Presented by Hometown-Motors, Inc.
The State of Ohio is one of 33 states and the District of Columbia that are members of a coalition taking a stand to protect homeowners from unlawful fees.
The bipartisan coalition opposes a proposed class action settlement that would permit a mortgage servicer to profit from illegal payment processing fees charged to homeowners who pay their mortgage online or by phone.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey says “Companies that pad their bottom line with unlawful processing fees cannot be allowed to continue such conduct in West Virginia or in any state.”
The coalition’s brief opposes the proposed settlement in Morris, et al. v. PHH Mortgage Corporation, et al., a case in which mortgage servicer PHH Mortgage Corporation would be able to continue to profit from unlawful processing fees the company has been charging one million homeowners nationwide.
For years, the coalition argues, PHH charged homeowners an illegal fee — ranging from $7.50 to $17.50 — each time a homeowner made a monthly mortgage payment online or by phone, despite many Americans paying their mortgages one of these two ways.
Nowhere in these homeowners’ mortgage contracts is their authorization for such fees and PHH does not charge “processing” fees for any other customers, including those who pay by check or via automatic debit payment. Charging debt collection or similar fees not expressly mentioned in the mortgage contract is unlawful in the 33 states involved in the legal action.
The coalition opposes the proposed settlement arguing it would not only permit PHH to continue to charge the unlawful fees, but also would allow it to actually increase fees — up to $19.50 per month — for the remaining life of the loan, which, for many homeowners, could be another 20 to 30 years.
The coalition further objects to the inadequacy of the monetary relief, as the proposed settlement is designed to ensure that a portion of the monetary relief intended for homeowners will actually end up in PHH’s hands.
Furthermore, homeowners whose loans are still serviced by PHH will not receive any direct monetary payments for prior unlawful payments received by PHH.
West Virginia joined the New York- and Minnesota-led coalition with attorneys general from Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia.