The Federal Trade Commission has mailed 1,410 refund checks totaling an estimated $2.3 million to consumers allegedly defrauded by Home Assure LLC, a so-called mortgage foreclosure rescue service.
The FTC alleged that the company often charged consumers an upfront fee of $1,500 to $2,500. The company’s representatives falsely claimed that its special relationships with lenders would help it to obtain favorable loan modifications or stop foreclosure - and that the company had helped thousands of consumers avoid foreclosure.
One of the claims on its former Web site: "If we are unable to negotiate a plan with your lender that improves your situation or gives you a viable strategy to avoid foreclosure, we will refund 100% of your money. . . No questions asked!"
The settlement order also banned the company from selling mortgage loan modification and foreclosure relief services. The money being returned represents the total consumers paid in the scam.
Home Assure LLC conducted a nationwide marketing campaign designed to take advantage of struggling homeowners by offering so-called mortgage foreclosure rescue services, according to the FTC’s complaint.
According to the FTC, however, Home Assure did little or nothing to help consumers avoid foreclosure. In many cases the company refused to pay refunds, sometimes claiming that consumers did not meet the terms of the contract for a refund or that they had breached the contract by contacting their lender or filing for bankruptcy, and sometimes without giving a reason.