``On March 7, it rejected some of the terms noted in the closing documents and returned the money. The next day, it sent a letter approving the same terms. Worried that the deal might be scotched, Ms. Garcia revised the documents to the bank's earlier specifications and paid an additional $575.

On March 16, Bank of America asked Ms. Garcia for the $575 that had already been sent. But, the bank employee wrote: "I did receive and approve your closing docs today."

Three days later, Ms. Garcia's lawyer again wired the sale amount to the bank. It rejected the wire and on March 20 sent Ms. Garcia a letter declining the short sale. The deal was off, even though the property had changed hands, the buyer had moved in and the new ownership had been recorded. ''

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