FINANCIAL SERIAL KILLERS

Slaughtering the savings of agents.

Our real estate agency was contacted by Charles Smith of Real Estate Marketing Group. We had a meeting with him on 14/6/2007 about marketing for leads in our area.

We were suspicious of Charles from the beginning as he appeared to be from Central Europe and with a name like Smith it did not make sense.

I suppose we were blinded by the end result. He promised us 75 hot leads for sellers within 6 months.

We would not commit until Charles supplied us with some references. He gave us the name of an agent and when we called the number the agent said he was extremely happy with their service.

We were still wary but we went ahead. When it was time to pay we used a credit card instead of our cheque.

After Charles had left our office, we still did not feel comfortable. As soon as we arrived home we tried to have the credit card payment stopped.

It was too late, our money ($11,467.00) was gone.

I looked on the ASIC web site to check if it was a bonafide company and found that the day before they had put in an application to wind up the company.

We frantically tried to contact Charles Smith that night. In the morning we confronted him.

He said that two companies had merged. He had a letter sent to us from Real Estate Property Services (Aust & NZ) Pty Ltd, 42 Ellingworth Parade Box Hill Vic Telephone number 1300 766 096 ABN 83 125 333 468 signed by Reno Dimasi explaining the acquisition.

RESPONSE from Neil Jenman

This feels like there is a financial serial killer on the loose – slaughtering the savings of agents.

Just look how quickly they slashed into your credit card.

Yes, you are right – the promise of all those sellers “blinded” you to using some good old-fashioned common sense.

As for the agent who supplied the good reference it appears that this, too, is part of their scam. We have been told that they set up stooges.

For years I have been telling the public that a golden rule when dealing with agents is: Never pay any money for any reason until your property is sold and you are satisfied.

Well, here’s a golden rule for agents: Never pay any money to anyone who promises to bring you business until such time as they have brought you the business and you are satisfied.

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