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ATLANTA -- A warning about where you get mortgage advice and promises -- then paying up front for what you think you might get.

For Kenneth Sneed, looking to refinance, it started with an enticing phone call.

"They called me sometime in June and they told me they could work things out. I told them I needed a modification on my loan and dealt with my lender but it didn't work for me. They just promised me they can do it," Sneed said. "They were going to get my interest rate lowered, my mortgage payment lowered, and also try a principle reduction."

What Sneed didn't know was that the company calling was under a cease and desist order from the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance not to be in the mortgage business without a license.

Sneed went for the deal and shelled out $875, with another $2,625 in post-dated checks.

After more than 2 months, Sneed says the company never called his Bank and did not return his calls.

"They tell me I'll call you back, let me check it out and I will call you back, but not once have I gotten a call," he said.

If you are in need of mortgage help, don't get caught up in the same dilemma.

Never fall for a sales pitch on the phone no matter how good it sounds.

Demand a proposal in writing and ask for a copy of a State License that allows the company to negotiate mortgages and refinancing.

Get references and check them out. Never pay for any services up front.

In this case, and for Kenneth Sneed there is a happy ending.

11Alive'sHelp Desk met with a company executive and they have promised to refund his $875 by next week.

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