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Big Settlement For Those Illegally Charged For Mortgage Loans

August 14, 2003

By Connie Thompson

Video : KOMO 4 NEWS

12,000 loan customers may get their money back as part of a $21 million settlement against the company most people know as Household Finance.

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SEATTLE - It's pay back time for thousands of local families who were illegally charged for mortgage loans.

As of Thursday, 12,000 loan customers may get their money back.

It's part of a $21 million settlement against the company most people know as Household Finance.

The settlement means justice for loan customers like the Dodge family in Blaine. KOMO 4 News first reported in Nov. of 2001 how they nearly lost their home, trying to get a simple loan for repairs.

Before they knew it, one small loan became two big ones. They say they were fast-talked into a $100,000 refinance at nearly 12 percent interest -- and a $15,000 line of credit at nearly 25 percent interest.

"By the time we were through we didn't even know which end was up," said Corey Dodge.

State investigators say it was a company-organized scheme of predatory lending. And their case against Household here played a major role in getting back money for victims in every state.

How much will they get?

"It's a range of a very small number, around $11 or $12 dollars, all the way up to around $25,000," said Chuck Cross of the State Department of Financial Institutions.

It depends on the loan, but if you got a mortgage loan from HFC, Beneficial Finance, or Household Realty Corporation between January of 1999 and September of 2002, you could be eligible to get some of the settlement money.

"We'll be sending out notices to consumers who were affected, saying this is the amount of money you'll receive back, should you choose to accept this settlement," Cross said.

The $21 million is our state's share of a $484 million settlement reached in October. It's taken this long to figure out how to get money back to victims.

To find out if you're eligible to take part in the settlement, call the Household settlement administrator at 1-888-780-2156 or go to www.wa.gov

or www.household-beneficial-settlement.com.

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I think I posted elsewhere that this settlement is absurd. The numbers look soooo big, until they are divided by the number of victims. Then it becomes laughable and this company called by a number of derogatory names from Forbes Magazine to individuals is merrily skipping along. The horrid arbitration agreement remains intact.

Here in NJ, we received our letter today to sign a paper that whatever we get in settlement we will accept and not take any legal action against Household. Well, the amount given, which if truth be told they say is the minimum we would receive based on the number who chose to take part, is $271.05.

If that is what we qualify for, they can put it where the sun doesn't shine, regardless of how broke we are. The BK, all the collections calls made AFTER we filed (from Pakistan, no less), loss of our house, lies told us during the loan process, the "alleged" falsifiying of our application....I can go on. And that amount is going to make it all better? It's like putting a bandaid on wounds from an AK rifle.

Class actions usually end up in such laughable restitutions like this. The way they should have gone was RICO, but we all know how the system really works.

Blood money, every penny. Do I sound bitter? You bet I am. Why is it corporate crime is simply winked at? The head guy makes the late John Gotti look like the pope. :twisted:

Anyone interested, do a web search on "household finance complaints". And anyone having trouble with Best Buy and their credit report entries, guess who you are dealing with?

Said my piece. Need to keep my blood pressure at a decent level.

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