Consumer Complaints and Reviews
As a customer of more than 20 years, I watched this formerly great credit union slowly sink into customer service oblivion. And sadly, I'm not sure the folks have bothered tuning on the pumps to stem the leaks! The trouble seemed to begin a few years back when they outsourced most of PenFed's customer service functions. Now it's even worse than your typically wretched cable service provider (and they are awful!). This morning I called to correct a mistake made after I talking with them nearly 20 minutes two week ago. THE LINE WAS BUSY!! After 7 tries, a computer answering function, stating, "Your expected wait time will be 15 minutes". Imagine, I have invested more than $200K with these yayhoos, but am asked to wait 15 minutes to engage in yet another frustrating experience. THAT'S WHY I JUST JOINED NAVY FEDERAL CREDIT UNION!! I can't wait to totally shed myself from PenFed's incompetence.
I found PenFed listed as an auto loan lender for high mileage vehicles on Google Search. I filled out the application on my cell phone for a loan and received an email with an authorization # for the loan. A little while later I received another email asking for additional income verification and a phone number to call. I called PenFed later that day and although I had to wait on the phone for 15 minutes I reached a customer service representative.
After giving them all the financial information they got me tentatively approved for a loan at 2.74%. After 3 more 10 minute phone calls waiting for a representative they finally received the purchase order from the dealer and approved the loan. I then became a member of PenFed with a small deposit which included a $15 dollar fee to expedite the loan check. I received the check the next day by FedEx mail at 12pm. I am definitely satisfied with the way it all turned out.
I applied for an auto loan through PenFed. They approved me but that is where the communication ended. I applied for an auto loan through a couple of other banks and ended up going with one of them. PenFed is not where I do my primary banking so I don't log in frequently. Two months after applying I log in to check my account balances and I notice an auto loan for $25,000. PenFed had already taken $400+ out of my savings account to start repaying money I never borrowed from them.
I called PenFed and they told me that they sent a check for $25,000 to my address (why would they do that?). Apparently sending auto loan checks (via USPS) is the protocol at PenFed. After they figured out that their phantom check was never cashed they agreed to fix it. Now PenFed has to undo everything but it will take time. The PenFed loan is on my credit report and I am in the middle of buying a house. The additional liability makes it so I don't qualify for a mortgage. I hate PenFed.
I had a car loan from US Bank and thought I could save few dollars on my monthly payments by transferring the loan to Pen Fed and I wish I did not do that. Pen Fed is the worst place you can do business with, they are inefficient, arrogant and lack any knowledge of what needs to be done to close your business. I am still trying to transfer my lien and title on my car and have the stupid Pen fed name on the document. I went to the MVA in order to have the transfer but there was one lacking document to be submitted by the Pen fed in order to complete the transaction.
After three months of trying to tell them that then they came to their senses and submitted that document and after they raised my interest on the car to 14% and still the issue has not been resolved because PEN Fed did include the fee which I already paid. Stay away from PEN FED, do not do business with them ever, they are inefficient, do not know what needs to be done, stay away as far as possible. They are no good.
This is such a scam credit union loan dept. Advertise the lowest rates in the country almost but you will NEVER see that rate at the end of the line. Wait 30 days with very little communication from the loan officer to find out that the "underwriters" will offer you this higher rate due to BLAH BLAH BLAH. Advertised 3.74% is just a phantom to get you in the door. Not to mention the lost paperwork faxed to the first loan officer, the total lack of any communication and being switched to a "senior loan officer" that didn't do much more than the first. I wish you could choose no stars. I've been a member of PFCU for almost 30 years with upwards of 5 car loans and one home mortgage. All, up to this point, were great...but things have really changed here. NEVER AGAIN will I look to them for any loan...and will be at a new bank/credit union within 30 days.
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My wife applied for a car loan. She was told "congratulations, you have been approved for the loan" at a certain rate. They told us that we can call them when we decide what car we were going to purchase and we did in 3 different occasions. Nothing was mentioned about anything other than when we decided to purchase to let them know and they will cut the check. After 4 different cars and 4 different people we decided on a car.
We called to give all the information they needed and I was told that we were not approved for the new amount even though it was 4,000 less that the approval we have gotten earlier. The person that first gave us the quote forgot to tell us that the first loan was not approved, that it was on pending status because of vehicle age and miles and that the second vehicle that was the same make model year and everything else was the same but cheaper. The kicker is since we knew we were told that we were approved the first time for a bigger amount we put 500.00 non-refundable downpayment that we can't get back on the second vehicle because of Misinformation from pentagon. The only thing they say is that they are sorry for the other people mistakes.
