Is a Borrower Entitled to Be Informed of the Amount Due on a Loan Without Incurring a Fee ?

In Sandlin v. Shapiro & Fishman, 919 F. Supp. 1564 (M.D. Fla. 1996), the husband and wife borrowers were in default on their mortgage and the lender initiated collection proceedings through an attorney. The attorney sent the borrowers a letter with the payoff figure on the mortgage and added a $ 60 "payoff fee" to the balance of the loan. The borrowers had never requested a payoff statement or any other document stating the amount owed on the mortgage. The borrowers then sued the attorney and the mortgage company and claimed that the "payoff fee" constituted an unauthorized prepayment fee in violation of the terms of the mortgage. Denying defendants' motion to dismiss, the court found the payoff fee could be a prepayment penalty because the borrower is entitled to be informed of the amount due on the loan without incurring a fee. Sandlin, 919 F. Supp. at 1568.