Monday, September 24, 2007

Watch out for deceptive mortgage ads, FTC warns

The Federal Trade Commission is warning mortgage brokers and lenders -- as well as media outlets carrying their ads -- that some advertising claims appearing on Web sites and in newspapers, magazines, direct mail, e-mails and faxes might violate federal law. “Many mortgage advertisers are making potentially deceptive claims about incredibly low rates and payments, without telling consumers the whole story -- for example, that these low rates and payments apply for a short period only and can go up substantially after the loan’s introductory period,” said Lydia Parnes, the FTC’s Consumer Protection Bureau director. Advertisers are being advised to review their ads and to read business and consumer education materials on the FTC’s Web site to learn about relevant laws and requirements, while media outlets are being alerted to potentially deceptive advertising. During the past decade, the FTC has brought 21 actions against companies in the mortgage lending industry, focusing in particular on the sub-prime market. Consumers can learn more by going to “Deceptive Mortgage Ads: What They Say; What They Leave Out,” available at The information also is available by writing the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The FTC works for consumers to prevent and avoid deceptive and unfair practices in the marketplace; to file a complaint in English or Spanish (bilingual counselors are available to take complaints), or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call (877) FTC-HELP or (877) 382-4357 or use the complaint form at

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