Home Buying in 48301>Question Details

Ravichopra, Home Buyer in 48301

How can we ensure a bad agent/office's actions are part of the public record and can easily be found by others.?

Asked by Ravichopra, 48301 Fri Sep 3, 2010

We've had bad experiences twice with the same office now - Max Brooks in Birmingham, MI, both as a buyer. In the first instance a few years ago, Edie Franklin refused, despite my wife's concerns, to put any sort of late departure penalties in the contract for a house she was buying. Naturally, the person departed late and caused a delay in getting into the house, additional storage fees etc. More recently be bought a house with Eva Morrow as the agent. As a result of her failure to deliver some specific paperwork at closing, we're now being hit with over $2800 in water assessments that the seller had agreed to pay. Financial loss due to agent negligence is a serious thing and I'd like to know the correct course of action here (apart from small-claims court). Thanks!

Help the community by answering this question:


I think we're getting way off track here and I'm certain some of it is my fault, so I apologize. This is my last response, though I will continue to track this for other answers if people have thoughts.

To Mr. Mengedoht: The only thing I characterized as an intimidation tactic was the the implied threat of being sued for slander. I still think I'm correct here. The effective message was, "if you tell anyone about a bad experience with a real estate agent, you'll be sued". I don't see how this can be characterized as anything but threatening.

Further, I wasn't asking for advice on how to bash anyone. I certainly wouldn't have expected other agents to recommend that course of action anyhow. I was asking the appropriate place to report problems. I've received many very good pieces of advice regarding this issue, and again I greatly appreciate the help.

That said, I understand your concerns and your points are well made.

My thanks again for all the help!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 7, 2010
Ravi, I did not say it like Mr. McCoy, but implied the same. If you are able to get a court to decide in your favor after presenting the facts and evidence, then the decision will be public record, ant the . Until then, you are opening yourself up to the risk of accusations of slander, libel, an defamation of character by engaging in a public notice campaign about Max Brooks..
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 5, 2010
Is Eva aware of the situation? I would make your first call to her. She is a very experienced agent and she might know how to resolve the water assessment issue for you.

If you still feel your concerns have not been properly addressed, Jon Swords is the broker in charge of the Birmingham office of Max Broock. 248.644.6700

Any member of the public can also file a complaint with the local board of Realtors, which has a Professional Standards committee that looks at complaints from consumers and from other Realtors. http://www.mcaronline.com/default.asp?id=52, though I would always suggest you first contact the agent and then their broker as that is how you are most likely to get resolution to the problem.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 5, 2010
Maureen Fran…, Real Estate Pro in Birmingham, MI
Hi Ravi. Personally, before I'd head to small claims court, I'd have my attorney request a copy of the broker's E&O insurance. Then, I'd file a claim against the insurance policy for erring and omitting the docs you needed at closing. This is a lot faster than a lawsuit and doesn't cost as much.

Didn't you use an attorney to represent you? If not, why not? If you did, where was he when all of this Mickey-Mouse (no offense to Mickey) was going on? You MUST use an attorney for every transaction in real estate from now on. Promise me.


Scott Miller, Realty Associates, Boca Raton, FL
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 3, 2010
- Markets only work well if the public gets accurate information about the quality of product and services that individuals and companies provide.

Ravichopra, I mean no offense, but the fact is, we don't know whether what you're asserting is accurate. It's one thing to go to a public forum and ask for advice, it's another thing to go to a public forum and claim that so-and-so is a bum and I want the world to know about it.

Best regards,
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 5, 2010
This really doesn't belong here.

Allegations are not the same thing as matters of fact, especially where people's reputations are at stake. While we have no reason to doubt your sincerity, it's worth noting that "anybody" can post reputation-damaging statements: an unscrupulous competitor, crazy neighbor, angry ex-spouse, et cetera.

