Federal regulators have sent warning letters to more than 30 companies, including real estate agents, homebuilders and lead generators, warning them that their mortgage advertising on websites, Facebook and in newspapers and direct mailers may be deceptive.
The Federal Trade Commission said it sent letters to 20 companies in a coordinated action with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which issued warning letters to approximately a dozen others.
The FTC said the agencies' review of about 800 mortgage ads from a wide variety of media "revealed several types of troubling claims that could be misleading to consumers." The review found potential violations of the Mortgage Acts and Practices Advertising Rule and the FTC Act in:
- Ads that offered a very low fixed mortgage rate without discussing significant loan terms.
- Ads containing statements, images, symbols and abbreviations suggesting that an advertiser is affiliated with a government agency.
- Ads "guaranteeing" approval and offering low monthly payments without discussing "significant conditions" on these offers.