Consumer Protection & Bankruptcy
The Consumer Protection Team helps low-income people who have disputes with businesses. There are many types of problems. Here are some of the things we can help with:
- Problems with buying a car or making payments
- Bad Auto Repairs
- Identity Theft
- Student Loans
- Harassment by Debt Collectors
- Lawsuits by Debt Collectors
- Credit Reporting Issues
- Medical Debt
- Solar Power Scams
- Problems with buying from a door to door salesman
- Foreclosure or home loan problems
- Loan Modifications
- Applications for the California Mortgage Relief Program | (camortgagerelief.org)
- Contracts negotiated in another language
- Other Problems with a Business
Things We Generally Cannot Help With:
- Homeowner Association Disputes
- Problems with Insurance Companies (Car, Homeowners, etc.)
- Government Debts (Taxes)
How To Get Help
Call to speak to our intake team, Monday through Friday 9 am – 5 pm
Call 1-877-534-2524 | TTY 1-800-735-2929
Or send an email using the contact form here.
Or come in to one of our 3 office locations.
Self Help Resources
You can get court forms at the California Court website. Click here to access the “Forms & Rules” page. Some forms you might need:
- General Denial Form (PLD-050)
- Request to Waive Court Fees (FW-001)
- Order on Court Fee Waiver (FW-003)
- Case Management Conference Statement (CM-110)
- Claim of Exemption – For Wage Garnishment (WG-006)
- Claim of Exemption – For Bank Levy (EJ-160)
- Financial Statement for Claim of Exemption
- Declaration (MC-050)
- Exemptions from the Enforcement of Judgments (EJ-155)
NOTE: TO OPEN THESE FORMS YOU NEED ADOBE READER. YOU CAN DOWNLOAD IT FOR FREE HERE.
The Sacramento Law Library has great self-help guides that can help you fill out forms. Check the “Research Guides” on this page: Being Sued: Information for Defendants (saclaw.org)
- Watch out for anything demanding you to send immediate payment through Western Union, MoneyGram, or with prepaid debit cards! If you get a phone call or email asking you to send money by wire transfer or by prepaid debit cards, take some time to research before you send anything. Sometimes scammers may pretend to be calling from a government agency such as the IRS or even pretend to be a family member in distress. Try calling the person, company, or government agency directly to be sure the call was real.
- Remember, if you get any unsolicited call, don’t send money or give out your personal information. Investigate first!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 17, 2022
Office of Public Affairs
CFPB Takes Action Against Carrington Mortgage for Cheating Homeowners out of CARES Act Rights
Company wrongly charged fees and inaccurately reported homeowner credit information despite pandemic-era housing protections
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is taking action against Carrington Mortgage Services for deceptive acts or practices under the Consumer Financial Protection Act in connection with mortgage forbearances. The CFPB found that Carrington failed to implement many protections, provided to borrowers with federally backed mortgage loans who were experiencing financial hardship, during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The CFPB found that Carrington misled certain homeowners who had sought a forbearance under the CARES Act into paying improper late fees, deceived consumers about forbearance and repayment options, and inaccurately reported the forbearance status of borrowers to the big three credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. The CFPB is ordering Carrington to repay any late fees not already refunded, repair its faulty business practices, and pay a $5.25 million penalty that will be deposited into the CFPB’s victims relief fund.
“Carrington Mortgage unlawfully withheld legally mandated pandemic protections, wrongly imposed fees, and reported false information to credit reporting companies,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “Homeowners were misled and denied key protections at a time when they were in most need of help.”
Carrington Mortgage Services is a non-bank mortgage servicer headquartered in Anaheim, California. Carrington operates in all 50 states and services a large number of federally backed mortgage loans, which are made or guaranteed by federal agencies or government-sponsored entities (GSEs). As of September 2020, Carrington serviced nearly half a million federally backed mortgage loans: more than 65% were Federal Housing Administration loans, nearly 20% were U.S. Department of Agriculture loans, slightly more than 10% were Veterans Benefits Administration loans, and about 5% were loans backed by GSEs.
In 2020, Congress passed the CARES Act, which provided mortgage protections to borrowers with federally backed mortgage loans who were experiencing financial hardship during the COVID-19 public health emergency. One key protection was that mortgage servicers were required to provide forbearances of up to 180 days upon request. Borrowers were also afforded certain credit reporting protections. Federal agencies and GSEs also issued their own guidelines to servicers about assistance for borrowers during the pandemic.
The CFPB investigated Carrington and found they violated the Consumer Financial Protection Act when they misrepresented the requirements of the CARES Act and related federal agency guidelines. The company misrepresented to borrowers that they could not have 180 days of forbearance upon request and that certain borrowers could not have forbearance at all. Carrington also implied that homeowners had to make more detailed attestations than were actually required by law, and the company imposed late fees when they were not permitted.
Specifically, the CFPB found that Carrington:
- Wrongly charged late fees: Carrington deceived certain borrowers, stating they were required to pay late charges they did not owe while their accounts were in forbearance. Carrington also falsely told borrowers in forbearance that they would “be assessed” or had “been assessed” late charges. In some cases, Carrington did wrongfully charge late fees.