This has been the most underhanded, misleading, fraudulent experience that I have ever had. Telling someone that they are approved for a loan (they forgot to tell us that it was "conditionally approved") and not tell them the conditions of the loan in my book is consider fraud. Stay away from this so called military financial friendly institution. My wife and I are veterans and we deserve to be treated better by a place we thought we can trust. Be aware that when they tell you that you are approved. You might not be.
I want to offer a word of caution to anyone contemplating taking out a loan with Pen Federal - DON'T. I have found this company highly unethical in their business practices with a total lack of care for their customers or their credit ratings. Three years ago in June, I took out an auto loan and had it set up on an automatic draft. Everything was fine until I received a past due notice on July 4. Not quite sure how I can be past due when it is on auto draft. In the paperwork it was noted the final payment would be less. What they didn't say was the last payment had to be made in a fashion other than auto draft. It seems that their systems aren't set up to handle final payments that are less than the recurring amount. I think I would be looking into replacing everyone in the IT department.
I dare say most folks have the same situation and get caught on the final payment if they are on auto draft. I did get them to remove the past due amount and interest, although they told me they were doing me a favor in doing so. I have also asked for a letter confirming they had written the credit agencies telling them I was not late in payment. They have assured me they will but I know they wont. What they fail to realize is I am not one to roll over and play dead. I will be their worst nightmare.
Last week my car's engine started acting up... took it in and I need a new engine. So I decided to trade in my vehicle and buy a new used car. That night I applied for a loan of $19,500. Was approved a few days later. Meanwhile I'm looking for a vehicle and driving a rental. I realize I may need more than what I asked for, so I called them up and asked if I needed to reapply... "As long as it's not, like, twice as much you'll be fine. All you have to do is call us and we'll send out the check." So after I turn in my rental, and limp my car into Carmax, I start the process of buying the car I was targeting. $25k. Call up PenFed... "We're going to have to reapprove the loan." "Really??? that's not what the last lady said." "Well, its just too much. And there's not a loan officer here to do it, so you'll have to wait 'til tomorrow (Sunday. )" "Well, this is REALLY important. They can give me a temp loan, but I NEED this done asap. I only have 3 business days." "No problem. I'll make sure this is high priority. As soon as someone can process the loan, we'll have it out the door."
Now, this is Christmas week... Carmax is closed Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday... that gives me until Friday to receive the check and conduct the transaction. Penfed is open Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. 2 extra days to conduct the transaction. Feeling confident in PenFed after the conversation I had with their employee... I didn't call until Tuesday afternoon (EST). BAD MISTAKE. I was a bit surprised they hadn't processed the loan. The man on the phone processed my loan while I waited and assured me that it would be in my mailbox on Thursday, given that Christmas was on Wed. It's being sent overnight.
Go to work Thursday, come home... not in mailbox. Call them, it apparently didn't get submitted to UPS in time. I called them at 11 am PST, cut off time to submit overnight packages to UPS is 3:30 pm PST. She then talks to her boss, and notifies me that it missed Thursday's UPS cut off time as well!! So it's being sent out Friday, and I'll receive it first thing Monday morning. 9 days. It took them 9 FREAKING DAYS to get me something I NEEDED ASAP... and 3 days too late. WORST BANKING EXPERIENCE EVER!!!
We were drawn to this credit union because they had good rates on automobile loans. After having a couple questions, I called them. They are not happy to hear from anybody. They want all the stuff done online with little to no help from them. So our first call about our automobile loan left us upset with the person's attitude. But we thought we tried again with a home loan.
Obviously, you're going to have tons of questions either before or after filling out your application. We got locked out of one part of the application so my wife who is the sweetest person on the earth called and told me that the lady was rude. That's amazing because she never says that about anybody. So I decided to call and I could not believe how unbelievably arrogant, rude and condescending this lady was. These people do not care about their members. I will be closing all three of my accounts there and will never do business with them again.
I applied for an Auto refinancing and the process was smooth at the start. They told me that they would send over the check for the finance amount. I waited for one month and didn't receive one. I called them and they cancelled the original one and sent the second one. Same story, I didn't receive it even after a month. This time, they sent the check through UPS and so after about two and a half months after approval, I sent the check to the lien holder. But that was not the end of the story. The car lien holder called me telling that the check was not a valid one. When I talked to PenFed again, they told me that they would send over a new check again. They did and I sent it over to the original lien holder. This was good this time.
