FTC Shuts the Door on Residential Relief Foundationby Nick LaFleur on Nov. 07, 2011, under alert, Life, scam, Tips
According to consumer complaints filed with Better Business Bureau, Residential Relief Foundation used clever marketing to trick consumers into believing the company was a government agency and part of a program the Obama Administration had put into effect. The company claimed it could help struggling consumers with late fees, interest rates and reduce mortgage payments.
Between March 2010 and September 2011, 156 homeowners from 33 states, including Southern Arizona, filed complaints with BBB against Residential Relief Foundation. The complaints revealed an alarming pattern of false and broken promises, and alleged losses between $250 and $1,595. Single parents, seniors and families from across the country, were left deeper in debt or even homeless.
In a complaint to BBB, one troubled homeowner wrote, “I am now behind on my mortgage payment due to their instructions. I do not know what to do … I will never trust a company like that again ever. It has made an awful situation even worse.”
According to court documents filed by the Federal Trade Commission in the U.S. District Court of Maryland, Residential Relief Foundation must refrain from deceptive practices and assessment of upfront fees. The FTC also accused the company of violating its own privacy policies, disposing of customer documents – including detailed personnel information – in unlocked dumpsters.
The resulting court settlement imposed more than $11 million in judgments and barred the defendants from working in the mortgage relief and debt settlement industries.