- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
Media Contact for AG Healey Secures $565,000 from Mortgage Company for Harassing Homeowners with Excessive Phone Calls
Boston — Attorney General Maura Healey today announced a mortgage servicing company will pay $565,000 and changed its business practices in a settlement resolving allegations that the company violated the AG’s debt collection regulations.
The assurance of discontinuance, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, alleges that Bayview Loan Servicing, a Florida-based mortgage loan servicer, harassed borrowers with excessive phone calls and failed to inform homeowners of their right to request that the amount due on their mortgage be verified for accuracy.
“Our state laws protect homeowners from being harassed by their mortgage company,” said AG Healey. “This settlement is a message to all debt collectors that our office will continue to aggressively pursue those who engage in abusive collection practices in Massachusetts.”
The AG’s investigation of Bayview found that the company placed an excessive number of calls to hundreds of homeowners who were struggling to make their mortgage payments. The company also failed to provide homeowners with the written notice of their right to request verification and an accounting of the amount owed, as required by the AG’s debt collection regulations.
In addition to paying $565,000 to the Commonwealth, Bayview has changed its business practices to comply with the debt collection regulations and agreed to monitoring by the AG’s Office for two years.
Under the AG’s debt collection regulations, a debt collector can only initiate communication with a borrower two times in a seven day period at the borrower’s cellular phone, home phone or personal phone, and only two times in a 30 day period at any other number. A debt validation notice must also be sent within 5 days of an initial communication to collect a debt.
The AG’s Office regularly receives consumer complaints about debt collection abuses and has prioritized taking legal action against several debt collectors in recent years. In 2019, the AG’s Office announced a $4 million settlement with Portfolio Recovery Associates over its abusive debt collection practices, and in 2017, sued Lustig, Glaser & Wilson, P.C., a Massachusetts law firm used by Portfolio for filing tens of thousands of debt collection lawsuits based on unsubstantiated and inaccurate debts. The AG’s Office also sued a Lowell debt collection attorney and obtained an injunction barring him from threatening consumers with arrest or imprisonment for not paying small debts.
The AG’s Office encourages anyone with questions or concerns about debt collection practices to learn more about fair debt collection or file a complaint online.
This matter was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Kimberly McDonald and Michael Lecaroz, both of the AG’s Consumer Protection Division.