Woman regrets turning to loan modification company to reduce mortgage

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PHOENIX -- If you're having trouble paying your mortgage, a Valley woman says don't do what she did.

What she did was hire a loan modification company.

Now, there are a ton of modification companies out there and I'm not saying they're all bad.

But just remember the Federal Trade Commission warns consumers to avoid modification companies because after you give them money, they either don't do what they promise or they simply take your money and run.

Loretta Carbajal and her family love their Gilbert home. In fact, they've lived in it for 10 years.

"There's so much history here," Carbajal said. "We've added to it, we've painted it, we've done everything. I mean, it's our home. History is here."

But after their adjustable rate mortgage adjusted up, things got tight.

"Honestly, I can't afford for it to go up any more," she said. "It's been a hardship to make the payment as it is."

So, Carbajal turned to a loan modification company to hopefully reduce her monthly payment.

"The name of the company was Save My Home USA," she said. "We found them on the CNBC Web site. Testimonials, we read about them, we thought we checked out our resources with them and started the ball rolling with them."

Carbajal handed over two payments totaling nearly $2,000 to Save My Home USA and then she waited for good things to happen.

"To listen to these people and their reassurance that they were going to help me," Carbajal said. "Don't worry, Mrs. Carbajal. We have a 90 percent success rate, we'll help you."

And exactly what did Carbajal get for all that money? Nothing because Save My Home USA took her money and closed.

"So all I got out of it was releasing all my personal information -- Social Security numbers, bank accounts -- to a company that says they're going to help you and to come out empty-handed," Carbajal said.

The Better Business Bureau gives Save My Home USA an "F" rating.

Not only that, but they recently revoked the company's accreditation.

Why? Because Save My Home USA has basically vanished, leaving consumers like Carbajal $2,000 in the hole and putting her closer to foreclosure.

Her advice to you? Do not hire a modification company.

"I would say to continue working with your lender because at the end of the day, the lender has the upper hand," Carbajal said. "They're the ones that are going to make the decisions and I think if you're working on your own behalf and representing yourself I think you have a better chance."

I was able to get a hold of Carbajal's mortgage lender and the lender is now working on modifying her loan and keeping her in her house.

Again, dealing directly with your lender and not paying a company is your best option.