Monday, April 19, 2010

Fair Treatment is the Law...

The Federal Trade Commission states that borrowers have the right to be treated fairly.  Mortgage servicers may not:
  • count your on-time payments as late and then assess illegal late penalties
  • Neglect to make on-time payments of taxes and insurance from escrow accounts
  • Force borrowers to buy a second hazard insurance policy at inflated premium costs if the borrowers have valid insurance coverage.
  • Report false information about their delinquencies to nation credit bureaus, thus, ruining borrowers' credit ratings.
  • Decline to tell homeowners how much they owe and when it's due.
  • Intimidate or harass customers who are behind on their payments
  • Refuse to respond to borrowers' complaints or requests for information
  • Refuse to work out delinquencies using loss mitigation tools.
  • Stampede homeowners into quick foreclosures
  • Force customers to waive their legal rights as the price of avoiding foreclosures.
  • Transfer of service - your current servicer must notify you at least 15 days before the effective date of the transfer, unless you received a written transfer notice at settlement. The new servicer must notify you within 15 days after the transfer has occurred.
  • There is a 60-day grace period after the transfer: you cannot be charged a late fee if you mistakenly send your payment to the old servicer. In addition, the new servicer cannot report your payment late to a credit bureau during this time.
Consumers who are experiencing difficulties with loan services have several courses of action.
The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) gives them the right to complain directly to the loan servicers, and the right to receive a timely response. All correspondence sent to servicers must indicate, however, that the borrower is making “a qualified written request” under RESPA.

If you believe your loan servicer has engaged in deceptive, illegal or unfair practices, and you have been unable to satisfactory resolve the complaint, the State Attorney’s General Office or the Federal Trade Commission may able to help.

To file a complaint under the RESPA regulations, write:
Office of RESPA and Interstate Land Sales, Department of Housing and Urban Development,
451 Seventh Street, S.W., Room 9146,
Washington, DC 20410.

To file a complaint or receive free information on consumer issues, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261.

More information