News Column

Attorney General DeWine Seeks Consumer Restitution from Loan Modification Service

February 19, 2014



DELAWARE, Ohio, Feb. 19 -- The Ohio Attorney General issued the following news release:

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced a lawsuit against Home Remedy Center of Newport Beach, California, for failure to deliver and failure to provide refunds for its home loan modification service. Attorney General DeWine seeks consumer restitution, injunctive relief, and civil penalties. "Consumers paid thousands of dollars thinking they would get help adjusting their mortgage loans," Attorney General DeWine said. "Instead they received essentially nothing in return and lost the money they paid to the business. We won't stand by when a business targets consumers, takes their money, and provides no real help." Through mail and online ads, Home Remedy Center offered to help consumers avoid foreclosure by working with the consumers' lenders to negotiate a loan modification or otherwise adjust their debt. After accepting fees typically ranging from $3,500 to $5,000, the business did little or no work to help consumers and failed to provide refunds. The Attorney General's Office is aware of nine complaints against the business filed with the Attorney General or the Better Business Bureau. In one case, a Delaware County consumer paid Home Remedy Center $3,900 and stopped making her mortgage payments, according to the business' instructions, but she never received a loan modification or a refund. Another Delaware County consumer paid Home Remedy Center $5,000 but never received a modification or a refund. The Attorney General's lawsuit, filed in the Delaware County Common Pleas Court, charges the business and its owner, Pamela Gressier of Huntington Beach, California, with violating Ohio's Consumer Sales Practices Act and Debt Adjusters Act. Consumers who are worried about foreclosure should keep the following in mind:

* Do not pay up-front fees for help avoiding foreclosure or obtaining mortgage relief. Companies may not collect fees for mortgage assistance relief services until consumers receive and accept a loan modification offer from their lenders.

* Research a business before providing any payments or personal information. Check to see if consumers have filed complaints with the Ohio Attorney General's Office and check a company's reputation with the Better Business Bureau.

* Don't trust businesses that tell you to stop making your mortgage payments.

* Contact Save the Dream Ohio for foreclosure assistance. Call 888-404-4674 or visit www.savethedream.ohio.gov.

Consumers who believe they have been treated unfairly should file a complaint with the Ohio Attorney General's Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or by calling 800-282-0515.

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Source: Targeted News Service


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