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Online Mortgage Lead Generator To Pay $500K Fine For Deceptive Ads
Ads claiming free refinancing ran on Google, Yahoo, AOL and Microsoft sites.
A Colorado-based firm has agreed to pay $500,000 to settle charges by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that it falsely advertised free mortgage refinancing services online.
The lead generator, Intermundo Media, LLC used the name “Delta Prime Refinance” in ads that claimed homeowners could refinance their mortgages for free to attract leads it then sold to refinancing companies.
The FTC complaint states that the company’s deceptive ads, which ran on Google, Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo, as well as on its own websites, made numerous false claims and failed to include required disclosures for mortgage loans in violation of the Truth in Lending Act.
“An ad that says you can refinance your mortgage for free is clearly deceptive if you have to pay money at some point before you sign on the dotted line,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Lead generators need to understand that federal laws governing truth in advertising apply to them as well as everybody else.”
In addition to the fine, among the terms of its settlement with the FTC, the company is prohibited from “disclosing, selling, or transferring the consumer data obtained through the Delta Prime Refinance lead generation service”.