RE: America Arbitration Association mediation hearing with Wells Fargo
American Arbitration Association and the program developed in response to Administrative Order
SCO9-54 of the Supreme Court of Florida is just another example of wasting tax payer money..at least in my experience today. As a result of the court order, AAA fraudulently advertises no out-of-pocket fees to the borrower since the lender pays all fees for the mediation hearing (see excerpt).
On May 13, 2011, I received a demand letter from Shapiro, Fishman & Gache, LLP, representing the lender Wells Fargo, for three months past due mortgage payments, at a sum of around $2,000.00 plus attorney fees. I was prepared to bring the account current within the 30 day requirement when I received a mailing from American Arbitration Association of Florida asking me to participate in a mediation hearing regarding my delinquent account with Wells Fargo, pursuant to the above Florida Supreme Court Order. When I called AAA for more information as to the benefits of a mediation hearing, I was given the following:
1- No foreclosure action by the lender until the mediation hearing.
2- Quote from the AAA advertisement THE LENDER PAYS THE FEES FOR THE PROGRAM, SO HOMEOWNERS DO NOT INCUR ANY OUT-OF-POCKET EXPENSES.
3- Possible reduction of legal fees.
4- It was EMPHASIZED that there would be COST to the borrower for this mediation hearing.
5- The hearing costs would be covered by the lender or Fannie Mae if it were a Fannie Mae loan.
The meeting was set for 3:00 P.M. today, August 10, 2011. When the mediation hearing commenced I stated that it was my intent to bring the account current and avoid foreclosure, but would appreciate some clarification of certain fees. There were late fees assessed for the months of May, June, July and August that I questioned since AAA stated that no action could take place after my agreement in May to schedule a mediation hearing, and that I may NOT make any mortgage payments during that period. AAA stated that the process could take 3 to 4 months and that no action could be taken by any party until the mediation hearing took place on August 10, 2011.
Wells Fargo did not agree, stating that late fees are to be collected for the intervening months while waiting for the meeting to take place on August 10th. AAA mislead me by stating that NO ACTION could be taken until after the Mediation Hearing.
My next question dealt with attorney fees of $1,052.10, since all I received from Shapiro, et al was a one page 30 day demand letter on May 13, 2011 and a reinstatement letter on August 9, 2011. Since attorney fees seemed unreasonably high, I requested a breakdown. I was shocked to learn that the attorney fee of $1,052.10 was for THIS MEDIATION HEARING (see attorney statement). Again, I was misinformed by AAA representatives and its literature (excerpt attached). The AAA mediator also appeared dismayed at the fee for the mediation. That was the sum total of the meeting that I was charged a rip-off fee of over $1,052.10.
Obviously had AAA informed me that there MAY be attorney fees, a lost days pay, and NOTHING accomplished on my behalf, I would NOT have agreed to participate. I spent no more than twenty minutes in the meeting with a the Wells Fargo rep on the speaker phone and their attorney rep present, to be told that every penny and fee in the reinstatement letter was due within 24 hours or foreclosure would begin immediately. The rest of the hour meeting I was asked to move out in the hall while the attorney conversed with the Wells Fargo rep. Where was the mediation? Why did I have to lose a days pay? I would have saved $1,052.10 by NOT agreeing to the mediation hearing! This is unethical and legal theft!
Wells Fargo had absolutely no regard for the AAA mediator, and stated they will charge whatever fees they deem appropriate for the hearing, nor did they recognize AAAs no cost to the borrower for this mediation hearing. Nowhere in the AAA literature, or in information from AAA representatives, during many phone calls, was it stated that the borrower would pay attorney fees.
The only thing accomplished at this Mediation Hearing was a loss of a work day for me and a cost of $1,052.10 for a 20 minute meeting to be told that I must pay every penny in 24 hours or foreclosure proceedings would begin immediately. In addition, any delay of FULL payment will cost approximately $600.00 a day in attorney fees. On August 11, 2011, I brought my account with Wells Fargo current by paying wiring the sum of $5,140.10, which included the contested fee for the mediation of $1,052.10.
It is no wonder there are so many foreclosures in the state of Florida. My situation showed no compassion or humane concern to avoid foreclosure from Wells Fargo or their attorney representation. In fact both Wells Fargo and Shapiro et.al. seemed eager to foreclose.