National Lender To Issue Refunds and Pay Fines for Deceptive Advertising
As a Baltimore bankruptcy and foreclosure attorney, I regularly assist homeowners under distress from late mortgage payments and high interest rates. Over the past couple of years, I have seen some of the worst abuses especially against elderly homeowners. While it is not unfathomable that where there is money shady operates will swoop in, what unusual it that a company with national reach would still be engaged in these tactics. Thankfully, CFPB is now in place to hold these folk accountable.
Amerisave Mortgage Corporation, an Atlanta-based online mortgage lender, advertises and lends in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
1. 2011 and 2014 misleading advertising on 3rd party websites
2. Quotes based on an 800 FICO score,
3. Consumers offered misleadingly low quotes.
4. Required appraisal for a good faith estimate for the mortgage
5. Appraisal completed by affiliate
6. Appraisal costs marked up by 900%
7. marked up the cost of credit reports by as much as 350 percent,
According to CFPB, “Amerisave lured consumers in with deceptive advertising, trapped them with costly upfront fees, and then illegally overcharged them for services from an undisclosed affiliate,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “By the time consumers could have discovered the advertised low rates were too good to be true, they had already committed to pay hundreds of dollars to Amerisave. Today’s action puts an end to Amerisave’s unacceptable bait-and-switch scheme and holds Patrick Markert personally responsible for his illegal actions.”
- Deceptively advertised low interest rates that were not available
- Locked consumers in with costly up-front fees: costly appraisals
- Failed to properly disclose its affiliate relationship:
- Charged unfairly inflated prices for services through its affiliate:
- Pay $14.8 million in consumer refunds: To be administered by CFPB.
- Stop advertising unavailable mortgage rates: End all deceptive advertising.
- No longer charge illegal fees: Provide disclosure before using affiliates or charging fees.
- Pay $6 million in fines: Bureau’s Civil Penalty Fund.