankly, I believe this [personal mailer tracking] is an idea who time has come - my old phone company (before being absorbed by Ma Bell - oops, I mean AT&T) got smacked down by the courts for not putting a postmark on their outgoing bills, thus lacking required proof for their subsequent charging of late fees (kinda hard to pay that bill on time if it arrives on or after the due date).  Of course, the arrogant AT&T has reverted back to the old practice of omitting postmarks (yes, I know about USPS not requiring certain bulk mailing to bear external postmarks, but they're flaunting the prior judgment quite obviously).

>Once you receive your mail, plug in the GPS Mail Loggers MicroSD card and find out
>where your mail has been in seconds

This underscores the problem I suspected might be with a GPS solution, namely that they would have to send the collected GPS data back to me, which kinda defeats the whole purpose.  I suspect that the functionality I desire might not exist in a small enough size right now, but I guarantee it will before my mortgage is paid off ;-)

-Jon



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LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:lherrou
ID: 24381260
Well, I don't disagree with your premise, that BoA is evil, and does everything within their power to perpetuate that evilness upon their subject^W^W^W customers, but I am coming up short on a means to prove it - as I suspect others are as well. So, we suggested other means to prevent the related problems that may arise.

0
 

Accepted Solution

by:
TedgCl earned 750 total points
ID: 24381270
Get a cellular based tracking device.  Then it can stream the position of the device so you can see where it is without them sending you back the device.  The downside is your are out of the cost of the hardware.

If you are handy with electronics you can build one with a pre-paid cell phone, a GPS receiver chip and a programmable microcontroller (68HC12).  I looked into putting something together for another little project I was playing with and the cost would be under $100.  The microcontroller grabs gps points and stores them into RAM.  Then periodically the microcontroller then boots up the cell phone and passes the data points via SMS.  Afterwards the microcontroller then powers down phone to conserve power.  

You can disassemble the phone to keep the parts you need to make it real flat to fit in an envelope.  The downside with all of this you risk them thinking you are mailing a bomb or some other device.  In 2002 I mailed my sister a prototype gadget I built for her to evaluate and the post office called the bomb squad on it.  It was a robotic spider that had a vibrating mechanism to make it dance around.  It worked by being activated by infrared pulses.  Apparently, the robotic spider got activated in the box and started vibrating around.  It didn't help that since it was a prototype it had wires running all over the place.  I have to admit, if you didn't know what it was it might have looked like a bomb.  I now think twice before sending devices through the mail that might look like bombs under x-rays.  

Perhaps you could write something like, This is NOT a BOMB! on the outside.

Have fun!
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LVL 11

Assisted Solution

by:knoxzoo
knoxzoo earned 750 total points
ID: 24387485
There are only two things that will make BofA stop doing what you say they're doing - enough bad press, or an ongoing, independent audit with onsite inspectors/overseers.

The simplest way to combat them is find enough like minded BofA mortgage customers that will be willing to call their local TV news stations and ask for an investigation.  Most large market station has a consumer investigative reporter who follows up on consumer complaints, and if the story's good enough, puts it on the air.  Get enough people, in enough large/major markets complaining, investigations start happening, and the corporation under scrutiny cleans up their act.

The other possibility would require government oversight, which typically means a massive screw up involving large quantities of wasted money.
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:aleghart
ID: 24387749
>enough like minded BofA mortgage customers that will be willing to call their local TV news stations and ask for an investigation

This has been public knowledge for many years.  Nothing new to see here.

The majority of the population has the right idea:
--pay your bills on time
--don't spend more money than you have available

It's like the guy who goes to his doctor complaining of pain in his eye every time he drinks a cup of coffee.

Doctor says:  Take the spoon out of the cup, dummy.
0
 
LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:conviso
ID: 26156275
you can use a GPS tracking system to track children like the $100 one at best buy


The proboem is that the package will be in trucks and buldings mostly with little chance of being outside or near a window/little building shielding for the GPS to pick up a signal.

You will send up most likely spending $100 and not possibly not getting the GPS unit back and looking silly to the person you sent the package to.
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LVL 16

Author Closing Comment

by:The--Captain
ID: 31580423
Pts split between best technical and non-technical possible solutions ;-)

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