The original lien holder released the title and sent it to PenFed which was misplaced by them (they say that they never received it but the original lien holder insists that they sent it) and I was bombarded with mails telling me that would increase my interest rate to the max if they didn't receive the title within 150 days of loan approval. It is a pure case of mismanagement and ineptness with which they handle these kinds of things. Now I need to apply for my duplicate title. This has to be one of the most irritating experiences ever.
With all the negative PenFed reviews, I felt obliged to post here because I almost did NOT apply or go with PenFed for my auto refinance due to what I read here. I have to say the PenFed auto loan was the easiest, most trouble-free loan I have ever done with an unbeatable rate. I applied for two other companies and ended up going with PenFed for the best rate and service. Here's what happened and some history:
Credit score 740, mortgage, car loan and no credit card balances.
I joined PenFed on a Monday morning, paid the $15 fee to one of the organizations and $5 to fund account, and applied for the 1.74% auto refinance. Automatically conditionally approved. All I had to do was send the 10-day payoff letter from the current lender. Emailed the document that same day. Did not hear from anyone or receive status emails outside of the normal thanks for applying, which could concern some people. However, logging in online, I monitored the status of my loan. I called for information on Wednesday and thought the service was great - no wait time, friendly service, was explained all was well and my application was currently being looked at by a loan officer, and to call back later for an additional update if needed.
I called back Thursday. They said the loan was complete and was advised of next steps. I would be sent a promissory note and a check to send to current lender. Online, my status noted "transferred" and I saw the balance in my online account with option to start paying. I received packet in the mail on Friday with all instructions and the check. Now here, you do have to do some additional work and be careful to read all instructions. You have to mail the check to your current lender, fill out a few forms, obtain insurance verification and make sure the current company transfers and sends the title to PenFed.
I would rather take care of this myself than pay another organization (Blue Harbor wanted a $299 app fee and $150 title transfer fee. What a rip) to do it. Got everything filled out and mailed out Saturday. Quick and painless process. I received an awesome rate with no fees (even my current bank wanted an origination fee). Would highly recommend.
I placed an application on 02/12/13 for a vehicle loan refinance and had to get my spouse to sign a notarized form to be a co-maker. I was told when I first submitted the application that no credit would be run until they received the notarized document back. After running around to get it signed, I waited 48 hours for them to tell me I was declined. I found out that they submitted the application only in my name and then took it upon themselves to resubmit a joint application, which was the original request today on 02/14/13, which is pending again now for 48 hours, which is worse is that I am a loan officer for another credit union and could not understand their reasons for denial.
This is a very sloppy credit union, which has very unprofessional staff. When I tried to get an explanation, the first rep hung up on me and the second one told me I needed to understand that they are a very conservative credit union. As I tried to speak with him, he interrupted me multiple times and kept repeatedly trying to get me off the phone by saying, "Anything else I could help you with?" If you really want a good credit union, try Randolph Brooks FCU (1.9% on vehicle loans). At least they work with members and they don't lie to you when you're submitting applications nor do you have to pay to become a member, because they have more ways to qualify for membership.
I am extremely disappointed with the customer service I have received regarding my application for re-financing my automobile. It has been 3 days, and apparently my fax was "unreadable," yet no one had the courtesy to call or email me with this information. I had to call to get a status update, and I was rudely told I should call and follow up. I am sorry, I was under the impression maybe you wanted my business and would treat me accordingly. I recently joined PenFed, but maybe I should reconsider.
I received the following email from Pentagon Federal Credit Union on 12/13/12, 11:50AM EST: “We are contacting you regarding a pre-approval draft submitted in our office for processing for a 2013 Kia Sorento from King Kia. Our records indicate that you requested a 72-month term. While under review, we noted that the blue book value for the vehicle did not suffice at 72 months. You will either need to add more value to the car or lower the terms to 60 months. If you are unable to add any more value to the vehicle and do not wish to lower your terms to 60 months, we will be subject to return this draft unpaid because it does not meet the guidelines for 72 months. If you wish to add value to the vehicle, we would need to know if the vehicle has a premium audio or navigation?
“Please provide this information as soon as possible today by 2:00PM EST either by email or fax (703) 838-1555, Attn: Ms. ** to our office. Once received, we will review and process the draft accordingly. We are under strict guidelines from the Federal Reserves to process your draft the same day upon receipt and if unable to do so, the draft must be returned unpaid. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office at 1-800-247-5626 ext 1282 to discuss this matter.”
