Countrywide sued for racketeering over appraisal practices
The lawsuit is seeking class-action status, and has been filed under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Practices Act.
The legality of the matter aside -- Countrywide has not yet responded publicly to the allegations -- the personal finance message here is clear. Anytime that a provider of a service requires you to use an affiliate or subsidy for a service that could also be done by a third-party, you are being ripped off: If they weren't making money from the deal, why would they be so adamant about what lender or appraiser you use?
This will be an interesting case to watch. The allegations sound pretty serious but with all the terrible things about Countrywide that have come to light in the past year, nothing would surprise me at this point.