Let me roll back to that story in the Inland Empire of California, where Wells Fargo broke into and destroyed the wrong house, one that didn’t even have a mortgage. Here’s a funny story: this was not the first time Wells’ contractors broke into that house. It was the second.
Tom Goyda, vice president of corporate communications for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, told ABC News … the [first foreclosure] error on [June 1] was made when a contractor mistakenly went to the Tjosaas house instead of the correct house [...]
“We are deeply sorry for the very personal losses the Tjosaas family suffered as a result of their home being mistakenly secured and entered by a contractor hired to address a different nearby property,” the company said in a statement. “We moved quickly and have been in contact with the Tjosaas family to resolve this unfortunate situation and right this wrong.”
Every time I bring up to officials in a position to do something about this that the possibility that the computer software at the major loan servicers is fatally flawed, they downplay it. But isn’t that exactly what we’re seeing here? The home suffered a break-in on June 1. Wells apologized for the illegal breaking and entering, and then a couple months later, the same thing happened. They can’t get the wrong address out of their computer system. And this is symbolic of all the other problems with servicers, around billing and documentation and loan modifications and foreclosures. Code is law.
Moreover, the petty corruption of these contractors that servicers hire to “secure” foreclosed properties becomes clear. The Tjosaas family claims that people were living in their home after the last break-in. They found an electric blanket plugged in, food taken and bottles of beer and even bongs spread around the house. Often the corruption plays out with endless fees for “maintenance” that consists of drive-bys around the house. Here they just moved in.
And again, mistakes that get to the level of breaking into the wrong house should never, ever happen. That they happen one time is indicative of a completely broken servicing industry.