This is the crazy part to me. I responded that I was more than upfront about what I applied for and even called about the vehicle to inform PenFed, giving the VIN for the actual vehicle and was told I could proceed under the 72-month term. Further, they sent me an email to notify me I have 3 hours to respond to it? That is very unprofessional. Ultimately, it makes no difference. We'll take the 60-month loan and we'll pay it off before that anyway. This is very sloppy work by PenFed. I do not recommend trusting PenFed. I have always had far more positive experiences with USAA.
It all started when I made the biggest mistake of my life on February 14 when I thought of applying for auto loan from PenFed. I nearly wasted 2 months of my life on PenFed people and ruined $20 of membership fee. I would rather have given it to some beggar and have felt better about helping someone with that money. I have a long list of complaints about this whole process that tortured me to the core.
PenFed has representatives who have no knowledge about the whole process and misguide customers. When I called Penfed to apply for loan on February 14, the lady named Sarah was so patient and spent 2 hours to file the application for me. However, after that, every call I made has been a mental torture for me. She assured me that the loan approver would go through the application and would come back to me in 48 hours. Weeks passed by and there was no information on the application. When I called them, I was told that the application has been turned down because of "less credit experience.”
I was suggested to get a guarantor who has a long and good credit history and would take the responsibility of the loan in case I don't pay it. I managed to get a guarantor who has 12 years old good credit history and faxed it to PenFed. After that, I used to call every day for 7 days to PenFed to know the status of my application and every time they keep telling me the same reason of being turned down: "less credit experience.” It was annoying because I gave them the guarantor form. On the 7th day, I talked to the loan approver somehow and she told me that they never received the guarantor form! I told her the exact date, place and fax number from which I sent the form and she found it in her system. Then and there, she entered all the details of the guarantor and again turned down the application with the reason that the guarantor was in Virginia and I was in New Jersey. For God's sake, if you wanted a guarantor from the same state, you should have informed me when I was looking for one!
I do not believe that it could be a law that the guarantor has to be in the same location for ownership of the vehicle - that vehicle which hasn’t even been bought yet. That is the weirdest reason I have ever heard. I am capable enough of paying the loan amount of $15k in 2 months! But I applied for loan so that it could help me build my credit history. Still, PenFed did not approve the loan and I don't even know the reason behind that. I tried to negotiate with them on the rate, loan amount and tenure of loan to increase/decrease it so that they can approve it. But they were so stuck on "no" that they didn’t even hear me completely. PenFed’s systems are so obsolete that they never gets refreshed with the current fax details and their representatives are very misguiding. They never informed me that in spite of a good credit score, a guarantor, a great salary and a co-applicant, they would decline it without any sensible reason/explanation.
We financed a new car with Pentagon Federal. At the dealership, the Pentagon Federal loan agent asked if we wanted GAP coverage and explained that it paid off the loan balance should the car be totaled and we owe more than the car is worth. We said yes to the coverage. It so happened that two years later my husband was rear-ended and that car was totaled. Pentagon hounded us for payment, even though we told them that the insurance company would be paying the car off. After a few months the calls stopped so we assumed they had gotten the payoff.
Three years later they begin calling us saying that we owed a balance for the car. I spoke to a "Mike" who said that gap only covered 125% of the MSRP, and then I spoke to "Sheri" who said that when the insurance payment was made it paid the car note for three years, not paid the car off. Erik assured me that the GAP coverage had been applied. I then spoke to "Donna" who said she thought gap covered the amount financed and said she would help but did nothing. The calls have kept coming and no one wants to admit that they lied about the gap coverage. On the Pentagon Federal Credit Union web site I found where it states "GAP coverage covers the loan balance that your primary insurance carrier did not cover.” To date they are threatening to forward my file to attorneys and bill me for the fees.
I've been a loyal and always on-time customer of PFCU for over 20 years. However, during the past 2 years, they have degraded a lot of their service to me even denying me a car loan when I have bought and paid in full and never missed a payment for 3 cars. I have good credit and my monthly payroll deposits are over 10,000 Dollars.
They can care less about my tenure with them and that really is making me consider finding another bank. Their criteria for rating a customer is not fair and whoever makes their business decisions is very unfair and will make them lose a lot of business. They probably don't care because they have a lot of active duty members so that is a lot of money they bring in easily. Be careful when selecting your financial institution. If they won't work with you then they are not worth it.
