The Federal Trade Commission has mailed refund checks to 1,410 consumers swindled by Home Assure LLC, a mortgage relief scam that charged consumers an upfront fee to save their homes from foreclosure but did little or nothing to help them.
The defrauded consumers will receive roughly $2.3 million in refunds, which represents the total amount of money they were cheated out of by Home Assure. The amount of each check will vary depending upon the amount each consumer paid the scheme.As Consumer Ally reported, Home Assure settled FTC charges last July that it that misled consumers, and agreed to refund all the customers it defrauded. The settlement also banned the company from selling mortgage loan modification and foreclosure relief services.
According to the FTC's 2009 complaint, Home Assure's nationwide marketing campaign was designed to take advantage of struggling homeowners by offering them so-called mortgage foreclosure rescue services for an advance fee of $1,500 to $2,500.
Home Assure hoodwinked consumers by feeding them lies of its so-called special relationships with lenders it claimed would entitle them to favorable loan modifications or halt foreclosures. The company also lied about its track record, claiming it had helped thousands of consumers avoid foreclosure.
One of the false claims on Home Assure's website said: "If we are unable to negotiate a plan with your lender that improves your situation or gives you a viable strategy to avoid foreclosure, we will refund 100% of your money ... No questions asked!"
But according to the FTC, Home Assure did little or nothing to help consumers avoid foreclosure, and often refused to refund dissatisfied customers. The company often claimed consumers failed to meet the terms of the contract for a refund, or said they were in breach of contract by contacting their lender or filing for bankruptcy. Other times, the company simply refused to refund their victims without giving any reason at all.
Consumers who receive the checks should cash them by early June 2011. The FTC never requires consumers to pay money or provide information before redress checks can be cashed. Home Assure customers with questions should call the redress administrator, Analytics Inc., at (866) 890-4856 or visit the FTC's refund website.
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