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Description

This company provides services in biweekly loan payment accelerators for the auto industry. They assist customers in the acceleration of their loan payoff through biweekly half payment debits.  The half debits, which occur every two weeks, allow customers to make an extra principal payment each year starting usually in the second year of the loan.  

BBB Accreditation

A BBB Accredited Business since

BBB has determined that Smartnote meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. BBB Accredited Businesses pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.

BBB accreditation does not mean that the business' products or services have been evaluated or endorsed by BBB, or that BBB has made a determination as to the business' product quality or competency in performing services.

Reason for Rating

BBB rating is based on 13 factors. Get the details about the factors considered.

Factors that lowered the rating for Smartnote include:

  • 9 complaint(s) filed against business

Factors that raised the rating for Smartnote include:

  • Length of time business has been operating
  • Response to 9 complaint(s) filed against business
  • Resolution of complaint(s) filed against business


Customer Complaints Summary Read complaint details

9 complaints closed with BBB in last 3 years | 6 closed in last 12 months
Complaint Type Total Closed Complaints
Advertising/Sales Issues 2
Billing/Collection Issues 2
Delivery Issues 0
Guarantee/Warranty Issues 0
Problems with Product/Service 5
Total Closed Complaints 9

Customer Reviews Summary Read customer reviews

0 Customer Reviews on Smartnote
Customer Experience Total Customer Reviews
Positive Experience 0
Neutral Experience 0
Negative Experience 0
Total Customer Reviews 0

Additional Information

top
BBB file opened: October 17, 2003 Business started: 08/01/2000 in TX Business started locally: 08/01/2000 Business incorporated: 02/11/2003 in TX
Type of Entity

Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)

Business Management
Ms. Kimberly Saul, Office Manager Holly Radosta, CS Mgr
Contact Information
Principal: Ms. Kimberly Saul, Office Manager
Business Category

Loan Servicing

Products & Services

Smartnote sells the following brand(s): N/A

Smartnote offers the following product(s): SmartNote

Method(s) of Payment
ACH
Alternate Business Names
The Smart Group, L.P.

Additional Locations

  • 810 Hesters Crossing Rd Ste 235

    Round Rock, TX 78681 (512) 402-9400 (888) 296-4290

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Types of Complaints Handled by BBB

BBB handles the following types of complaints between businesses and their customers so long as they are not, or have not been, litigated:

  • Advertising or Sales
  • Billing or Collection
  • Problems with Products or Services
  • Delivery
  • Guarantee or Warranty

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BBB Complaint Process

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Additional Phone Numbers

  • (512) 402-9400(Phone)
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Complaint Detail(s)

11/20/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: This company refused to return money to my account with out charging me $35 + $25 wiring fee. Even though it was explained to them that the service was set up incorrectly via *********** ***** ** ********* *********. The money had not even been applied to the account that it was meant for- **** *********... they claimed to have no information on Smart Note or the payment plan. I'm extremely frustrated that this company took money from my account, applied it nowhere and wants to charge me for it. Very fraudulent!

Desired Settlement: I hope that this doesn't happen to anyone else. I shouldn't have to pay for a mistake by the dealership. I feel scammed!

Business Response: To Ms. Vanpelt,


First, I would like to apologize for any miscommuncation between you and *********** ***** regarding our Biweekly Loan Acceleration Program. I would also be glad to go over the benefits of our program and address your concerns.


The following are the many benefits we offer our customers:

1) By cutting the payment in half they make the debits more affordable and budgeting easier
2) We offer a way to manage/change their payment schedule and amount without refinancing
3) We offer flexible debiting schedules that can be changed at any time
4) We help to build on-time payment history
5) We provide parents co-signing for children a way to monitor the debits and payments on the account with NSF alerts
6) We help to build and accelerate equity.  This is a great benefit to those upside down on their loans
7) We provide payment tracking on all lender payments
8) We offer an easy way to manage the debiting account information on multiple loans for the customer who changes banks or opens a new account
9) We offer early payoff notification

We also work as the consumers’ personal advocate throughout the life of the loan in all situations and assisting them with any questions or issues they may have.  This includes but is not limited to changing the payment due date, obtaining deferments due to job loss, illness, or financial difficulties, locating misapplied payments, monthly payment increases due to a laps in the customer insurance, obtaining payoff quotes, and any other needs the consumer may have.

