New Mexico Court of Appeals Holds Bank Accountable For Ripping Off Borrowers
In Dollens v. Wells Fargo Bank, the New Mexico Court of Appeals held that banks and other mortgage servicers will not be allowed to get away with treating consumers unfairly. The Court held that banks and servicers can be subject to punitive damages when they fail to apply payments as required or assess bogus charges once accounts are placed in foreclosure.
This happens a lot more often than you might think. Treinen Law Office has seen two unfair tactics repeatedly, with many banks and mortgage services engaging in these tactics. First, consumer’s monthly payments are often applied to pay the bank’s fees and costs before money is applied to interest and principal. This is not allowed by the terms of most mortgages. Second, the fees and costs are often hugely inflated or entirely bogus.
One fee which is often bogus is for “property inspection” or “property preservation.” Banks are sometimes tripped up because they will charge for cutting grass when there is no grass. Other times they repeatedly change the locks or change the locks when the consumer is still in the house. Other times they charge outrageous amounts to serve a foreclosure lawsuit on the consumer. In New Mexico, service of a lawsuit should cost about $30, but some banks try to charge $200 or more. Other abuses exist as well.
It is sometimes difficult to figure out if you are subject to unfair allocation of payments or unfair fees. If you have been placed in foreclosure and cannot get the bank to give you an amount that will catch you up, or if you pay the amount requested but the bank returns the payment and asks for more, or if the amount to get you out of foreclosure jumps and the bank cannot explain the jump, you may be victim to the tactics that the Court in Dollens found reprehensible. You may want to contact our law office. We can help you sort through the bank’s deceptions. We might be able to help you turn the table on the bank.
Treinen Law Office, along with the Duhigg Law Firm, handled the appeal in Dollens. You can read the opinion by clicking here.