Despite a slowing market, complaints against mortgage brokers, filed with the country’s largest Better Business Bureau region, crept up this year.
The BBB of Mid-Western & Central Ontario – including the GTA -- reported that as of November this year it had received a total of 10 customer complaints, ranging from charges of rate misrepresentation, and penalty disputes to unspecified fees to cancelled deals. The rise eclipses last year’s numbers by more than 10 per cent.
According to the BBB records for this year, one complaint closed as resolved (consumer confirmed resolution), five were assumed resolved (company responded, but consumer did not get back to BBB), one was administratively judged resolved and three were not responded too by the business (company made a good faith effort, but consumer was dissatisfied).
In 2011, one complaint closed as resolved, four were assumed resolved one was closed unresolved and three were administratively judged resolved, said Fiona Dunba, manager for dispute resolution and information services at BBB.
"Mortgage brokers make up a very small percentage of our overall complaints," she said. "To put it in perspective, we are reporting approximately 12,000 complaints for 2012 and a total of 12,348 for 2011."
Still, the growing number of complaints against brokers is striking considering that in recent year the BBB appears to have been struggling in attract members of the channel. For instance, there were only 17 brokerages/brokers members in 2011, that number went down to 16 in 2012.
Across the country, industry regulators have also been busy investigating and, indeed, acting on consumer complaints lodged against mortgage professionals.
For example, a partial list from the Real Estate Council of Alberta indicates no fewer than five suspension orders, 12 administrative penalties and some four lifetime suspensions were issued.
A partial list of decisions handed down by FSCO this year indicated that more than six brokers were fined, two were suspended and two others had licenses revoked for various offences.
In British Columbia, records indicate that the FICOM handed down three cease-and-desist orders against three brokers.