Second, SmartNote mailed you a Welcome letter and program snapshot which included the date and amount of when we would start debiting for your auto loan payments on 10/14/14. On 11/3/14 and 11/4/14, You spoke to a customer service representative regarding the debit that was processed on 11/3/14. You were offered several options for getting your funds returned, one of which was a wire transfer and there is a fee of $25.00 to process. However, we have free options as well, such as a check by mail which you would receive in 5-7 days. Our CS representative even sent you a Refund Agreement to sign and did a conference call with you and your bank to confirm the 11/3/14 debit cleared in order to expedite your refund. You were then transferred to a supervisor who explained that we do have a prorated enrollment fee of $35.00 for our service, however, she offered to waive that for you as a courtesy. Additionally, you informed the supervisor that you were going to place a stop payment on the 11/3/14 debit through your bank and you were advised that doing so would result in a Returned Debit fee of $25.00.

All that being said, as a show of goodwill, I will waive all fees and close your account with SmartNote as soon as the 11/3/14 debit is returned. If you later decide you would like to reinstate and let SmartNote help you accelerate your loan pay-off please do not hesitate to call. We value you as a customer and appreciate your business. If you would like to speak to me personally, you can contact me at the phone number below.

Warm Regards,

***** *******

Customer Service Department Manager

SmartNote | The Premier Biweekly Acceleration Program

*** ******* ******** *** **** ***

Round Rock, TX *****

Phone: 888-********* **** ***

Direct Fax: 512-********

Email: *****@saveyourdough.com

Website: www.saveyourdough.com








11/6/2014 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I signed up for smartnote when I purchased my 2014 Toyota Tundra to make automatic payments for me. At the time I didn't realize smartnote was a entire different company away from Toyota. I don't get monthly statement from smartnote telling me how much of my money they are banking and how much they actually pay. I do get statement from Toyota Financial Services which is where my loan is through. All of this seems shady anyway. Well I recently had knee surgery and am out of work for an undetermined amount of time. I sent a letter to smartnote 2 weeks ago on 10/22/2014 to cancel the service right away. I let them know that I would be out of work for awhile and that I could not make those extra payments that smartnote takes so I wanted to cancel the service. Well today 11/4/14 smartnote debited my checking account for $352.69. I still haven't heard anything from them either. So far this period they have now collected $1058.07. My payment is only $701.47 which is due on 11-14-14.

Desired Settlement: I want the service to be canceled immediately so no more charges will come out of my bank account. Also I want all money refunded to me that hasn't been applied to my Toyota Financial Services account. So they either need to make the November payment to Toyota Financial Services and refund the rest to me or refund the entire amount to me in time for me to make the payment myself.

Business Response: To Mr. *******,

I called you this morning at the phone number you provided and left a message for you to call me at your earliest convenience. I would also like to apologize for any miscommunication resulting in a debit being processed on 11/4/14. SmartNote will reverse the debit back in to your bank account, as well as, make the monthly November payment to Toyota. I would welcome the opportunity to speak to you and go over all of the benefits SmartNote has to offer, such as, convenient half debits and making timely payments on your loan which by doing so, helps accelerate your loan pay-off.

Please call me if you have any further questions or concerns. I am available Monday - Friday from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM CST.

Thank you for being a valued SmartNote customer.


Warm Regards,

***** *******

******** ******* *******

SmartNote | The Premier Biweekly Acceleration Program

*** ******* ******** *** **** ***

Round Rock, TX *****

Phone: ************* **** ***

Direct Fax: ************

Email: *****@saveyourdough.com

Website: www.saveyourdough.com

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and find that this resolution is satisfactory to me.

