With over 11,000 homes in foreclosure in Connecticut and more being added every day, it stands to reason that homeowners who are unable to pay their mortgages might be inclined to turn to one of the plethora of loan modification companies who are currently in business. Most are ethical, law-abiding folks who truly have a desire to help homeowners get back in control of their mortgages.
Some are not.
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is warning Connecticut homeowners about one such company, H.O.P.E. Alliance, Inc. He and U.S. Representative Joe Courtney are investigating complaints about the Cheyenne, Wyoming-based company alleging deceptive practices in offering a bogus mortgage rescue deal to desperate and unsuspecting consumers. According to the complaints, H.O.P.E. Alliance is using the similarity of their name to another mortgage modification group, the Hope Now Alliance, to persuade homeowners to use their services. The big difference is that the Hope Now Alliance is a reputable, government-backed non-profit that legitimately helps people with loan modifications. H.O.P.E. Alliance is also requiring its customers to pony up a “good faith payment” of $1,500 to ensure their participation. On the other hand, The Hope Now Alliance is totally free to the consumer and charges no up-front fees for participation.
At least two homeowners have been duped into using the services of the H.O.P.E. Alliance with disastrous results. After paying the $1,500 fee, they were left in the lurch by the company and are now close to losing their homes. AG Blumenthal has now issued a demand to the company for information regarding their services and representations made to customers, their corporate structure and also a list of their clients in Connecticut.
Mortgage and debt reducing services are largely unregulated and Blumenthal is proposing legislation that would force these companies to disclose their fees and services in advance and prohibit advance fees. He advises homeowners to be wary of mortgage modification companies that make promises that sound too good to be true or who require a large fee up front for their services. These kind of snake oil salesmen give the entire industry a bad name and can leave you and your family literally out in the cold. Don’t fall for their underhanded schemes.
If you need mortgage counseling, you can contact the legitimate Hope Now Alliance at 1-888-995-HOPE (4673) or at their web site, HOPENOW.com.