How would you like to be charged $20,000 when in fact you owe $2,000? Doesn’t sound like too great of a billing and accounting system. In fact it sounds down right fraudulent and predatory.
Welcome to the new unfortunate fleecing of the homeowner that is infiltrating our court systems and robbing unsuspecting borrowers that are oblivious to these “questionable” fees as they face foreclosure and are caught in a system that seems to be failing to protect consumers.
They call it questionable fees, I like to call it predatory servicing. I’ll inform you how you can combat this a little bit further down in this post.
CNN reported yesterday that;
Countrywide Financial, the nation’s leading mortgage lender, is facing a federal probe into its foreclosure practices, according to a published report.
The New York Times reported Wednesday that the U.S. Trustee, the federal agency monitoring the bankruptcy courts, subpoenaed its records to determine if two foreclosures in southern Florida represented abuses of the bankruptcy system by the lender.
The agency, a part of the Justice Department, announced an effort to move against mortgage servicing companies that file false and inaccurate claims in foreclosure cases.
I have heard many stories of borrowers that were charged fees that had no explanation and could not be supported via the documentation that their lender or servicer was providing. Most of these homeowners just caved in to the demands and agreed to pay these “questionable” fees.
More often then not, it was out of desperation to stop foreclosure and save their home from the big bad wolf.
Borrowers need to understand that they can “demand” a “life of loan history” via a “qualified written request” . This is a law under Section 6 the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act (RESPA). By law, the lender or servicer is required to acknowledge the request within 20 business days and must try and resolve the issue within 60 business days.
Qualified written request
For purposes of this subsection, a qualified written request
shall be a written correspondence, other than notice on a
payment coupon or other payment medium supplied by the servicer,
(i) includes, or otherwise enables the servicer to
identify, the name and account of the borrower; and
(ii) includes a statement of the reasons for the belief
of the borrower, to the extent applicable, that the account
is in error or provides sufficient detail to the servicer
regarding other information sought by the borrower.
More from the CNN article.
The paper says that in the two cases being examined borrowers who had filed for bankruptcy court protections objected to Countrywide’s claims of what was owed on their home loans. One couple contended that their mortgage payments were current, while Countrywide (Charts, Fortune 500) claimed $2,400 in overdue mortgage payments in that case.
The paper reports that the U.S. Trustee took an interest in both matters after Countrywide did not respond to the borrowers’ objections and judges in the cases ordered the lenders’ claims for various fees stricken from the claims.
A Countrywide spokesman told the paper it does not comment on pending litigation, but added that it had intended to appear at the hearings and was investigating why its outside counsel did not do so.
Countrywide has filed objections to the U.S. Trustee’s probe and subpoenas in both cases, the paper reported, saying that they were overly broad and exceeded the office’s powers. But the bankruptcy judge hearing one of the cases has allowed the regulator’s investigation to go forward.
I am sure that we will see many more of these cases hit our court systems as the mortgage and housing fiasco continues to unwind before our very eyes.
Maybe you have been charged questionable fees, hopefully now you have the knowledge on how to use the law to challenge these bogus charges via “qualified written request” and fight back against your lender.http://iamfacingforeclosure.com/blog/2007/11/29/predatory-servicing-and-questionable-fees-countrywide-named-in-foreclosure-probe/