“Our records show you may be a Settlement Class Member. You may be entitled to payment if you complete and return a Claim form.”
That’s a notice I just got in the mail this week. Why? Because apparently Nationstar Mortgage – who we used to have as our 1st mortgage provider – went around calling up customers on their cell phones and allegedly did so without their permission. I didn’t know you needed permission to call up your own customers, but hey – what do I know about the law?
This is how much money is on the table:
“If the Court approves the settlement, Settlement Class Members who submit valid claims will receive equal shares of a $12.1 million Settlement Fund that Nationstar has agreed to create, after the payment of expenses and fees.”
Hot damn! I have no idea how many people we’re talking about here that were “infringed” upon, or will actually submit a claim, but a piece of *anything* out of $12.1 million is still 100% of something you did not have before :) And at the end of the day, who doesn’t love FREE money??
Well, apparently I may not as I’m torn between whether I should become a part of this lawsuit or not. The funny part is that I very much remember receiving this phone call a little while back for reasons I’m about to mention below, but the more I think about it the more ridiculous it all seems.
For one, who cares that a company called THEIR OWN customers?? Who doesn’t do that?
For two, I actually ENJOYED getting the phone call. I don’t know if everyone else got the same one that I did, but the reason I liked it so much was that they were calling to see if I wanted to refinance my loan with them. Something that would not only possibly save me money, but also be a lot less annoying to do since you’re not switching over to an entirely new company to make it all happen.
Another reason I loved it? I got the very same call from Chase Bank 5 years ago out of the blue, and it ended up saving me thousands of dollars over the years! In fact, I actually thought it was a prank when they first called because I had tried for MONTHS to get it refinanced to no avail whatsoever. And then here comes Chase – who previously declined me – and all of a sudden wanted to trash a loan that was paying them more, and substitute it out for one that was much better for their customer? With no processing fees and no fuss? It was heaven, and I signed as fast as I could. (They were on the hunt to hold onto their customers and probably wanted to make sure we could afford our loans too so they could get their money… Coincidentally enough, they also ended up selling this loan over to Nationstar who’s now carrying on the “let’s call up our customers and see if we can help them refinance” torch :))
Which leads us to my 3rd reason I could care less about their wrongdoing phone call to me – they were trying to offer me a better product! They weren’t trying to sell me on an additional loan or something totally random like life insurance or a new credit card or anything like that, they were merely asking if I wanted to run the #’s and see if it made sense for us to refinance the very same loan I already have with them. And had I not been in the middle of selling our place at the time, I would have taken them up on it in a heart beat.
Now, do I remember giving them consent to reach me on my cell phone which is the basis of this suit? (It regards the Telephone Consumer Protection Act) I couldn’t tell you – I signed that $300,000 death pledge* almost a decade prior – but I do know that I felt no wrong doing whatsoever as I fully expect that every now and then you’ll get on the phone with a company you have a loan with and *gasp* talk about it. And I’m certainly not bothered by a 10 second phone call regardless.
So with all that being said, does it seem fair that I throw my hat into the ring and try to snatch up some of that cold hard cash here? Even if I don’t believe in it?
My heart says “No” which is probably what I’m going to go with here, but my wallet/practical side is telling me to slow down and review the facts. Which are simply:
- Nationstar has agreed to put aside $12.1 Million to resolve the suit (the settlement does not establish who is correct, but rather, “is a compromise to end the lawsuit.” One which Nationstar denies any wrongdoing.)
- It’s going to be given out regardless of whether I get involved with it or not
- I’m technically “owed” the money regardless of my feelings towards it
- All I have to do is fill out a quick 5 seconds claims form
I really don’t know of any faster money than that? Maybe outside of free 401(k) matches from your employer? (Which, btw, if you aren’t signed up for you better get on!! You’re practically getting PAID to invest for the future which you should be doing anyways!)
Lastly, another thing that’s totally unrelated, but also not, is the fact they (Nationstar) just cut me a refund check for $872.15 that finalizes our house sale the other month that I was definitely not expecting. And whether accurately assigned or not, I’m very much feeling the love for them, haha…
So that’s the deal! What do you think? Would you take the money if you were in my shoes? Do you see anything wrong with this suit one way or the other? Does it even matter what we think if the courts/lawyers have come to an agreement?
I plan on sending it to the shredder by end of day unless someone can convince me otherwise, but I’d be lying if I said it’s gonna SUCK feeling like I’m shredding cold hard cash, haha… Who does that??
UPDATE: While a few of you put out quite the compelling argument, I did indeed send the card over into the shredder, *gasp*… How much $$$ we just let go I’ll never know (and don’t anyone of you Google it later and make me regret my decision! :)), but it was a fun thing to think about throughout. Thanks for always participating in these random quandaries, and hope it helps future ones for you too!
*Mortgage literally means “Death Pledge” in old French ;)
PS: For more ethical $$$ situations, check out this thread over at Reddit that my boy Mike Delgado shot over – it’s pretty interesting! “What’s an unethical way you save money?” Or read one of the most trafficked articles on this site, if you can believe it: Guess What? If Someone Accidentally Gives You Money in Your Account, It’s Still NOT Your Money!
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!