Practice Areas

Consumer Rights

Illegal Kickbacks or Commissions

Many companies overcharge customers for products or services because the price includes a built-in kickback to someone else. Frequently, this happens where customers who do business with one company are “referred” to another company that provides additional products or services related to the underlying transaction. Examples include:

  • Kickbacks paid by title insurance companies to mortgage lenders;
  • Kickbacks paid by companies that perform flood zone determinations on mortgaged properties to mortgage lenders;
  • Kickbacks paid by insurance companies to banks in connection with credit insurance or “force-placed” insurance; and
  • Kickbacks paid by medical records providers to hospitals.
Kai H. Richter

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In many cases, these kickbacks are not disclosed. In other cases, they are disguised as “commissions” or “expense reimbursements.” Regardless, they tend to drive up the price of products and services to the customer.

The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (“RESPA”) makes it illegal for mortgage lenders to receive kickbacks from title companies, insurance companies, or other third parties in connection with mortgage loans. The federal Anti-Kickback Statute and Stark Act also prohibit kickbacks in the health care setting. In addition, numerous states have laws prohibiting such kickback arrangements.

The attorneys at Nichols Kaster have successfully litigated kickback cases on behalf of classes of hundreds of thousands of individuals. Please contact us if you are aware of an illegal kickback or commission scheme (or suspect that you may be paying inflated prices as a result of such a scheme).