Rick Slorp alleges that BAC Home Loans Servicing, L.P. and its attorneys at Lerner Sampson & Rothfuss LLP (LSR) created and submitted multiple fake versions of his promissory note to use as evidence against him in a foreclosure lawsuit.
How to Correct Mortgage Errors
For years, homeowners have complained that mortgage companies do not adequately address concerns about their loans, do not respond to requests for information, or fail to correct errors. This has become such a problem that federal law now requires mortgage companies to formally respond to any homeowner’s written request when the request alleges the mortgage company:
Failed to accept payments or apply payments correctly;
Failed to credit payments on the receipt date;
Failed to pay escrows as agreed;
Charged unreasonable fees, or without a basis;
Failed to provide an accurate payoff quote;
Failed to timely provide transferring notices; or
Failed to provide assistance to avoid foreclosure.
Homeowners facing problems with their mortgage company have a right to demand the company research their complaint and provide a written answer within 30 days. The company must correct any mortgage error immediately, or it must provide an explanation why it believes the account is correct. It cannot simply mail the homeowner an accounting of the loan, and it cannot charge the homeowner to research the complaint.
Attorney Troy Doucet of the Dublin, Ohio law firm Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. regularly litigates mortgage cases on behalf of homeowners. He recommends that homeowners with concerns about their mortgage send a written letter to their mortgage company that clearly identifies the concern, includes supporting documentation, and asks for a formal correction. He cautions that the letter must be sent to the address designated to receive correspondence (not the payment address), and he recommends keeping a copy of the letter sent via certified mail.
The mortgage company must acknowledge receipt of the letter within five days, and respond to concerns within 30 days. Failing to adequately respond to the letter can trigger damages under federal law, including attorneys’ fees. If the letter does not produce the expected results, a knowledgeable foreclosure and consumer attorney should be able to help with the next step. Call (614) 944-5219 to speak with one now.
Can my credit card company sue me?
Troy Doucet is quoted in this Yahoo article about arbitration clauses. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/credit-card-company-sue-123048287.html
He would also point out that every so often arbitration clauses will be reciprocal, but that is rare and he has only seen it in commercial contracts. Even then, the clauses are usually limited in some respect or another.
If you have an arbitration clause you are worried about, please contact the attorneys at Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. by calling (614) 944-5219.
What is the difference between bankruptcy and a loan modification?
Bankruptcy is a section of federal law that enables people who owe money from having to pay it back. Bankruptcy is actually mentioned in the Constitution, and is recognized as a way for people to obtain fresh starts, usually after some catastrophic life event caused them to acquire significant amounts of debt. Studies have consistently shown the leading cause of bankruptcy is due to significant medical bills, job loss, business failure, or family turmoil.
Bankruptcy is the process of having your debts organized and either discharged (legally forgiven), or having them repaid in an organized way over time, or a mixture of both.
In the foreclosure context, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the tool that enables homeowners to force their mortgage company to accept repayment and causes their loan to become current over time. You basically begin making your normal mortgage payment immediately, plus an extra amount to pay back the accumulated arrears. You will make these payments pursuant to a formal plan overseen by the bankruptcy court, over a period of several years. Once you complete all your payments, the plan is done and your loan is current. You then continue with just your normal mortgage payments.
On the flip side, a loan modification is where you and your mortgage company agree privately to terms that enable you to begin repaying the loan. The process is not part of any formal bankruptcy filing, nor is it overseen by a judge. Instead, a loan modification usually comes from your mortgage company realizing you are facing financial hardship and thus deciding to offer you (or is forced to offer you by the government) a lower interest rate or longer repayment period, which lowers your payment. Alternatively, a loan modification could mean you pay a higher payment for a period of time to repay any arrearages. It could be any combination of a series of terms and is only limited to everyone’s imagination and the existing consumer laws.
In any event, a loan modification is the result of an agreement reached directly between you and your mortgage company, rather than a bankruptcy filing, which is overseen by the bankruptcy court system.
Can My Credit Card Company Take Money From My Bank Accounts?
The short answer is no, your credit card company cannot take money out of your account without your permission or a judicial order. If you live in Ohio and your credit card company is taking money out of your account without your permission, call our consumer attorneys at (614) 944-5219.
The Electronic Funds Transfers Act (EFTA) in the Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA), codified at 15 USC 1693a, et seq., governs electronic fund transfers to and from accounts. It’s a very short Act, with the juicy provisions located towards the end of the chapter.
In particular, 15 USC §§ 1693e requires any preauthorization to be in writing to be valid. So, the credit card company can’t take money from your account unless you allow them to do so in writing. The only exception to this is when you authorize them over the phone for a one time debit to your account, as those transactions fall outside the act under 1693(a)(6)(E).
If you don’t give the credit card company authorization over the phone, then they can’t take your money unless they get your permission in writing (or have a court order). You cannot waive this written requirement, as stated in 1693l. Also, the credit card cannot condition the extension of credit on repayment by electronic transfer, as stated in 1693k.
The civil liability provisions of the act are located in 1963m. It provides for actual damages or up to $1,000, plus attorneys fees in a successful action. Because attorneys fees are provided under the statute, our firm may be able to represent you without out of pocket cost to you. Further, a party knowingly and willfully violating the act is also subject to criminal liability under 1693n.
If an unauthorized transfer occurs, your personal bank cannot hold you liable for amounts greater than $50 or the amount stated in 1693g in certain circumstances.
If you think you need to file a lawsuit about an unauthorized transfer, call us or take a look at the definitions in 1693a to ensure the act applies to all the parties, plus look at the implementing Regulation E, 12 CFR Part 205, et seq., as it implements the EFTA, or call our law firm if you live in Ohio.
The credit card company can take money from a deposit account with court authorization. However, it cannot use a cognovits (admission of liability) to obtain an immediate judgment without your permission. Cognovits are illegal under federal law in consumer transactions, as an unfair credit practice under 16 CFR Part 444.2, meaning creditors must resort to the judicial system set up in each state to enforce debts. That is, the credit card company must normally sue you in court, obtain a judgment, then collect on that judgment through the court system. This can take months to years, depending on whether you defend the lawsuit.
For example, in Franklin County Ohio, amounts over $15,000 are under the common pleas courts jurisdiction. Judges in that court report a case load of about 1,000 cases each due to the high number of foreclosures, meaning it could be over a year before you get a trial date (if you survive the preliminary motions and motion for summary judgment). Small amounts that are able to be litigated in small claims court may generate judgments much faster.
While the court can order a freeze on your bank account at the beginning of the lawsuit, this generally occurs only when the credit card company knows which bank you have assets and there is a likelihood the funds may not be there when the lawsuit is done. It process is rather unusual, and generally the credit card company will need to wait for a judgment before freezing your assets and then taking them. If the account is transferred to a collection agency, then the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act will probably kick in. That is available at 15 USC 1692, et seq. It does not apply to credit card companies collecting on their own debt, unless debt collection is their business. It offers great protections for consumers from harassing phone calls.
If you have limited (or no) assets and lots of debt, it is wise to at least have a conversation with a bankruptcy attorney. They can provide direction or help figuring out how to protect limited assets from creditors through bankruptcy. If you are in school and rely on student loans, it would be very wise to also talk with your financial aid office to determine what, if any, effects bankruptcy will have on your ability to continue in school (stemming from the ability to obtain financing). A Bankruptcy filing can eliminate your ability to qualify for grad-plus loans without a strong co-signor (over the government subsidized $20,500 per year).