Regards,

******* *******

9/24/2014 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I purchased a 2010 ****** ** ******* on August 6, 2014. ***** ***** approved the loan amount and sent me my first bill for $466.66 for September's payment. The payment is due on Sept. 20, 2014. Today, when I noticed my balance on my checking account is -$500. I first assumed someone had compromised my bank account and I was the victim of fraud. When I did a Google search on the company that made the transaction, it showed as: *************** **** - SMART NOTE Through a little investigating, I discovered that Smart Note does business with ***** *****, the issuer of my loan. Now here is my problem -- I NEVER authorized ANY payment or even gave out my bank account information to Smart Note! I have absolutely no idea how they were able to get my bank account information, let alone take a payment when I NEVER signed a single document authorizing this! This transaction caught me completely by surprise, as a result, I went negative on my bank account and now have an insufficient funds fee of $35. I agreed to pay ***** ***** by the 20th of every month, I NEVER AGREED TO DO BUSINESS WITH SMART NOTE. This company has such a makeshift, amateurish website it leads one to believe they are not a legitimate organization.

Desired Settlement: I want to be taken off the Smart Note billing system immediately. There is no documentation I ever signed authorizing Smart Note payments; for that matter, I never even gave out my account information to ***** *****!

Business Response: The customer also emailed SmartNote Customer Service regarding this matter and I have already replied and addressed his concerns. Please see the attached email exchange between the client and myself. I have asked him to please call me directly to get this matter resolved. I have yet to hear from him.

Thank you,

***** *******
Customer Service Manager

9/12/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: Pursuant to Paragraph 5 of the contract, I wish to cancel the SmartNote Agreement on my ****** ***** ****. I feel it is a scam, it was not explained (only included as part of the closing documents).True, I did sign the agreement along with about 25 other fine print documents. The Finance person at ***** ** ******* made it seem as if this agreement was a normal part of the financing documents in the closing process. I was not offered a financing alternative, just told to present a voided check.

Desired Settlement: I understand there may be a requirement to pay the enrollment fee to get out of this rip-off. I hope you will waive some or all of the fee considering the way I was bulldozed into the Agreement. My preference is to get out of the Agreement rather than be saddled with this reminder that I was swindled. Please let me know if you need additional information and how I make any payment of the enrollment fee, if necessary. VIN#:***************** SmartNote Acct.#:******* Home Phone: ***** ********

Business Response: Dear *** *********

 

I would be glad to go over the benefits of our program and
address your concerns.

 

First, as a courtesy, SmartNote does not charge any fees to
our customers should they cancel their account prior to the first debit. I see
that we have not processed any debits on your account, so if you choose to
cancel today you will not be charge any fees.

 

The following are the many benefits we offer our customers:

 

1)      By
cutting the payment in half they make the debits more affordable and budgeting
easier

2)      We
offer a way to manage/change their payment schedule and amount without
refinancing

3)      We
offer flexible debiting schedules that can be changed at any time

4)      We
help to build on-time payment history

5)      We
provide parents co-signing for children a way to monitor the debits and
payments on the account with NSF alerts

6)      We
help to build and accelerate equity.  This is a great benefit to those
upside down on their loans

7)      We
provide payment tracking on all lender payments

8)      We
offer an easy way to manage the debiting account information on multiple loans
for the customer who changes banks or opens a new account

9)      We
offer early payoff notification

 

We also work as the consumers’ personal advocate throughout
the life of the loan in all situations and assisting them with any questions or
issues they may have.  This includes but is not limited to changing the
payment due date, obtaining deferments due to job loss, illness, or financial
difficulties, locating misapplied payments, monthly payment increases due to a
laps in the customer insurance, obtaining payoff quotes, and any other needs
the consumer may have.

 

Second, the dealership truly had your best interest in mind
when offering you SmartNote as a payment option. We would love the opportunity
to discuss our program benefits and address any questions or concerns you may
have. One of our friendly customer service agents has already called you and is
awaiting your call.

 

Thank you for being a valued customer. We appreciate your
business.

 

Sincerely,

 

***** *******

******** ******* ******* – SmartNote

8/22/2014 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I was told that they would make biweekly payments to lower the principal of my loan...instead they take out biweekly payments from my account and only pay monthly...stating that twice a year they will make an extra payment instead...plus they are charging 1.95 per transaction which was not disclosed and an initial $425 that they take out of your first year of "extra" payments..this is a total scam...we are playing $85 plus $225 just to get out of the scam. This should be illegal!

Desired Settlement: They need to refund us the $85 plus any fees we have paid them to this point which includes the extra payment they are keeping and "applying" to the initial fee.

