Two states - Colorado and Florida - have teamed up to crack down on deceptive mortgage advertising.
Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, in conjunction with the Florida Attorney General's office, has reached an agreement to prevent a Colorado-based brokerage firm, Assurity Financial Services, LLC, from engaging in deceptive trade practices.
According to the complaint, Assurity Financial Services was contacting consumers with direct mailings designed to look like they were from a government agency or the borrower's lender. According to the assurance of voluntary compliance, Assurity Financial Services sent out hundreds of thousands of mailings that appeared to be materials from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or other governmental entities.
The mailers, which used a Washington, D.C., P.O. Box as a return address, informed homeowners in Colorado, Florida and other states that they were eligible for refunds on their mortgages.
Other mailers from the Englewood firm were made to appear as though there were from the homeowner's lender or implied that the homeowner was delinquent on their mortgage when, in fact, the homeowner was not. When consumers used the phone number listed on the mailers, they were directed to operators working for Assurity Financial Services who were trying to solicit business.
These actions, the attorneys general alleged, violated the Colorado Consumer Protection Act and the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
Under the assurance of voluntary compliance, Assurity Financial Services has agreed not to engage in any false or deceptive trade practices and will be required to clearly label each mailer as "a solicitation for a home loan." Also as part of the agreement, Assurity Financial Services will pay $100,000 each to Colorado and Florida to reimburse the cost of their investigations.