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Davids can take down Goliaths
February 20, 2011 3:42 AM   Subscribe

Philly Homeowner Declares He's 'Foreclosed' on Wells Fargo, and how he has their full attention.

I admire this guy's resourcefulness and his unwillingness to back down. My favourite quote from the article: "We could have handled Mr. Rodgers very unusual situation better," said a Wells Fargo spokesperson ...

Ya think?
posted by bwg (34 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Patrick Rodgers is an interesting man, until now known better for his lifestyle than for his housing troubles. He is a successful business owner as well as being a vampire.

He's also a really nice guy.
posted by sciencegeek at 4:12 AM on February 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


Wells Fargo better watch out messing with this guy or they're going to end up in an asylum eating flies.
posted by No-sword at 4:47 AM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


OMG OMG OMG, please, please PLEASE let there be a face-to-face meeting between Patrick and Wells Fargo (and could I also ask that Wells Fargo not know about Patrick's fang implants in advance?)
posted by iamkimiam at 4:48 AM on February 20, 2011 [8 favorites]


Vampire vs. Vampire
posted by vacapinta at 4:52 AM on February 20, 2011 [18 favorites]


Although I applaud his tenacity to get a result, it does seem to be a pyrrhic victory - he's managed to piss off his mortgage holder, and he still hasn't got his premiums reduced. This follow up doesn't add much other than 'Wells Fargo had a nice phone call this afternoon with the Goth homeowner...'

BTW love his picture in the articles -- I suppose it beats the more usual standing-outside-the-bad-guys-office-looking-sad-and-or-angry-(fist-waving-optional) picture. Mind you, I live in Australia, we're all sad or angry here, what do I know.
posted by KirkpatrickMac at 4:53 AM on February 20, 2011


he wanted someone to explain why they were doubling his premiums and requiring him to insure his century-old house for its full replacement value instead of the market value.
Because the cost to rebuild a home after it has been destroyed in an explosion/hurricane/tropical storm/house fire is different to the market value.
he couldn't afford the jack-up in premiums, nor did he see a reason why he should have to accept them.
Reason he should accept them: He doesn't own the house, the bank does. Until the mortgage is fully paid off, the bank retains a security over the house, and the conditions of the mortgage include the person on the mortgage's responsibilities to the bank's interest in the property.

He should, of course, be free to seek alternative insurance with the same cover for a lower price with a different provider.
posted by dougrayrankin at 4:58 AM on February 20, 2011


Though I do love the epic goth look in the photo on the second link. I hope he hosts the meeting in his home and says "Come in. I've been expecting you."
posted by dougrayrankin at 4:58 AM on February 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


The photo of Patrick is by photographer Kyle Cassidy, previously seen on metafilter for his book, Armed America which has pictures of USians with their weaponry.

(I used to live in West Philly and know these guys)
posted by sciencegeek at 5:00 AM on February 20, 2011


it does seem to be a pyrrhic victory

It sounds to me like he is very happy to take a hit for the team. The important victory here is that, by getting this story in the national spotlight, all of the people being fucked over know how to do this now.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:01 AM on February 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


Anyone else think that's a hell of a sunny neighbourhood for a pale skinned man dressed in black?
posted by dougrayrankin at 5:05 AM on February 20, 2011


Anyone else think that's a hell of a sunny neighbourhood for a pale skinned man dressed in black?

♫ black hole sun / won't you come / wash away the lien... ♫
posted by iamkimiam at 5:14 AM on February 20, 2011 [37 favorites]


Anyone else think that's a hell of a sunny neighbourhood for a pale skinned man dressed in black?

