In a previous post I introduced you to a particularly disturbing money grab by the three major credit bureaus called trigger leads. Trigger leads are where the credit bureaus sell consumers’ information after their credit is checked by a mortgage lender. For example, you apply for a mortgage and because the lender had to pull your credit, the credit bureaus know that you are in the market for a home loan. This makes your information very valuable to some mortgage companies and loan officers who do not have the ability to generate their own business. So instead of earning their business through referrals from years of hard work like most reputable loan officers and companies, they leech off of our efforts in an attempt to hard sell you on a mortgage by purchasing your information from the credit bureaus. Mortgage applicants could receive calls as soon as 12 hours later.
Supporters of trigger leads try to hide behind the mantra of providing consumers with more competition. I simply want to know when was the last time anyone really got something other than an interrupted dinner from a telemarketer? Check out the good deal this consumer got from being a trigger lead. I am also sure you don’t want the mortgage gangsters calling you either.
Naturally, many consumers are not very happy about this practice and the bombarding phone calls and junk mail they receive from boiler room mortgage companies. Applying for a home loan is a personal matter and the credit bureaus do not explicitly ask for permission to share your information with every Tom, Dick, and Harry loan officer.
Well, the Federal Trade Commission finally responded to the growing criticism this month and is showing itself to be the lap dog of the credit bureaus. In their ruling, the FTC basically said they don’t have the legal authority to prevent the credit bureaus from selling trigger leads. Maybe the FTC really stands for Screw The Consumer?
What I find particularly interesting is that with the mortgage business coming under scrutiny, politicians are tripping over themselves (Hillary, Dodd, Obama) to issue opinions and make up new laws regarding sub-prime mortgages and predatory lending. Yet, the government won’t act when presented with the opportunity to actually do some good by eliminating trigger leads. Even the mortgage business is staunchly opposed to trigger leads as we all know the companies that rely on this method of “marketing” are usually the bottom feeders of the business who engage in deceptive bait & switch tactics and tend to push inappropriate loan products. So why not eliminate one the tools of the trade for these leeches everyone is so up in arms about?
Just to reiterate, consumers can have their names removed by going to www.optoutprescreen.com, calling (888)-5-OPTOUT. It may take up to sixty days to be completely removed from the system though. Finally, you can also sign up for the Do Not Call Registry at www.donotcall.gov or (888)382-1222.