Sunday, March 29, 2009

Customer Complaints On Loan Modification Firms From Around The Country

The following assorted links are to stories of financially strapped homewowners complaining about being screwed out of upfront fees paid to loan modification companies for allegedly worthless promises.
  • Las Vegas, Nevada: Woman evicted after home is foreclosed on. One woman is putting a face on the foreclosure crisis. Evicted from her home Wednesday afternoon with nowhere to go and making matters worse, she says she tried everything to get the bank to work with her. That includes hiring a man who is now facing felony theft charges. But still, the constable showed up at her door. She and her husband are former clients of Jack Ferm, the owner of the infamous U.S. Justice Foundation. Carrie paid him $1,900 because she says he promised to help renegotiate their loan. Instead, Ferm was recently arrested and charged with felony theft.

  • Pleasant View, Tennessee: Woman Bilked By Foreclosure Relief Program (FTC Shut Down Company Last Month). Heather Means is a newly divorced mother of two. When she got behind on her mortgage payments, a letter from National Foreclosure Relief sounded perfect. She paid them $1,000 and never heard from them again. Neither did her mortgage company. She isn't the only one who has had trouble with National Foreclosure Relief, Inc. The Federal Trade Commission shut down the California company last month. The FTC said "many consumers who retain NFR's services ultimately lose their homes to foreclosure."

  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Scammers Prey On Troubled Homeowners (Group Shares Name With Legitimate Mortgage Help Network). Lori Marderosian said she gave cash to a mortgage consultant who claimed to be from a government-approved network called Hope Now. "I gave him $1,800," she said. "I waited for phone calls, which never came." After five months, Marderosian said she heard nothing and discovered that the Web site had disappeared. She said that even though the site had called itself Hope Now, it wasn't affiliated with the real company of the same name. There have been plenty of complaints about the company that called itself Hope Now. The New Jersey Attorney General's Office filed a lawsuit charging that it used deceptive conduct and charged up-front fees. The FTC has followed with its own lawsuit and obtained a federal court order to stop the company from doing business.

  • Fort Worth, Texas: Local couple fall victim to alleged scammers. In early March, the 31-year-old man and his 27-year-old wife tapped a Houston company to renegotiate their home loan. They provided all the personal information requested by the firm. But a few weeks later, when they tried contacting the company, its phones had been disconnected and its Web site had been taken down, according to a report the couple filed with police on March 16. Similar to the police report that he and his wife filed, complaints against Excel Loss Mitigation have come in from the Texas cities Grand Prairie, Temple and Pasadena, said Monica Russo, an investigator for the Better Business Bureau in Houston. Russo said eight complaints lodged with her office this month accuse Excel Loss Mitigation of bilking struggling homeowners out of $700 to $1,500 each. Eight complaints are a lot, but the number of actual victims is probably much higher, she said. "For every one complaint, there’s 20 others we never hear about," Russo said.

  • Houston, Texas: Company Claims It Can Stop Foreclosure. Some homeowners facing foreclosure turn to a Houston company called Excel Loss Mitigation for help. But after paying to have their home loans modified customers find the company gone and it's owner denying any involvement. The website for Excel Loss Mitigation is gone, phone numbers are disconnected.