If you spend the daytime in a coffin lined with the soil of your original grave, it doesn't really matter how bright the sun is outside.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 5:25 AM on February 20, 2011


I would also imagine vampires probably don't eat enough oranges or leafy greens and may be prone to suffer from scurvy, seasonal affective disorder and the like.
posted by iamkimiam at 5:29 AM on February 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm a fan of any effort to make the banks follow their own rules and the law. The flagrancy of their misbehavior, especially in regards to foreclosures, is just appalling.
posted by Forktine at 5:34 AM on February 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Vampire vs. Vampire

Vampire vs. Vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money

okay it's not the same bank, but the principle is similar
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 5:34 AM on February 20, 2011


it does seem to be a pyrrhic victory - he's managed to piss off his mortgage holder, and he still hasn't got his premiums reduced

Yet. He is, in essence, having a contractual dispute with his mortgage company. When businesses have contractual disputes with each other, there are procedures for resolving them--not always involving lawyers--because both sides know that contracts are a matter of give and take.

Thing is, contracts between businesses and consumers aren't technically any different, but most consumers aren't aware of that and businesses have come to assume that they can basically dictate terms unilaterally. This assumption is so strong that many companies don't even have a way for consumers to negotiate with them. From their perspective this does make a certain amount of sense, because many businesses--including mortgage companies!--are involved in low-margin/high-volume businesses where even minor administrative costs can make a venture unprofitable.

EULAs are generally enforceable, but mortgages are different. Never mind the fact that banks make a lot of their money on volume, houses aren't a retail product. The software company and consumer basically have a relationship which extends no further than the consumer's use of the product. If the consumer goes bankrupt, the software company doesn't give two shits; they've already got their money. But mortgagors and mortgagees are, from a certain perspective, kind of entering into some kind of common venture. Payments are made every month, and both sides have ongoing obligations which extend for the life of the mortgage. So when mortgage companies start acting like they're selling widgets instead of money, stuff like this can happen.

There's actually a decent amount of business for enterprising lawyers here.
posted by valkyryn at 5:36 AM on February 20, 2011 [13 favorites]


Just out of curiosity – because I don't often read the Consumerist – is this writing style/framing/photo/lack-of-editing fairly typical of them, or are they kind of saying something else with it (I get a weird read on it and I was going to let it go earlier, but I'm really wondering, esp. after seeing the over-the-top "lifestyle" link in the above comment).
posted by iamkimiam at 5:43 AM on February 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


One of the biggest battles that someone in financial duress has is in getting the attention of a "big bank" to help work out some type of payment plan. This is also one of the biggest advantages of going with a smaller community bank in lieu of, say, Bank of America or JP Morgan Chase: the local banks will usually be willing to (literally) sit down with you and say, "what's the situation and what can we do to keep you in your home?"

It is infinitely cheaper in the long run for the bank to keep you in your home if there is good reason to believe your financial situation is a temporary hiccup.

Unfortunately, the large banks simply won't do it. We have a case here in Cleveland of a judge who recently stopped paying on his mortgage because it was the only way to get the banks to talk with him about a principle reduction/term change due to the drastic fall in the value of his home.

I'm not saying what he did was necessarily kosher, but it's pathetic that the only way to get someones' attention is to essentially put a gun to their head.
posted by tgrundke at 5:49 AM on February 20, 2011


Though I do love the epic goth look in the photo on the second link. I hope he hosts the meeting in his home and says "Come in. I've been expecting you."
posted by dougrayrankin at 12:58 PM on February 20th


Surely he should begin with 'Welcome to my house! Enter freely and of your own will!'?
posted by kaemaril at 6:06 AM on February 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Every time I see this story (it's huge in local Phlly media) it's completely mis characterized as 'little guy beats bank.' I guess 'bank vs. homeowner in dispute over value of house for purposes of homeowner's policy value plus bank dropped ball' isn't as exciting.
posted by fixedgear at 7:02 AM on February 20, 2011


What if there is a middle-east style uprising after the BoA documents are leaked? Instead of against the government, it's against the banks. Popular sentiment and all that stuff.
posted by fuq at 7:38 AM on February 20, 2011


I would enjoy the vampires rising up against the banks because it would mean the universe is routing around damage to make reality as much like discworld as possible.
posted by The Whelk at 7:46 AM on February 20, 2011 [18 favorites]


Just out of curiosity – because I don't often read the Consumerist – is this writing style/framing/photo/lack-of-editing fairly typical of them, or are they kind of saying something else with it

Yes, it's typical of them. It's a frequent subject of complaint in their comments, too. A lot of people feel that the editors at The Consumerist haven't really grown up as their website has become more popular. They have a tendency to misstate facts in their write-ups, create over-the-top misleading headlines, not really do quality writing or editing, and generally don't have that polished feel that one might like.

