By Cheryl Fiandaca

WORCESTER (CBS) – Mary Lou Lehigh has lived in a small bungalow in the Worcester hills for nearly two decades. At 80-years-old, she loves the independence it gives her.

“It’s the first home that I have of my own. It’s like a refuge; it’s a safe place,” she told WBZ-TV.

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But living on a fixed income, even her modest mortgage of $489 was getting tougher to make every month. To help knock more than $100 off her monthly payment, she applied for Worcester’s senior tax deferral program, which allows her to put off paying her tax payments until her house is sold.

“It’s for older people over 70 with limited income so they can keep their house,” she explained.

But the mortgage company, Community Loan Servicing, kept adding the unpaid taxes to her monthly statement. Soon she owed more than $2,000 and she was getting collection notices.

“I was just panicked, I didn’t know what to do,” she said.

She called the lender dozens of times over several months, but could not get the problem fixed. Mary Lou says she even did a conference call with the lender and Worcester city officials who approved the deferral.

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“I was watching the news one night and saw the Call for Action and I thought, if they can’t help me, I’m lost,” she said.

WBZ reached out to Community Loan Servicing and they promptly got back to us and promised to look into it.

A few days later, Mary Lou got a call from a vice president. “She was going to take care of… all the problems,” she said.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Community Loan Servicing told WBZ:

“Our priority has always been to deliver the highest level of customer experience for homeowners, including providing help in the face of financial hardships, which many have been experiencing throughout the pandemic. Upon learning that a customer was experiencing trouble with the approval of a municipal tax deferral program, a senior representative reached out to ensure that the customer was able to receive the benefits of the program. We apologize for the time it took to fully review the customer’s concerns and appreciate their diligence in bringing this matter to our attention. 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.”

In addition to correcting Mary Lou’s loan balance, Community Loan Servicing also cleared up her credit report and they are now working on getting her a lower interest rate.

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If you have a consumer issue you need help with, call 617-787-7070 or email WBZCallforAction@CBS.com.

Cheryl Fiandaca