Business Response: First let me apologize for any misunderstandings regarding the SmartNote program.  We truly strive to provide our customers not only a valuable service but also an exceptional customer service experience which exceeds our customer’s expectations.  SmartNote is known as the premier biweekly debiting & loan payment acceleration program. We debit our customers every 2 weeks for half of their loan payment and send one full payment a month to their lender.   In doing so, we generate an extra half payment every 6 months that we send to the lender with the customer’s regular full monthly payment. This extra payment allows the customer to accelerate their payoff  and accelerate the equity on their loan.  In addition to the before mentioned benefits, the SmartNote program also provides:

 
1)    Simplified budgeting - By cutting the payment in half we make the debits more affordable and simplify the budget of personal finances

2)    A way to manage/change our customers debiting schedule and the amount of debits without refinancing

3)    A flexible debiting schedule that can be changed at any time

4)    Assistance in building an on-time payment history. We send payments prior to their due date and send in only one payment a month to ensure proper posting by the lender

5)    Payment tracking on all lender payments

6)    Parents co-signing for children a way to monitor the debits and payments on the account with NSF alerts

7)    A great benefit to those upside down on their loans through equity acceleration

8)   An easy way to manage the debiting account information on multiple loans for the customer who changes banks or opens a new account

9)   Early payoff notification

10) A personal advocate throughout the life of the loan in all situations assisting them with any questions or issues they may have.  This includes but is not limited to changing the payment due date, obtaining deferments due to job loss, illness, or financial difficulties, locating misapplied payments, monthly payment increases due to a laps in the customer insurance, obtaining payoff quotes, and any other needs the consumer may have.

 

On 3/17/2014 *** ***** ******** agreed to the terms and conditions of the SmartNote agreement, provided SmartNote with debiting information, and signed the SmartNote agreement
authorizing SmartNote to begin debiting his account and making payments on his behalf.  On 4/4/2014 *** ********’s account was activated in the SmartNote system.  A prerecorded welcome message was sent to the phone number on file which stated:

“Congratulations!  I have activated your enrollment into SmartNote, the premier biweekly debiting program.  You have chosen an industry leader to conveniently and easily make payments to your lender and accelerate the payoff of your loan.  Today a welcome letter containing your debiting schedule, frequently asked questions, and important loan information was mailed to your home address.  If you provided an email, an electronic version is also on its way.  Because we know that our success depends on your satisfaction, we will treat you with respect and seek to deliver service which exceeds expectation.  Please call us anytime, Monday through Friday 8:30 AM to 7:30 PM CST should you have any questions.  Our
toll free number is 888-296-4290.  Thank you for choosing SmartNote. That toll-free number again is 888-296-4290.”

Additionally, on 4/4 a welcome letter was sent to the customer’s physical mailing address and to his email address. Both of these documents provided the customer with our Frequently
Asked Questions and provided a schedule of the first year of debit dates and the amount of each debit.  The initial debit date shown on the agreement was for 4/18/2014.  I show SmartNote processed that debit and has continued to debit *** ********’s account on the agreed schedule.  SmartNote has also made the 5/1, 6/1, 7/1, and 8/1 payments to his lender in a timely fashion and these payments have cleared our account in advance of the due date.  

When *** ******** signed the SmartNote agreement, above his signature was the deferred enrollment fee of $428. This fee is deferred as a convenience for our customer so there is
no up-front cost.  We collect the deferred enrollment fee from the extra half debits which occur within the first year.  There was also the following statement:

 
“I  authorize SmartNote or its assigns to initiate debit entries to the account identified above. I understand that my account will be debited in accordance with the schedule, and in such amounts, as indicated above. I understand that each debit will also include a $1.95 bank convenience fee. These bi-weekly debits add up to 26 half-payments – the equivalent of 13 full payments – over the course of the year. Accordingly, I understand that my account will be debited an “extra” half-payment approximately every six months. Regular payments will be forwarded to the Creditor within the grace period (provided my designated account has sufficient available funds to cover the full amount of the scheduled debit). The “extra” payment debits that occur approximately every six months will be used to first satisfy the Enrollment Fee indicated below, and the remaining “extra” payments will be forwarded to the Creditor to be applied against the principal portion of the loan.”

