A horrendous experience and one I wish I had ended long before today.
I reached out in May of last year for help with a home loan modification. I already had an agreement in place, which I clearly explained, but I hoped for something more flexible considering the pandemic and some other health issues I was going through. I figured legal help might get me what I was hoping for, so I hired Mr. Merino.
I was told it would be a 3-4 month long process...that was 9 months ago.
My term was "zero sum game", meaning I wanted to be at a point where I could make standard payments without having to tack on thousands monthly to cover arears. I wasn't looking for waivers or forgiveness, or even lower payments. What I wanted was to take the arears and tack it to the principle, if possible, understanding as well that there might be a penalty involved.
During the time this was being worked on paperwork constantly disappeared and I was always told it never arrived. The final use of that excuse, I pointed out that it had been sent Certified, requiring a signature: those papers appeared within literal minutes.
This went on for 3 months, until I finally insisted on a face-to-face meeting, in the middle of the Covid shutdown, and me with a compromised immune system, to pass the information: there would be no more lost paperwork. I was given a list of things to bring...and when I got there I was asked to supply two more items that weren't on the list.
I will say that some was my fault. There were times it would take me a week to get the correct information together, but constantly being requested to provide new and different information, or the same information in a different form, was tiresome, and I work 50hrs to 60+hrs a week. I was told that the bank required it all, but I don't believe for an instant the lender wouldn't know what to ask for from the very start.
I asked to be copied on all e-mail correspondence with the lender, and was not. I asked to be e-mailed recaps of all telephone conversations with the lender, and was not. Only at the end of our relationship were most of the e-mail correspondences sent to me, and even then I've been told that there isn't a certainty that all of them were sent, just the ones he could find. Phone calls were sporadic (partly my fault because at first I wasn't diligent, as I should have been), but when they did occur I was very clear on what I wanted, and to his credit there were some calls with good information.
Finally, in late October, 4 months after this 3-4 month process should have already concluded, things finally started to move. Of course, because of the holidays, it was early January before we could really push...and it slogged in to March.
About 2-3 weeks back, I am going to get some great news! After 8 months and thousands of dollars, I was presented with...the EXACT SAME OPTION I ALREADY HAD IN PLACE! Not a single difference from what I had already worked out prior to my relationship with Mr. Merino. 100% identical.
I was presented with an option that I had already explained from the very beginning wasn't feasible.
And to my perception it was presented as though it was a huge win for him and his team. When I noted that they had worked all those months to get to the same point I was already at, and ignored what I wanted to try and do, an assistant advocated for the bank about how great the proposal was, and continued to advocate for the bank even after I requested several times that such not be done.
NOTHING was done to pursue the goal I put forth 9 months ago, until a few days recent, by which time I had already decided to terminate the relationship. Nine months with nothing to show for it.
I cannot begin to relate how disappointed and upset this process has made me.
Response from Javier Merino March 26, 2021
First and foremost, I am sorry that you are so frustrated with our services. While we strive for zealous representation, we cannot always achieve the specific outcome a client desires. This is particularly true when it comes to loan modifications, and because of this, we always advise each new loan modification at the very beginning that we cannot guarantee any outcomes.
Here, we tried working with you to gather the necessary documents for the application. Unfortunately, after the USPS failed to deliver several of your mailings, we agreed to meet in person. I understand this can be frustrating for you, however, we cannot control what the USPS can/cannot deliver. After we submitted your package to the bank, we maintained consistent communication and kept you updated as to what was happening. Ultimately, we could not obtain the specific result you wanted. However, that does not mean we did not do our job.
Again, I am sorry we could not help you obtain the specific outcome you desired. I wish you the best.