It is amazing to watch the same old sales pitches for debt relief come back around and claim to be new.
A wonderful reader sent in this mailer for the New 2019 Mortgage Assistance Programs.
The mailer appears to pretend to be an official notice about something called Fair Housing but uses an image that appears to be more related to the Equal Housing Opportunity logo from Housing and Urban Development.
The mailer claims to be able to reduce the amount the consumer owes, reduce the monthly payment, and even reduce the interest rate. Sounds a lot like the same claims made by companies that have come and gone after regulators took aim at them.
The pitch also seems similar to others that have resulted in actions by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for violations of the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services Rule (MARS). Take a look at this, this, and especially this.
When it comes to advertising mortgage modification services the FTC says:
“Under the Rule, it’s illegal to misrepresent, either expressly or by implication, any “material aspect” of your services. That includes any information that’s likely to affect a consumer’s decision to use your service or choose one service over another. Here are some examples of claims that would be material:
- the likelihood of negotiating, getting, or arranging a specific form of mortgage relief;
- how long it will take to get the advertised mortgage relief;
- an affiliation with the government, public programs, or lenders or servicers;
- the terms and conditions of homeowners’ mortgages, including how much they currently have to pay;
- your refund and cancellation policies;
- whether homeowners will be getting legal services;
- the benefits and costs of using alternatives to for-profit MARS providers;
- the amount homeowners may save if they use your service;
- the total cost of your service; and
- the terms, conditions, or limitations of a lender or servicer’s offer of mortgage relief, including how much time the homeowner has to accept the offer.
In addition, if you make claims about the benefits, performance, or efficacy of your services, your statements must be truthful and you must have competent and reliable evidence to back them up. So, for example, if you make claims about how much your customers will save – like “We can reduce your mortgage payments by 20% to 50%” – your claims must accurately reflect the results you’ve achieved for previous customers. Similarly, if you claim that your customers have reduced their mortgage debt by “up to 50%,” it’s likely you’re conveying to new customers that they, too, will get savings of around 50%. If you don’t have solid proof to back up that claim, your claim is considered deceptive.”
If anyone receives a mailer like the one above, be sure to ask a lot of questions and check out the company before you sign for anything. Interesting the company that sent this mailer doesn’t identify who they are. Another Red Flag.
Here is the front of the mailer.