I decided to invest a portion of my income to get a property. After weeks and months of searching about affordable but quality properties in the market, and making sure I will only deal with legitimate and trusted real estate developers, I settled and started document and payment processing with my chosen developer, NEW APEC HOMES.
I was informed of the process, and I trusted the developer to guide me through as a new homebuyer. All seemed to be working well… until I got a problem with payments.
I have been consistently paying the equity to NEW APEC HOMES until January 2022 through Metrobank online banking. Come February, I failed to pay on time as money issues arise. I contacted NEW APEC HOMES to ask about consequences that may arise following the failure or late payment and I was informed of the interest and penalties that can be incurred. I understood and accepted that I will be charged fees on top of my monthly equity payment until I settle it and pay on time again.
Just recently they sent a text message reminding me to pay the monthly equity. It is noted on the text message that I can pay through their online payment portal (which I don’t use because it charges huge fees that I am not willing to pay on top of my monthly dues). Out of curiosity, I visited the link indicated and was surprised to see that I have penalties and interests incurred even on the previous months I paid on time. Not a huge amount, but I came in on the defensive as I am paying on time.
I emailed NEW APEC HOMES and ask them to explain the charges. I was asked to submit all proofs of payment, which I did. They responded to me and explained that I was charged because two of my payments fell on weekends and were reported by the bank on the next banking day which caused the charges. I told them I am not at fault for that as I have paid religiously on my due date (every 14th of the month). It is a recurring automated payment set on Metrobank online banking which will deduct the amount every 14th of the month. (If you pay your bill mano-mano, you may not understand this, but please don’t impose that I do the same as I am maximizing the use and convenience of paying through my bank’s online banking app and allow me one less bill to think about every month).
NEW APEC HOMES’ argument? Cash payment is different from online payment. They say online payment follows the generated report bank date. Thus, since the payment was made on a weekend, it is considered a next-banking day transaction. Now, this is something that they have never noted when they presented the payment options during the orientations. Upon checking their payment options, they advise that payment posting may take 2-7 banking days depending on the payment channel the payor used.
I called Metrobank CSR and clarified this with them, I was informed that the biller (NEW APEC HOMES) should at least consider honoring the payment date especially if it is not past the due date. Yet, based on the email exchange with the collections specialist from APEC HOMES, it seems they will not budge and stand to collect these unreasonable interest fees. I paid on time, yet just because the due date fell on a weekend and the computer system generated the report on the following banking day, I have to pay extra? I find this unfair and inconsiderate on NEW APEC HOMES’ end. Nagbayad ka na sa due date na sila ang nag-set, kasalanan ko pa na na-late ng reflect sa kanila? They advise paying on or before due date tapos kapag pinili ni customer to pay on the due date they’ll have another condition na it will be charged interest if it did not fall on a weekday? Grabe yung para-paraan to charge ha.
Check out this comment exchange I found. It’s a bit similar to my case. NEW APEC HOMES took their own statement back and rectified themselves that it is indeed the receive date that they use as the basis of payment posting. Eh di talagang macha-charge nga kami ng extra kung ganyan ang basis! Ang unfair sa customer. Sinunod yung due date, pero interest charged pa din for reasons that are not the customer’s fault.
I reported this to my property seller and she said she’ll handle it. I have yet to hear from my agent as I discussed this with her out-of-office hours. To give you an idea: NEW APEC HOMES has different payment options. One can pay using cash, through bills payment facilities of select banks, through e-wallets (Gcash and Paymaya), and their online portal. Let’s discuss this in another blog post. I chose bills payment via my Metrobank Online as it is the most convenient for me because:
1. I have a digital account with them;
2. No service charges so it saves me money;
3. I can set a recurring automatic payment period since NEW APEC HOMES is a registered biller under their bills payment facility;
4. No issues with the app and no need to waste time queueing and paying.
The Metrobank online banking app basically allowed me to go with my day and it’ll handle the rest come due date provided the account has sufficient money to pull the payment from.
Why not just pay in advance or earlier?
- With my circumstances right now, I can’t. Di po ako mayaman na may malawak na money pool na pwede hatakan ng extra and advance payment.
- My salary schedule has changed, which is a struggle as it affected how and when I can pay all my other bills.
- I pay responsibly and comply with my due date; and again, reasons 1 and 2.
Mind you, I try my very best to pay even if I am a bit struggling in the last three months, only to be surprised that I am still charged interest on top of my monthly equity. My issue is not even about the amount, but the charging despite the timely payment. Konting konsiderasyon naman diyan, APEC Homes. Dinaig niyo pa PLDT, Meralco at mga credit card companies sa ka-istriktuhan sa petsa ng bayad.
I hope NEW APEC HOMES do better. Their homebuyers mostly belong to the low and middle-income earning bracket and trying their very best to pay responsibly despite money issues and complying with the set due date, so why charge us for something that is not even our problem as payors? You (who is reading this) probably have other bills to pay and are using a payment channel to pay for your dues. If you have observed, companies usually honor the date of payment over the posting date as long as you pay on or before your bill is past the due date. A simple act of human consideration on the side of corporations, isn’t it? All my bills are automated and are scheduled on the day of the due date and I never have issues as the companies honor the date of payment over the posting date.
Now I am worried, I am still on the equity payment stage. What more if it’s already on the turnover phase or loan processing phase? How does NEW APEC HOMES fare on those aspects?
