by: Don Griffin Updated:CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
A woman thought she was getting help with her mortgage that she couldn't afford. Instead, she's now out $8,000.
Peggy Roach and her husband were struggling to keep up their $1,200 mortgage payments on their mobile home.
So they turned to the Mortgage Law Group, a company that promised to lower their payments to $550.
"They told us they could help us," Roach said.
First they had to pay the company's monthly fees upfront.
Peggy Roach didn't know that was illegal in North Carolina.
"How much you pay them?" Action 9 asked.
"$8,000," Peggy Roach said.
She said the Mortgage Law Group didn't get their monthly payments reduced.
Last month their lender started foreclosure proceedings.
"So Mortgage Law Group wasn't doing anything for you?" Action 9 asked.
"But all the time they were telling us they were going to help us," Peggy Roach said.
"And you believed them?" Action 9 asked.
"Yeah," Peggy Roach said.
Peggy Roach said the company doesn't return her calls.
Action 9 tried calling them and got a recording. A message was left, but no one called back.
Action 9 checked out the Mortgage Law Group with the BBB and found they have an F rating and 39 complaints.
Two states have sued the company, over misleading advertising.
"Once two states have taken action, then it should get the attention of the FTC," said Tom Bartholomy, BBB president.
Bartholomy said consumers who are in trouble with their mortgages should turn to nonprofit, HUD-approved counselors. Their services are free.
It's an expensive lesson for Peggy Roach, who tells troubled homeowners to steer clear of companies who want money up front.
"Don't call any of them," she said.