Foreclosure aid company subject of numerous complaints

Don and Andrea Gaines thought they were getting some legal muscle in their fight to hold onto their home when they retained the services of Home Legal Source.

What they got, instead, was a company that has generated an average of nearly two complaints a month since its inception and, as a result, received the lowest rating possible from the Better Business Bureau.

“We would strongly discourage customers from using this company,” said Sheryl Bilbrey, chief executive officer of the BBB in San Diego and Imperial counties in Southern California.

That warning came too late for the Gaineses, who appear to be out of their home as a result of a foreclosure and the $2,000 they gave Home Legal Source for help that never came.

“I feel like we’ve been scammed,” said Andrea Gaines, who turned to Home Legal Source after talking to a friend and fellow Clifton resident who also was trying to fend off foreclosure on her home.

Incorporated in October 2008, Home Legal Source is a corporation that asserts its mission is to “provide competent legal assistance to families in the growth and preservation of their assets.”

But a quick Internet search reveals a litany of complaints about the company, ranging from refusing to refund clients’ money to failing to return phone calls and e-mails.

The BBB in San Diego and Imperial counties has received 46 complaints about Home Legal Source in less than two years. Of those, 14 were resolved, two were unresolved, and seven were administratively closed by the BBB. What stands out most to Bilbrey, though, is the 23 complaints to which the company never responded. That’s the biggest factor in explaining why Home Legal Source received an F rating from the BBB.

“That’s a customer-service failure,” Bilbrey said of the company’s failure to respond to half of the complaints lodged against it. “That’s why they’re getting the F rating they are. We take that very seriously.”

Bilbrey said 17 different criteria factor into rating a business, including how long it has been in existence, whether it has proper licensing and the volume of complaints filed against it.

The BBB’s website indicates there are eight other similarly sized real- estate-attorney firms in the region where Home Legal Source operates. Only one other company had between 26 and 99 complaints filed against it in the past three years. Six companies were the subject of between zero and four complaints.

Bilbrey said 90 percent of the roughly 2,000 complaints her office processes each month are resolved informally. The balance go through an arbitrator, and the businesses that are accredited are required to respond to and resolve those complaints. Failure to do so results in the BBB revoking their accreditation, she said.

Home Legal Source is not accredited by the BBB.


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