A hero reader has sent in a new mailer that is promoting legal action against New Century Mortgage. It appears to be a mailer that could be used generically against other lenders as well.
The reader said, “On Saturday I received via postal mail what appears to be (attached) the latest iteration of a mass joinder mailing. I believe that a recipient could be easily mislead about a “lawsuit” against New Century Mortgage – similar to other California Bar enforcement actions.”
What is interesting about this mailer is that while it is for a “Pending Law Suit” and “Proposed Litigation” there is no mention that it is end by a lawyer and it does not appear to conform to legal advertising requirements.
The mailer also does not identify who the company or person is behind the mailer. Real upstanding. (That’s sarcasm.)
On the front of the mailer we see a message about a “Pending Law Suit”, a notation that it is a “Secured Document” and that the postal permit is 55 from Santa Ana, California. Seriously, what does “Secured Document” even mean? Does it mean that it was sealed and you have to open it? From my point of view it is language intended to scare the consumer into opening the mailer.
The inside of the mailer is just as problematic. The mailer says it is a “Proposed Litigation Notification.” The only place it even mentions this is a sales piece is in the one line that it is an “Investigation Advertisement.”
The mailer says consumers should contact the “Litigation Department” at 877-454-7503 but there is nothing to indicate this mailer was even sent out by a lawyer or law firm. I have no idea what “Litigation Department” even means in this context but I suspect it will be a sales department manned by non-attorney staff.
The mailer says “our office is investigating…” but never mentions who they are. Who is the office?
It also says the recipient may have received a mortgage by New Century Mortgage that they are investigating but down in the fine print it says “information was obtained through public record sources.” Unless they are manually filtering through mortgage documents, which I deeply suspect they are not pulling each mortgage filed, they are only guessing. They even say as much in the fine print.
If the only information they obtained, as the mailer claims, for sending the mailer was “loan amount, loan to value percentages, date of loan, and residential jurisdiction” then how would they have any idea about their statement “Records indicate that you may have the type of home loan or mortgage our investigative auditors are investigating.”
Consumers are supposed to call 877-454-7503 to find out if they will receive benefits like:
- Reduction in interest rate
- Reduction in monthly payment
- Reduction in principal balance
- Monetary relief
- Delay or stop foreclosure
- Compensation for damages
The reader is right is recognizing these claimed benefits to be associated with the mass joinder marketing efforts by some lawyers that have now been disbarred in California. The mailer calls this approach “loss mitigation negotiations.”
The pitch for “affordable legal representation” is made which seems to clearly indicate a fee will be requested. Otherwise, why would they say it was “affordable.” Then they go on to say there are costs and fees involved.
The fine print at the bottom only tells us the company is located in New York. They disclaim the proposed outcomes as well. The mailer says “Lower monthly payments, compensation for damages and debt forgiveness are Potential Savings, but will vary case to case.”
My advice, if you get a mailer like this, is for you to consult with a local licensed real estate attorney before you take any action. You must speak with an attorney and not a non-attorney sales staff before taking any action.
Additionally, the Federal trade Commission has strict guidance on what, if any fees many be charged in advance for such services. See this post for more details.
In my opinion, the mailer is deceptive and not much different than the other mailers that have been discredited.
Who is 877-454-7503
What is interesting is that although the mailer says the company is located in New York, the website of Free Fresh Start says they are located at:
877-454-7503 Toll Free
5482 Wilshire Blvd. Ste. 1573
Los Angeles, CA. 90036
This address appears to be the location of a UPS Store. – Source
Their website lists their name as Free Fresh Start CPN LLC but there is no such company in California or New York that is registered to do business. There is a Free Fresh Start LLC in California but that company lists a different business address and the records say that in California they will do business as Spiegel & Utrera, PC.
A search of companies registered in New York, as the mailer claims, shows no companies registered under the name Free Fresh Start CPN.
The domain records for freefreshstart.org are private and ownership can not be ascertained.
The company also claims to want people to “get a new credit privacy number now.” The use of credit privacy numbers, or CPNs is very problematic. You can read this post for details.
The company was issued a cease and desist order after not responding to requests from the State of Nevada for mortgage modification and foreclosure consultant services. – Source