Provident Lending? More like Provident Annoying

So, we were closing on a house on behalf of my mother, who is moving nearby. The terms of this are fairly amusing and will be the subject of another blog post, but this one is just a rant to say:

Never, under any circumstances, use Provident Lending.

Last week was the first scheduled closing date. My wife had scheduled to do the closing at 5pm, so she could come by work and leave the kids with me and I'd only have to leave work a little early. As I got home, I found a series of messages on the answering machine. The messages were asking my wife to get to the office in ten minutes, because the lending company, Provident Lending, had decided they did not want to do the closing at 5pm and wanted to do it immediately, and if she did not get there in 10 minutes, it would be a few days before closing could happen again. (Apparently, when a lender does a "funding", it is for a specific date and time, and if it does not happen, the funding must be reissued.)

While it is true that the call should have gone to my wife's cell phone instead of just left at home (the realtor said she seemed to have lost my wife's cell phone at that moment), it wouldn't have helped. The Denver area is quite large, and even if my wife had been home to receive the phone call, and even if she would've been able to instantly get in the car and start driving as soon as the call came in (an unrealistic expectation with a toddler and an infant), it would've been physically impossible for her to reach the office in 10 minutes or less. Add this to the complication that, at the time the calls came in, she was on her way to pick the two older boys up from school, and it's hardly any surprise closing did not happen that day.

The closing today ran a little long, because Provident Lending is extremely picky in what they accept for documents. The power of attorney form had to be their own, because they require extra information that is not present on a "standard" form. They rejected two signatures from my wife where she left out the word "by" between her name and my mother's. And they rejected one signature from the representative from the title company because "it appeared to be crossed out" — there was an extraneous horizontal mark on one of the letters that no one else could even see. (According to those who have worked with Provident Lending before, they will also reject signatures if you write sevens with an extra horizontal line on the same grounds, that they "appear crossed out".)

To quote my wife:

They were completly ridiculous in their demands, delayed the closing a week due to them not getting documents ready (they had everything they needed), and wanted to reject closing documents because the notary's signature had a small mark inside a single letter and it "looked like a cross-out" We couldn't see this mark. And we were informed by the Title Company that this is their normal practice.

It's as if they didn't really want our business. Which is fine. The broker who set us up with the realtor has apologized for this (he is covering the $50/day cost their last-minute deadline and refunding delay would've cost us out of his own pocket) and swears he will never use them again; and the next time we do any financing, you'd better believe we will not be doing business with Provident Lending.


Last time, on General Highschool

Remember the story of the Lower Merion School District (just northwest of Philadelphia, PA) and the complaint that they busted a student while they were remotely using his camera to spy on him in his own home? Naturally, an investigation was launched, at which time the Philadelphia Federal Court ordered the school not to remove or destroy any evidence, to which the school agreed.

Remember, too, at the time, the school district insisted that it only activated those cameras when there was reason to believe the laptop was stolen (which they insist they had cause to believe in this case), and that they have only done this a total of 42 times.

A new motion filed last week alleges that, after investigating the evidence stored on the school district's computers, there were over 400 pictures taken alone of the student in his room, along with "thousands" of pictures of other students. The investigation also turned up screenshots of IM conversations and — perhaps the most damning evidence of all — emails commenting on the pictures, with one of the staff saying it was "like a little soap opera", with an administrator's response, "I know. I love it!"

Whether the spokesman for the school district believed what he was saying about the laptops being activated only in cases of stolen laptops and only being activated less than four dozen times, I don't know. But it's becoming increasingly obvious that this is not true.

This should, at the very least, serve as a warning. This kind of monitoring power is bad, mm'kay? Honestly, I don't think I would trust myself to have that kind of power and be able to resist the temptation of turning it into my own personal little soap opera; and honestly, I wouldn't expect anyone to trust me with that power, even if I were behaving responsibly.


March Bandwidth

In110.44 GB
Out7.91 GB
Total118.35 GB
Comcast's measurement103 GB (-15.35)

If there was ever any question that switching from watching TV over broadcast cable to watching videos streamed over the internet for entertainment would have an effect on bandwidth, this should answer it.

There are certain viewing habits I've noticed from my family that make for a rather "inefficient" use of data. For instance, my kids like watching videos multiple times. As my toddler is watching the same episode of Kipper the Dog for the third time in a row on streaming Netflix, those video bits are being streamed over the internet from Netflix's servers anew each time. I also noticed that videos that I know for certain that we already own on DVD were being watched via Netflix. Why? Because it was just easier to pull them up on an on-screen menu than to try and dig through the pile of kids' movies to find it.

Still, while all these "wasted bits" did make for a few high-volume days, they were in enough of the minority that the entire month still managed to come in under half of the monthly cap. There would've had to have been quite a few more high-volume days to even come close.

Although I'll certainly admit to feeling nervous when this month started. With what turned out to be the highest-volume day hitting so early in the month, vnstat was predicting a much larger monthly total for a while.…