I tried to get an auto loan from Pentagon Federal Credit Union. They told me I needed a paper title for about a week. Florida is electronic paperless. Neither the customer support supervisors or managers know how to work in a paperless environment. Okay, so they now admit after about a few weeks that it isn't necessary. So, I sent them the paperwork they requested several times but each time they said they didn't get it.
This happened for both my equity loan and my auto loan. I finally got a manager and she said "Oh, yes I can see it it's here on the computer". Okay, when I got the documentation I called up and told them I don't want credit life. A girl marked on the form CL and threw it over to the loan folks who intepret this as close loan so they put a stop check. I noticed that money was being taken out of my account so I called and they told me the stop check was issued.
I finally talked to a manager and she told me they are sorry and it was a mistake. I have to start the procedure all over again. I always get a different person when I call. They are running a country club and don't seem to care. Here are the things that I found out (Between the equity loan and the car loan):
1) No one was on the same page. Customer service, supervisors, managers will all give you different telephone numbers or tell you something different from the previous person.
2) There were no numbers to call and you will find it hard to get any information.
3) Training seems to be lacking in both the management, customer supervisor areas.
4) Our federal government needs to do an investigation of this organization.They clearly need some guidance on how to run this business. It is important because they service military personnel and these people in harms way need better treatment than this. I hope you will send this to some oversight committee on banking and credit unions. I have been working on an auto loan for a month. It would be nice if you could get a loan officer. Every time I call they are not in their office. I, of course, got a number after a month. I see other complaints so I do not feel alone. Our troops deserve better treatment.
After hearing numerous radio ads about the 3.99% auto loan, I contacted Pen Fed and inquired how to get such a great rate. I wanted to refinance current loan of 5.74%. I was told the only requirement was that of membership and, given my employer, I had no problem joining. I do, however, have a problem with the minimum $25 required for a specific military fund. Not that I don't support our military so don't jump on me because of that. There are several issued brewing here: One, the $25 required fee which is of no benefit to me directly. Two, I was told I had to complete the application online in order to get the special rate. Somehow, it turned into 2 separate applications, both of which they processed! Three, they led me to believe I would have no issue qualifying for a loan of $6,000 for a car worth $18,000 and a credit score of 782. Four, they declined the loan saying my debt ratio was too high at 38% (with a six figure income), but they refused to provide the figure by which they use as a guideline saying they were "within the law, not disclosing" it.
Although it is the federal government, I don't get how it is legal or ethical lending practices to entice new members without disclosing all details of the advertised rate and requiring the payment into a special fund. Do the calculation yourself. There are 3 million plus people within earshot of the radio ad, and if each of those applied to become a new member with Pen Fed, they automatically receive--are you ready for this--$75 million just for becoming a member! I’ll just stick to Apple Federal Credit Union where they have fair and disclosed lending practices.
Lauren FixAuto & Finance Contributing Editor
Lauren Fix, also called The Car Coach, is an automotive and auto finance expert. Her understanding of vehicles has made her the “go to” person on TV, radio, print media and the Internet. She has authored multiple books and writes a column for several outlets, including Parade Magazine, NewsMax and Car Coach Reports. She is a regular guest on major news and morning shows, discussing the latest updates on cars and car financing that will help drivers make smart decisions when buying, maintaining and financing cars.
Founded in 1935, Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) is an American financial institution that operates in all fifty states and some international military bases. Along with other financial services, PenFed members can apply for new and used auto loans, auto refinancing, auto buying service, and Payment Saver loans for new and used vehicles.
- New auto loans: PenFed offers up to 110 percent financing and terms from 36 to 84 months ranging from 1.49 to 3.49 percent APR.
- Used auto loans: You can get up to 110 percent financing with terms from 36 and 72 months and APR ranging from 1.99 to 3.91 percent.
- Auto refinancing: You can refinance a new or used auto loan with terms up to 72 months and loan amounts up to $100,000.
- Payment saver loans: Payment Saver loans allow you to pay lower monthly payments on your new or used vehicle, and then make a final balloon payment at the end of the loan term. You can choose from a 24 to 60 month term with rates from 1.74 to 3.24 percent.
- PenFed buying service: As a member you can receive discounts on select vehicles financed through PenFed. You must be a member for at least 60 days prior to applying.
- Best for PenFed Credit Union members who are buying or selling a vehicle.
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