A Qualified Written Request (QWR) is a powerful tool when dealing with abusive mortgage servicing companies (Litton Loan, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, etc). This is a right under RESPA – Real Estate Settlement Practices Act – to gain information and to dispute false bills or charges.
A couple of pointers.
First – it must be in writing. Seems obvious from “Qualified WRITTEN Request” but we have seen far too many people try and make this by calling. Don’t do that – instead send it in writing. Certified mail, return receipt requested.
Second – it should be sent to the mortgage servicing company and to other relevant companies. Here’s the deal – send it to everyone you can think of. Former servicing companies. Foreclosure attorneys. Current alleged owner of the note, etc. There have been cases where it was sent to the wrong place and consumers have lost their powerful rights under this law so cover your bases and send it to everyone. Mention that “If this QWR should go to someone else, please let me know so I can forward it directly to that person.”
Third – it should be sent to the correct address. This normally is NOT the billing address. Instead it will be a place listed on your bill or on the website of the servicing company that is described as “For all other written correspondence” or “For billing questions or disputes” etc. You can and should also call the company and ask where is the correct address. Carefully document all of your contacts with the mortgage servicing company.
Fourth – expect a response in about 30 days and then again in about 90 days. The servicing company has 20 business days (in essence 30 days) to let you know it received the QWR and then 60 business days (again basically 90 days) to respond.
OK, so what do you put in a QWR? Here are some suggestions:
1. Identify who you are, your loan, account number, property address, etc. so the servicer can find you in its system.
2. Whatever information that you legitimately need to determine if the servicer has been properly applying payments, charging fees, etc.
3. If you legitimately dispute a charge or the way the company handled a payment (particularly a lump sum payment as these are often handled illegally) then clearly state that in the QWR letter. We’ll talk about this more later but remember that charges are automatically imposed on your account and to eliminate a bogus charge requires a human being to manually do this so you can see why so often illegal charges are not removed but continue to be added against your account.
While your dispute is pending, the disputed part cannot be shown as late on your credit report.
You will find a QWR a powerful tool to gain information about your account and to dispute bogus charges.
If you have any questions about how to draft a QWR or your legal remedies if a QWR is not properly handled by the servicing company and you live in Alabama, please feel free to contact us. You can call us at 205-879-2447 or send us an email through this blog or through our website or you can join us for our foreclosure seminar tomorrow night at 4pm in which we will discuss QWRs.