Are Agents Being Set Up to Violate RESPA?

We wonder if agents are being set up. The world now knows that Fidelity has paid HUD $4.5 million dollars to settle charges of RESPA violations. But what about the Brokers and Agents who accepted these kickbacks? Are they being set up in other creative schemes that could violate RESPA too?

RESPA violations appear to be pervasive. For example, we recently received information that claims Northern California broker Pacific Union International (PUI) has offered a 50% reduction in the E&O deductibles for its real estate agents who use Fidelity National Home Warranty and Disclosure Source products. The compensation also appears to have been made available to PUI agents who use Transaction Point or Relay.

As you know, RESPA explicitly prohibits accepting anything of value in exchange for the referral of real estate settlement service business. A 50% reduction in E&O deductibles sure sounds like something of value. What do you think? Can PUI agents, by accepting a 50% savings in their E&O deductibles in exchange for using Fidelity products, be held accountable for violating RESPA?

Our repeated calls to PUI, their E&O insurance carrier, and Fidelity have been met by employees unwilling to talk to us about this practice. Well, if they won’t talk to us, we hope that our readers will. Please let us know if you have information concerning PUI’s deductible savings program. Do you think this activity is RESPA compliant? And where are the attorneys that said that this was legal? We’d like to hear from them too.