Doucet & Associates is a foreclosure defense and consumer litigation law firm in Ohio that focuses on helping homeowners save their home from foreclosure...
The rise of debit cards, credit cards, and electronic fund transfers allows many Americans to live what appears to be a cashless life today. If America evolved to a cashless society, the speed of consumer and business transactions would continue to increase.
New Flex Modification Program Will Replace HAMP
The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) that helps homeowners avoid foreclosure by adjusting interest rates and modifying loans expired at the end of the year. A new Flex Modification program will replace HAMP starting in 2017.
The new Flex Modification program is designed to cut back on monthly mortgage payments when homeowners are experiencing financial hardships and behind on their mortgage. Some homeowners are expected to receive up to a 20% payment reduction on their mortgage. Introduced by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Flex Modification foreclosure prevention program is supposed to be adaptive to regional differences and the ever-changing housing market.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are government enterprises developed by Congress to help loan servicers convert assets to cash, a concept known as liquidity. To do this, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac buy mortgages from lenders and loan servicers. The lenders then take the profit from selling the mortgages and relend it to other consumers buying a home or property. The government enterprises help lenders have an affordable supply of monetary funds to distribute in mortgage loans around the United States.
Flex Modification is expected to help lenders, homeowners, taxpayers, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac save money by avoiding the expensive and long foreclosure process. If you are having financial difficulties and struggling to pay your mortgage payment in full every month, a loan modification may be able to help you keep your home. Contact a foreclosure defense lawyer at Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. at (614)944-5219 for legal assistance securing a loan modification today.
Beware of the IRS Lawsuit Scam
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) wants taxpayers to be aware of a phone scam claiming affiliation with the IRS. The criminal phone scam is contacting taxpayers with a message indicating that the IRS is filing a lawsuit against you and that immediate payment can prevent it.
The scammers are asking taxpayers to provide payment over the phone to help cancel the lawsuit and pay off debt. The scammers can modify their telephone numbers on caller ID to resemble numbers of the IRS so do not call back after receiving a voicemail. Hanging up on a related phone scam is advised.
Taxpayers may receive multiple calls from scammers posing as the IRS officials. Scams with repetitive actions are considered illegal robocalls. Any scam phone call can be reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Access the FTC Complaint Assistant by clicking here.
The scammers are violating traditional practices of the IRS. The real IRS will never demand immediate payment without notifying the taxpayer by mail first. Also the IRS never asks for credit or debit card information over the phone and never refuses other forms of payment. Taxpayers have the right to appeal and question the real IRS if an amount owed seems false.
The fraudulent IRS officials are bullying taxpayers into making payments over the phone. Do not feel frightened or threatened by scammers detailing law enforcement groups are going to get involved and possibly make an arrest. The real IRS does not authorize officials the ability to have taxpayers arrested over the phone.
Prepaid Entertainment Contracts
Laws protect consumers who sign and agree to prepaid entertainment contracts. Examples of prepaid entertainment contracts are gym memberships, dance studios, dating services, massage companies and spas, martial arts facilities, sports clubs, weight reduction centers, and other services requiring monthly payments.
Prepaid entertainment contracts have to be in writing and signed by the consumer and the servicer before the contract begins. The contract has to be under three years and the consumer cannot be charged more than ten percent of the total contract before the services are made available. Servicers must tell consumers orally about a right to cancel the contract and must provide two printed copies of the cancellation rights along with the agreement at the signing.
Every consumer is eligible for a three day right to cancel after signing. A disclosure in bold print should verify all rights to cancel the contract. A consumer disability also justifies the right to cancel and relocation of the company facility more than 25 miles away from a previous location is also reasonable cause to cancel. It is also illegal for a company to waive the right of the consumer to cancel in the contract. Every consumer has the right to cancel.
The company cannot deny a cancellation and must stop charging a consumer after canceling. A company failing to provide a consumer with the rights to cancel in the agreement at signing can allow a consumer to cancel at any time, even years after the contract began. A consumer lawyer can provide assistance to consumers dealing with companies not following the law and struggling with canceling a membership. Consumers who sign contracts before a facility opens are protected by additional rights.
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.
Doucet Sues Caliber for Harassing Homeowners for Amounts Not Due
Doucet & Associate has filed a lawsuit against Caliber Home Loans, Inc. and the Bank of New York Mellon Trust on counts for RESPA, breach of contract, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation and invasion of privacy.
The homeowners that Doucet represents took out a mortgage with Caliber Home Loans in 2005. In 2009, they were forced to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy and entered into a payment plan to repay Caliber and the Bank every penny owed.
The homeowners paid back what they owed and the bankruptcy Trustee filed a motion with Caliber Home Loans that the homeowner’s loan be deemed current. Caliber Home Loans did not object. During this time, Doucet’s client alleges that a bank representative assured the homeowners the loan would be made current once the bankruptcy was discharged a month later. The bank issued a statement in bankruptcy court claiming the homeowners were not behind on their loan.
The Bankruptcy Court deemed the homeowners’ mortgage current. Yet, the lawsuit alleges Caliber Home Loans refused to acknowledge the court’s decision. Instead, the lawsuit alleges that the bank continually refused to update its records and harassed the homeowners with letters and phone calls multiple times a day.
The lawsuit alleges that the inaccurate reporting to the credit agencies have made it impossible for the homeowners to refinance their home or seek new employment. Most upsetting, however, is the severe emotional damage the bank’s harassments have caused the homeowners, which resulted in a tragic miscarriage of the homeowner’s baby.
The homeowners are seeking actual, punitive, and statutory damages, declaratory and/or injunctive relief, attorney fees and costs and any other relief the court deems appropriate.
Doucet & Associates is dedicated to fighting for the rights of consumers, protecting their interests and offering legal assistance to those who would otherwise be unable to afford it. If you need help with a company that is trying to take advantage of you or a loved one, call the firm today at (614) 944-5219.