CHARLESTON - A Glasgow couple are suing Wells Fargo Bank N.A. after they claim it participated in predatory lending practices and caused them damages.
Wells Fargo Bank N.A. is doing business as Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Inc.
Bestitle Agency Inc. and U.S. Bank National Association were also named as defendants in the suit.
In 2006, Robert M. Starcher and Elizabeth A. Starcher decided to purchase their home in Glasgow, which had previously been Elizabeth Starcher's grandmother's residence and was vacant after she passed away, according to a complaint filed April 15 in Kanawha Circuit Court.
The Starchers claim they contacted Wells Fargo regarding potential financing and on Aug. 2, 2006, they were directed to attend the closing at a small office.
At the closing the Starchers did not receive any settlement statements from the closing setting forth the fees charged or included in the loan, according to the suit.
The Starchers claim in 2010 they began struggling with their payments and in February 2011, Wells Fargo informed them they qualified for a payment plan on the loan.
Wells Fargo told the Starchers they would be required to make one large lump sum payment and then pay three payments on a trial plan and after the trial plan was completed, it would FedEx the Starchers documents for a permanent, affordable modification, according to the suit.
The Starchers claim they complied with these instructions and made the required payments in February, March, April and May 2011, but, despite this, when the payments were completed, Wells Fargo did not contact them or provide them with the promised permanent modification.
When the Starchers contacted Wells Fargo, its agents could not explain what was happened to them or inform them of the correct payment amount and instead, instructed them to resubmit documentation to apply for assistance, according to the suit.
The Starchers claim they resubmitted the documentation, but after that, Wells Fargo began threatening them with foreclosure and informed them that someone might come to their home and change their locks at any point after the sale.
In 2012, the Starchers filed a complaint with the West Virginia Attorney General's Office and in apparent response, Wells Fargo assigned a single point of contact with its office, who instructed the Starchers to apply again for assistance, according to the suit.
The Starchers claim the point of contact, Erica James, instructed them not to make payments while it was working on a loan modification for them, however, in May they received conflicting documents from Wells Fargo about who they should contact regarding their account.
In May, Wells Fargo again informed the Starchers that they were approved for assistances and told them to make three payments of approximately $428 per month on their first mortgage, which they complied with and may payments for July, August and September, according to the suit.
The Starchers claim in early 2013 they were again referred to foreclosure and a sale date was set for April 8, when their home was purchased by US Bank.
The defendants did not provide proper disclosures, thereby suppressing the true terms of the loans from the Starchers, according to the suit.
The Starchers claim the defendants also engaged in illegal debt collection and refused to apply payments to their account.
The defendants' actions were a breach of contract and caused the Starchers to lose their home, as well as other damages, according to the suit.
The Starchers are seeking actual damages and civil penalties with pre- and post-judgment interest. They are being represented by D. Christopher Hedges, David L. Grubb and Kristina Thomas Whiteaker of the Grubb Law Group and Jennifer S. Wagner of Mountain State Justice.
The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Louis H. Bloom.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 13-C-734