Industry News

Lawsuit alleges online mortgage service engaged in false advertising

Bankrate suit could go to trial this fall

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A Web site that invites consumers to compare mortgage rates offered by dozens of lenders is being sued by a former client, American Interbanc Mortgage LLC, which alleges did little to prevent advertisers from engaging in bait-and-switch tactics. The lawsuit, filed in 2002, alleges that hundreds of consumers shopping for a loan on the site complained to that they weren't able to lock in the rates advertised by lenders, who pay to have clickable links to their Web sites embedded in rate tables that are custom-generated for each visitor query. A spokeswoman for Bankrate Inc., which owns and operates the site, said the company has been much more aggressive about quality control under CEO Tom Evans, who came on board in 2004, but is confident of winning the lawsuit if it goes to trial this fall. "It's an old lawsuit," said Bankrate spokeswoman Kayleen Keneally. "If it goes to trial we'll fight it and we think we're going to win it. We've changed the QC (quality ...