Still, it's one hell of a website for shining a spotlight on business abuse of consumers, and they do a lot of good with providing upper-level contact info and helping resolve disputes by making them public. It's a bit of a trade-off.
posted by hippybear at 8:01 AM on February 20, 2011


Ah, thanks, that's exactly the insight I was looking for.
posted by iamkimiam at 8:11 AM on February 20, 2011


He wouldn't have these problems if he didn't insist on a 300 year mortgage!
posted by orme at 8:15 AM on February 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think Patrick Rodgers is a pretty cool guy.

eh forecloses on teh bank and doesn't afraid of anything.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 8:18 AM on February 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


What if there is a middle-east style uprising after the BoA documents are leaked? Instead of against the government, it's against the banks. Popular sentiment and all that stuff.
posted by fuq at 7:38 AM


That might be the one thing that could cause a truce and unite the other groups with the Vampires. Zombies, ninjas, pirates; join in solidarity!
posted by 445supermag at 8:41 AM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


One, two, three! three failures to reply to a QWR, ah! ah! ah!
posted by zippy at 10:23 AM on February 20, 2011 [12 favorites]


"Looking at the actual law was a big help," he said. A lot of websites offered bits and pieces, or their (mis)-interpretation, of the law. The best resources came from going to the official US Government pages and looking at the actual statutes in full. "It took a little bit of time to sit and process the legalese," but it was worth it.
posted by ovvl at 10:48 AM on February 20, 2011


dougrayrankin: "Because the cost to rebuild a home after it has been destroyed in an explosion/hurricane/tropical storm/house fire is different to the market value."

Maybe it's different up there in Pennsylvania, but my mortgage does not require that I carry full replacement value insurance, it's some lesser amount that is required. Ironically enough, it's serviced by Wells Fargo.
posted by wierdo at 11:14 AM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Every time I see this story (it's huge in local Phlly media) it's completely mis characterized as 'little guy beats bank.' I guess 'bank vs. homeowner in dispute over value of house for purposes of homeowner's policy value plus bank dropped ball' isn't as exciting.
Banking shouldn't be exciting. But for all the stories we've heard about improper foreclosures, lenders holding back loan money, and the general facelessness of banks these days and you can understand the interest this story has.

My business has loans with a couple banks. Recently I tried to refinance them, as rates have dropped. All said they couldn't give me a lower rate because they were concerned about whether or not it could could be paid back. "we're concerned that if your loan term is the same and your monthly payment less, you couldn't pay us back." But there's nobody to talk to about this kind of flawed logic. Or at least nobody cares. So I'm glad someone got their attention.
posted by l2p at 2:17 PM on February 20, 2011


l2p--

There's some logic there. You could conceivably be "underwater" in terms of likelihood of repayment already, but the bank might not have the contractual flexibility to demand immediate repayment. However, that doesn't mean they should make a bad situation worse...

...ah, who am I kidding. They don't think anyone else will buy out your loan, so who are they competing with?
posted by effugas at 3:24 PM on February 20, 2011


I don't get why the bank would require full replacement value insurance, either. I mean, the bank is only entitled to be paid the amount owing on the house (i.e. outstanding mortage), right? So, the homeowner should only be required to have enough insurance to purchase the house outright from the bank and repay the mortgage. If he's left with paid for rubble, well, wouldn't that be his problem?
posted by 1000monkeys at 6:05 PM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love this guy!
posted by perilous at 10:40 PM on February 20, 2011


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