On July 13, 2015, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane announced a settlement with two Philadelphia-based mortgage loan modification companies following an investigation by the states’ Bureau of Consumer Protection. According to the Attorney General’s announcement, the Bureau initiated the investigation as a result of consumer complaints filed against the companies for, among other allegations, failing to provide refunds and failing to halt foreclosures as promised. The settlement was in in the form of an assurance of voluntary compliance (AVC), which included allegations that the companies made misleading representations on their websites and falsely held their representatives out to the public as being entitled to practice law.
According to the announcement, the AVC (which was not publically available at the time of this posting) requires that the companies comply with the Pennsylvania’s Consumer Protection Law (73 P.S. § 201-1, et seq.), Telemarketer Registration Act (73 P. S. § 2241,et seq.), and Unauthorized Practice of Law statute (42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2524). The AVC further requires the companies to pay $30,000 in restitution to consumers, $3,000 in civil penalties, and $2,000 in costs.