Lending Tree: Lender or Scam?
Posted by francoise82 on December 12, 2007
You’ve seen the advertising online “When banks compete…” and all that. Lending Tree’s advertising looks great. It’s got flash, pizzazz and really makes consumers feel that Lending Tree will provide them with the lowest possible rates. After all, it makes sense, right? Competition is what lowers prices, right? Isn’t that the basis of a good economy? Suppliers and manufacturers compete to gain customer’s business by offering comparable quality at a price less than their competitors. So, what’s the real deal with Lending Tree? Are they legitimate or is there something fishy in their practices?
A brief perusal of the Web will yield far more results than you might expect. I typed the words into my search engine’s text box, hit enter and received over 600,000 results for the words Lending Tree+scam. Now, obviously, they don’t ALL relate to scams by Lending Tree, but a surprising amount of them do. I know I was surprised. Lending Tree seems to have some questionable processes concerning customer’s sensitive information and they definitely seem to partner with some unsavory lending institutions.
Almost every complaint found on the Internet states that the companies sponsored by Lending Tree take between $400 and $600 up front and whether the loan goes through or not, the money is never seen again. That sounds a little suspicious, especially when the agreement on the back of the forms used by these companies states that no money is needed to get the ball rolling. Definitely raises questions on my part.
Thousands of posts abound on the Web about Lending Tree selling customer’s private information (phone numbers, address, etc) to third parties. One memorable poster stated he had been contacted at all hours of the day and night, months after declining to work further with any of the companies Lending Tree sponsored.
Many complaints center on a large sum of money being required to ‘lock in’ the rates of the quote. The lock in period is usually for 45 days, but the process drags on and on, usually to at least a day or two past the lock in period. The customer’s money is then gone, more points are added to the contract and the customers walk away angry and with lighter wallets.
Another memorable post states that Lending Tree asked for the applicant’s information sent in the body of an email with no encryption. This information was stuff like his social security number, address, phone number, W-2 information, like earnings statements and other high theft stuff. When he asked about security, he was informed that it was the way they did things. He found another lender.
Lending Tree practices very sketchy and decidedly unsafe business practices. While not all the posts bashing them are to be believed, there are far too many horror stories out there for it to be a mistake. I would never use the company and highly urge anyone else looking for a home loan, a home equity line of credit or anything else, for that matter, to avoid Lending Tree at all costs.