Mortgage Broker to Pay $7.5 Million to Settle Violations3 Jul, 2013 By: Doug McPherson
WASHINGTON – The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has levied a $7.5 million civil penalty against Mortgage Investors Corp., the largest fine the FTC has ever handed down for a do-not-call violation.
Coincidentally, the ruling was announced on the 10-year anniversary of the Do-Not-Call Registry. The case is also the first action the FTC has brought under the Mortgage Acts and Practices advertising rule, which allows the FTC to collect civil penalties for deceptive mortgage ads.
According to the FTC’s complaint, Mortgage Investors Corp., one of the nation’s leading refinancers of veterans’ home loans, called more than 5.4 million numbers listed on the do-not-call registry. The company also failed to honor consumer requests to remove them from the company call list. Plus, Mortgage Investors Corp. misstated the terms of its loan products during the telemarketing calls.
Under the settlement, the defendant is barred from denying consumers’ future requests to be placed on entity specific do-not-call lists; calling consumers on the national do-not-call registry; misrepresenting any terms related to mortgage credit products including rates, closing costs, fees, interest and savings; and misrepresenting its affiliation with any government entity or organization.
FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez said the settlement leaves no doubt “that do-not-call enforcement remains a top priority.”
About 221 million Americans have registered with the do-not-call registry at Donotcall.gov. The settlement marks the 105th enforcement action since staff began enforcing the do-not-call provisions in 2004.