‘This is crazy’: Local woman says HOA continues to charge a late fee for 20-cent mistake

ORLANDO, Fla. — Carolyn Babcock has been married to her husband for 64 years.


During that time, he’s been in charge of paying the bills, but last year, he went into a nursing home, and Carolyn has been trying to navigate her way around the finances.

In January, Carolyn’s husband reminded her to pay a yearly homeowner’s association fee.

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“I went right over to the office...I thought maybe they’d take my check,” Babcock recalled.

Babcock says she was told they didn’t take cash and she’d have to either go online or write a check.

“So I came right home, did it right then, put it in the mailbox,” Babcock recalled. “She did say, ‘you may have a late fee.’”

And she did, so Babcock says she paid the late fee too, or so she thought.

Babcock says she paid $43.50, but she missed a 20-cent interest fee on the line below and came up a little short.

When she realized the mistake, Babcock says she walked down to the office with her dime and two nickels, but they again wouldn’t accept them.

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As a result, Babcock says she continues to rack up charges for her missed change, getting billed an extra $30 per month. She also continues to fight what she says is a ridiculous amount for an honest mistake.

Babcock says she’s gone to the office and tried to call the board members to explain, but so far, her late payment continues to build.

“Apparently, I still owe $90.20,” Babcock said.

She says she doesn’t think she should have to pay it.

“I don’t feel that it’s right, absolutely not,” Babcock argued. “I said they can come and arrest me. Sorry, but who’s going pay $90 for a 20-cent interest?”

By law, the HOA is within its rights to charge a “reasonable” late fee. Carolyn says that after living in the community for a decade and never missing a payment, the fee is far from reasonable.

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‘This is crazy,” Babcock said. “Let’s stop this nonsense.”

Failure to pay HOA fees can result in a loss of privileges, bills being sent to collections, a lawsuit, or even a lien on the home.

Eyewitness News has called and sent e-mails to the HOA and the parent company, but they have not responded.

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Shannon Butler

Shannon Butler, WFTV.com

Shannon joined the Eyewitness News team in 2013.

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