On 8/6/2014 *** ******* called our offices to discuss his account.  At that time the customer asked about the convenience fees and the deferred enrollment fee. When the customer
asked about cancelling our program the customer service representative explained that should he wish to cancel his services with SmartNote, that SmartNote would as a courtesy to the customer waive $343 of the $428 enrollment fee and only charge him $85. 

*** ******* took no action and is currently still an active customer with SmartNote.  I show should he stay active with SmartNote he will accelerate his payoff by 5 months and payoff in 67 months instead of  72 and have an accelerated equity of approximately $2,500 at 67 months.  We will be in contact with *** ******* to see how he would like to proceed.

4/29/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I had contacted this company on 3-24-2014 to cancel my enrollment and have a refund check issued to me. I was informed that I would receive a check within 30 days, as is their policy. After not receiving anything in the mail from them after 30 days, I contacted the company. I was informed that not only had the amount I was owed changed from over $200 to around $60 because of their fees and adjustments, but also a check hadn’t been issued yet and if I wanted the money wired that I would have to pay another fee. I also have never received an itemized statement of charges/changes from them since the cancellation. I can’t help but think that if I had forgotten about this, that I would have never received a refund. I still have not been issued a refund check or an itemized statement from them as of 4-24-2014.

Desired Settlement: I would like a TIMELY refund, and an itemized statement including how they prorate their enrollment fee.

Business Response:

Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention. It is my goal as the Customer Service Manager at SmartNote to resolve customer complaints quickly, fairly and to the satisfaction of all parties involved. I have reviewed Ms. *****’s account and according to our records, Ms. ***** called our call center and spoke to Account Specialist, ***** *. regarding a debit that was processed on 3/21/14 in the amount of $123.36. Ms. ***** stated that she was going to pay off her auto loan in full and she was requesting to stop the biweekly debits through SmartNote. ***** *. processed Ms. *****’s request and closed out her account. It was explained to Ms. ***** that a refund in the amount of $211.72 for debits processed on 3/7/14 & 3/21/14 would be mailed to her in 30 days via check USPS per SmartNote policy, less the $35.00 Prorated Enrollment fee. Please note that Ms. ***** agreed to pay a one-time deferred Enrollment Fee of $246.00 to SmartNote that is collected within the first year of service when she signed up for the program. Ms. ***** had not yet satisfied the Enrollment Fee and as a courtesy SmartNote prorated the fee down to $35.00.

 

The next day, 3/25/14, we received notification from Great Southern Bank, Ms. *****’s financial institution, that the debit that was processed on 3/21/14 was returned for the following reason: Debit submitted on 03/21/2014 (ID: ********) was returned unpaid.  Return code was R10 (Customer Advises Not Authorized; Item Is Ineligible, Notice Not Provided, Signature Not Genuine, or Item Altered. When we receive this notification it usually means that the customer went to their bank and told them to pull the funds back from SmartNote. Unfortunately, this created a returned debit (NSF) fee of $25.00 and we had to subtract $123.36 from the refund of $211.72 because the 3/21/14 debit was pulled back, leaving Ms. ***** with a refund of $63.36. I sincerely apologize that a representative from SmartNote did not contact Ms. ***** on 3/25/14 regarding the returned debit and the change in her refund amount causing Ms. ***** to have to call back on 4/24/14. As a show of goodwill I would be happy to waive both the $35.00 Prorated Enrollment fee and $25.00 NSF fee and transfer $123.36 back into Ms. *****’s bank account at no additional charge. I will also send an account history to her right away.

 

Again, I apologize for any inconvenience this situation may have caused and as I stated previously, it is my goal to ensure all parties involved are satisfied with this resolution. If additional information is required or if you have any questions, please feel free to call or email me at 512-615-8701 or ***********************. We value our customers and any and all feedback is appreciated.

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and find that this resolution is satisfactory to me. If there is any further action needed on my part, please let me know.

Blessings,

******* *****

4/15/2013 Advertising/Sales Issues | Complaint Details Unavailable
10/8/2012 Problems with Product/Service
10/5/2012 Problems with Product/Service