Bankrate = Bait and Switch?

by Alex Stenback on July 17, 2006

Is Bankrate.com a legitmate place to find a lender online or "a haven for bait and switch" operators?  According to one former advertiser, who is suing bankrate.com, it is the latter.

…the lawsuit, filed by a former advertiser, that accuses the company of
allowing its Web site to become a haven for "bait-and-switch" loan
pitches. Testimony and internal company documents filed with the court
show Bankrate has fielded hundreds of complaints about mortgage lenders
who fail to deliver the rates they advertise; one lender told a
Bankrate employee a consumer would need "a direct pipeline to God" to
qualify for its advertised rate.

While we’ve never advertised with them, to date, we’ve written literally thousands of words in correspondence to individual clients explaining why bankrate.com is perhaps the worst place to find a mortgage lender, for exactly the reasons described in the suit. 

That said, bankrate.com has some great educational content, and a couple of very good internal blogs,  BUT…As a resource to find out what mortgage rates are, and which lender has "the best" rates?  Let’s just say this:

Bankrate.com is an ADVERTISING aggregator, and as such, the rates published -  whether they be averages or those "offered" by advertisers – are almost entirely worthless (one might get a decent read on direction, because when actual rates drop, the fake rates get even faker.)
· Suit has Popular Mortgage Website Under Scrutiny [bankrate.com]

Here is what we consider the only reliable, free, online resource for recent mortgage rate activity:
· Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey [freddiemac.com]

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Larry Cragun July 17, 2006 at 6:14 pm

Bankrate is a lead generator. All of the lead generators are a problem in my eyes. It is get the name and sell and sell and sell that info. I wish the consumer would wake up. Maybe this will help. Larry Cragun.

Todd Jayes July 18, 2006 at 4:23 pm

Thanks for the heads up. I’m always nervous about the way lead generation companies dress themselves up as unbiased, helpful services.

John Gall July 18, 2006 at 11:47 pm

You have to be really careful with lead generation companies. For reference rates I check credit unions like http://www.gmfcu.com then can shop around for the best APR etc.

Jullie Harvard July 21, 2006 at 12:54 am

Thank for the head up. Now we know that we have to be really careful with lead generation companies.

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