As a social worker I am required to intervene in situations where the elderly, disabled or infirm have been victimized by unscrupulous caregivers.Residential Relief Foundation, LLC cannot be categorized as a caregiver in this case, but did send an unsolicited letter to a client of mine offering to help him, "take care of" his mortgage problem.
The offer, which he accepted and paid for in full 3 months ago, came with a written guarantee from the company that he would begin receiving assistance the moment the check cleared. When we met for the first time at the end of October, nothing had been done to bring "relief" to his problem. He was behind on his mortgage payments due to illness and was receiving letters from his lender indicating foreclosure was imminent. Over the past three months, the only contact between he and RRF was about documents he knew he had sent that they were saying were never received.
He began to realize there was a problem at the end of October when he received a call stating the company had received "nothing" from him yet and if they were to begin work on his case, needed him to fax all his paperwork. Having lost confidence in their ability to assist him, he decided to exercise the guarantee he'd been given and request a full refund. This was denied. What transpired over the next two weeks is indicative of how damaged the mortgage system is in this country.
It also illustrates how RRF makes the choice to take advantage of people who cannot afford their housing due to illness, the economy or job loss, and make a profit off their misery. We were first told that the original fax number was inoperative. We were then told it worked, but got so many faxes that another fax was added and that was why they didn't get my client's faxes. Repeated offers to, "make things right" and "expedite" the case intermingled with customer service reps who engaged in aggressive selling tactics, did not allow us to get a word in edgewise during calls and who staunchly defended their inaction over the last three months by asserting it was the client's fault.
It is interesting these types of companies do not tell people anyone can apply for a modification on their own, with their lender and without cost. They market themselves as saviors; the only way to get through the modification process and avoid foreclosure. They prey on people's fears, take their money and do nothing. When my client finally contacted the bank on his own, he was told he did not qualify for a modification based on his debt to income ratio but was offered a face to face meeting with a bank representative to look at other means of relief.
Had RRF done this three months ago when my client first signed on, he would likely be three months ahead in resolving the problem. In the end, we informed RRF that any further communications would be with the Better Business Bureau, our state Attorney General's office, Maryland's State Attorney General's office and our State Division Of Banks. They relented and offered a full refund with the warning that they were, "severing all ties" with my client and neither he nor I were to contact them again. No problem there.
The moral of this story is: If you pay someone for a service and that service does not take place, it is appropriate to demand your money back. Don't give up. Advocate for yourself and if you can't, enlist the aide of a friend, relative or community organization. RRF and others like them make their living taking money from the vulnerable and scared, promising salvation and delivering nothing but frustration, anger and despair.
For my client this was about getting a much needed $1700 refund. For myself, it was about principle and the idea that it is wrong to take advantage of desperate people. It is also about educating people about the necessity of due diligence in researching any company that promises to help with something as serious as the potential loss of one's home.
RRF did not come by their D+ rating with the Better Business Bureau by fulfilling their promises to their clients.Don't become their next victim.
Review about: Loan Modification Assistance.