- Repeatedly provided false information about pandemic protections: Carrington told certain homeowners that they were required to remit their monthly payments “immediately” and could be facing foreclosure proceedings if they did not do so. In fact, no payment was required nor could the homeowners face foreclosure proceedings. The company also misrepresented to homeowners that they needed to provide specific reasons in order to obtain a forbearance when they only needed to attest to financial hardship during the pandemic. Carrington also told homeowners that to get a forbearance of more than 90 days, they had to make another request after the first 90 days.
- Botched homeowners’ credit reports: Carrington illegally furnished information to consumer reporting companies that certain borrowers’ accounts were delinquent, rather than current, even though the homeowners’ accounts were current entering forbearance. Carrington also inaccurately furnished reports on the delinquency of certain homeowners in forbearance who were delinquent at the time they entered forbearance. Carrington failed to promptly notify the big three credit reporting companies about the errors.
Under the Consumer Financial Protection Act, the CFPB has the authority to take action against institutions violating consumer financial protection laws, including engaging in unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices. The CFPB’s investigation found that Carrington violated the Act’s prohibition on deceptive conduct, as well as certain provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and its implementing regulation, Regulation V.
The order requires Carrington to:
- Provide redress to consumers: Carrington must conduct an audit to ensure any improperly charged late fees have been refunded to consumers, and if not, to refund them.
- Repair its faulty business practices: Carrington must assess customer service staffing and provide training relating to applicable CARES Act and agency and GSE guidelines. The company must also establish policies and procedures to prevent the issues from recurring.
- Pay $5.25 million in fines: Carrington must pay a $5.25 million penalty to the CFPB, which will be deposited into the CFPB’s victims relief fund.
Consumers can submit complaints about mortgages and other financial products or services by visiting the CFPB’s website or by calling (855) 411-CFPB (2372).
Employees of companies who they believe their company has violated federal consumer financial protection laws are encouraged to send information about what they know to email@example.com.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a 21st century agency that implements and enforces Federal consumer financial law and ensures that markets for consumer financial products are fair, transparent, and competitive. For more information, visit consumerfinance.gov.
Where to Get More Information
- Federal Direct Loan Consolidation Program – Information about your federal student loans. You can apply to consolidate these types of loans.
- Student Loan Borrower Assistance Website – General info on options for federal and private student loans. Topic include the pros and cons of consolidation, rehabilitation, settlement, cancellation, etc.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – Learn about rules governing banks, other lenders, and bill collectors. File complaints against finance lenders, bill collectors, banks and other lending companies.
- Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Website – Learn to avoid business fraud. File complaints about unfair, deceptive, and fraudulent business practices.
- By law, you are entitled to one free credit report from each of three nationwide credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) every 12 months.
- AnnualCreditReport.com is the only website set up by United States government and the three major credit reporting agencies to allow you to get your free credit report. Right now, you can get a free credit report every week until December 2022.
- To get your free credit report, go to www.annualcreditreport.com
- Be careful with other websites that claim to give you free credit reports. Many sites will only give you a free report if you buy other products or services. Other sites give you a free report and then bill you for services you have to cancel. The only source for the free credit report authorized by law is AnnualCreditReport.com.
- Identity Theft Resource Center – Get help for ID theft. You can also call them at 888-400-5530. They are open 24/7.
- Federal Trade Commission Identify Theft Website – You can use this website to create a FTC ID Theft Affidavit. Fill it out. File it with the police.
- AnnualCreditReport.com – Get free credit reports here. You can also call 1-877-322-8228. OR you can fill out an Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
- Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development: Get hospitals’ financial aid rules. Download their applications for help with paying your medical bills.
- Consumer Center for Health Education and Advocacy: (877) SD HEALTH (734-3258 (toll-free)) Consumer Center advocates can assist you. Learn about your options for healthcare. Find out how and where to get services. Find out what to do if you have a problem with your health insurance.
- California Bureau of Automotive Repair can assist if you have had problems with an auto repair shop. You can file a complaint with the state at this website. The state can work with you and the repair shop. They may help you get the shop to fix your car's problem. They can help you get a refund or lower the bill.
- DMV: The DMV can assist with vehicle title problems or licensing issues.
- National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) – Good info on consumer issues.
- California Attorney General’s Office – Info on many consumer issues. To get to the Attorney General’s “Protecting Consumers” page, click here.
- San Diego District Attorney – Consumer Protection – Use this site to file a complaint with the San Diego DA’s Consumer Protection Unit.
- Utility Consumer Action Network (UCAN) – UCAN can help you with utility company problems .
- 2-1-1 San Diego for Resource Referrals: Get referrals for almost any problem.
Request a Presentation
Our staff give presentations on a variety of issues to community groups, service providers, and others in low-income communities.
Volunteer to Help
We can always use volunteer assistance. Please contact our pro bono team for opportunities!