By the time you are reading this, I have settled a new month’s equity payment with NEW APEC HOMES, but I decided to write this as I find some of their actions disappointing and inconsiderate as fvck upon thinking over this minor mess I have with them. Here are some of the matters that made transacting with them a hassle.
1. I have discussed my issue with payment and the unreasonable penalty charges (who wants additional charges when one is paying on time?). I continue to pay the equity but I insist on not paying those charges as my payments are on time. I have yet to resolve this. Their response? They stopped communicating with me and seems to put the fall on me to just pay it.
2. Requirements – not exactly the documents, but more of the reception of it. During the initial stages of doing business with them, I was instructed to send my requirements to a designated Gmail account and wait for their advice for the orientation schedule, however, it took additional weeks than the allotted 40 days after the payment of the reservation fee and I did not receive an acknowledgment from them that they received my document requirements. I re-sent my documents a few more times and nothing. I have to call their provided phone numbers (that are almost always unattended). The one time it got answered, I was told they did not receive any emails from me (like seriously, does it still happen nowadays?). I have to guide the staff to check all folders on their Gmail but she said there was nothing under my name. I have to patiently guide her through and ask her to send screenshots of what she has on her screen, only to figure out she was misspelling my first name despite spelling it out for her many times (like dear, this is a simple follow the instructions, type, and search).
3. A not-so-systematized and centralized customer service. Whenever I have questions or request assistance, I either contact them privately through their official Facebook page or their customer service email line. However, there are times that I get surprised as I am being responded to through unofficial contact lines, such as Viber, or another Messenger profile.
4. Because of my payment issue, I felt compelled to review the documents I have with them which made me realize I was only provided the signed conformity agreement, reservation agreement and equity schedule documents. Homebuyers were asked to sign a conformity agreement detailing that they were oriented about the following:
- Conditions of Sale
- Pointers in Availing
- Conformity Letter
- Option to Purchase
- Reservation Agreement
- Schedule of Equity Payment
Points 1, 2, 3, and 5 are not documented and are only discussed during the Facebook video conference orientation; Point 4 was signed; with 6 and 7 I have on digital copies (but charges such as computation of penalties and interests are not disclosed on any of the documents).
Note: It is stated in the conformity letter that a homebuyer is to adhere to all things “as provided for in the said documents and I am bound to comply with the same with the intention of being legally bound.” So, I think it is only reasonable that all these have a corresponding written form whether a hard copy or digital to serve as a reference for future use (kahit pa it was discussed siya sa orientation). Also they stated that they have provided it to us in pdf version, which they didn’t. I realized this when I was not able to find my notes during the orientation. My notes listed the utility fees, renovation bond, move-in fees and other stuff I can’t remember (the danger of not having a document elaborating all these).
Add to this, I am paying my monthly equity since July 2021 but not once have I been issued an official receipt. A homebuyer will be required to visit their office in Lipa to get these receipts. Why do I question this you may ask. Well, they found a way to make us upload proofs of our payments (through the Google form that we are required to fill out every single time we make a payment), why can’t they do the same and send us a copy of O.R. digitally? The convenience is always to favor them. Why not make it convenient for us as well?
UPDATE: 03/15/2022 An assigned staff I have contact with through Viber said I have to go to their Cabuyao office to pick up these documents. Kaloka! For the receipts, I have to go to their Lipa office naman!
Sorry if this sounds like I am being a diva with these demands, but honestly, upon seeing other reviews and complaints from either new homebuyers or those who already acquired their property, the ones I mentioned are pretty basic complaints and barely scratching the surface of what I think needs to be addressed and improved in NEW APEC HOMES’ management and customer service.
I hope they embrace automation, digital documentation, and transparency about rules, policies, terms, and conditions about home buying and acquisition. This way, they do not only make the system convenient and clear for them but for the homebuyers as well. They will not leave an impression that they just want our money all while providing us with shitty service and assistance.
Do I still pay for my equity? Yes. There’s no way that I can take my money back as I have only paid a few months out of the two-year equity schedule. NEW APEC HOMES said they do not do refunds, so wala, ipit ako as a payor. Either masayang yung pera ko or tyagain ko tapusin ‘to with them. I don’t have a choice but to finish the payment. Or am I wrong? Let me know if you know more about real estate and property acquisition in the Philippines. I will really appreciate it if you can educate me more about the system as I am new to this. I am reading up pero I still do not know enough.
Disclaimer: This blog was written based on the personal experience of the writer. Other clients of NEW APEC HOMES may have been satisfied with their service. Unfortunately for some, inconvenience arose.
UPDATE: June 2022 I got a response email from DHSUD regarding my complaint (filed May 2022) about NEW APEC HOMES which I listed above. As expected, NEW APEC HOMES upheld that the posting date is the basis of the payment. So in order to avoid counting your deposit as a late payment, one must pay 2-3 days in advance. Staff from their Lipa office provided a copy of the contract (which includes all others I listed). They also sent a sworn statement regarding their actions to my complaint.
I sent a message to their Lipa Office regarding the receipts if I can be furnished a digital copy instead of getting the physical copies at their office, my message was not seen and responded to yet.
UPDATE: July 2022 I reached out to my agent to get the copies of the equity payment receipts for me. I provided her my ID and an authorization letter. I am waiting for updates.
UPDATE: October 2022 I have not heard from the agent. Palibhasa nakabenta na siya sa akin so hindi na ako inasikaso.