The correct course of action is to handle this matter privately, taking the actions stated below. Once you have it handled, you may elect to broadcast the news as widely as possible . . . but until then, do the right thing, OK?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 5, 2010
If I am understanding the question, seems there are very different problems that transpired.
If anyone in the public has a bad experience with an agent/company why use them again when purchasing?
What involvement did the title or law ofice have when handing the closing to ensure it settled timely, not costing anyone additional money?
Who dropped the ball? The agent or the office handling the closing?
If you feel as though there were problems that percipitated as a result of neglegence thru the agent, a complaint in writing should be sent to their broker and manager. File a complant with the local RE board and on the state level. We have a responsibility to the public, and to our ethics on a local, state and national level.
If the closing office is to blame for someor all of the problems, they too need to be held accountable.
Good luck to you.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 5, 2010
Well, to actually answer Ravi's question: to make Max Brooks shortcomings a part of public record, you have taken the right step here. Just do it more. Blog about it. Write about it. Place ads in the local paper. Hire a banner plane to fly a banner message over the local ballpark. You could even start a website about it to make it easy for people to find. It all depends on how much time, effort, and money you want to spent on exposing what you perceive your experience with Max Brooks and his agents to have been.

However, you may be opening yourself up to libel, slander, or defamation of character. It would be best to follow the advice below, which would be the only true way to make it a 'part of public record' since court proceedings and decisions are 'public records.'
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 5, 2010
I think if you speak to the Broker / Owner of the company first, you should be able to get things resolved. If not, seek legal action.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 3, 2010
You should have spoken to the agent's broker and the real estate commission.
But, it sounds as though you need to seek legal representation. That's the best way to get reimbursed for your monetary losses.

Best of luck to you!!
Web Reference: http://www.DesariJabbar.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 3, 2010
Your choices include reprting any violations of law to the state real estate commission and any violations of ethics which is more what it sounds to the local board of realtors.

It is a shame when anyone has a bad experience nevermind 2.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 3, 2010

I am so sorry to hear about your misfortune with these agents. I would go to the manager/broker of the office and lodge your complaint. Real estate agents rely heavily on referrals so a bad referral can really hurt their business. With no business they are out of business. In the future ask around for an agent that someone who you know has used and been happy with. This lessens the chance of things going wrong.

Best of luck to you!

Christina Phillips
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 14, 2010
Suggest you lodge your complaint with the manager/broker and with the real estate board if you want it to be on the public record.

Then I suggest you move on and find yourself a new agent to assist you on this and future dealings.

Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service
Web Reference: http://www.feenick.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 10, 2010
Ravi, I appreciate your understanding and civility. Thank you. I was reading in the LA Times an interesting article that is appropriate to this discussion. It is about posting opinions online and the possible repurcussions. Here is the link: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-blogger…

Have a great day,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 8, 2010
The answer to your question is that there is no public recording area; you can post it on as many internet sites as will allow it, take out ads in newspapers, and lead a parade down Main Street in the hope of getting TV coverage.

I, for one, think that it irresponsible. I think that the proper response is to go through channels, and if properly adjudicated, then, by all means, trumpet your verified and validated victory to the high heavens.

But to make these allegations in public? Sorry, Ravichopra, I'm not on your side on this one.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 7, 2010

You characterize our responses as being “a campaign of fear and intimidation” which you say “is predictable if dissappointing.” As professionals engaging in a free help forum where we are fully identified and easily held accountable, we must exercise an abundance of caution with the advice that we offer. If one of us were to recklessly advocate that you actually do publicly destroy a company and its agents, a variety of things could possibly happen. One thing is sure: we do not have a clue who you are or what your character is. You could be (not saying that you are) a highly litigious person with some lawsuit attorney on speed dial. If I or one my colleagues here were to recommend that you bash Max Brooks, and Max Brooks takes you to court for doing so, we could get drawn into the mess if your defensive claim is that we recommended your actions. That is a situation that nobody here is the least bit interested in risking involvement in. You asked for our opinions, and we gave it to you.

Best of Luck you in your endeavors,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 7, 2010
I understand the fear of public scrutiny. It's natural. And for some of you to engage in what amounts to a campaign of fear and intimidation (if you criticize them, you'll be sued for slander!) is predictable if dissappointing.

As I have not made any statements regarding anyone that refers to anything apart from my personal experiences, all of which are well documented, any claim of "slander" would be excruciatingly weak and would more likely than not be thrown out of court. I'd welcome any such case as it would allow me to fully express my experiences with them, not just limiting them to those which resulting in major inconvenience and financial loss.

I suppose there's a philosophical question as to whether or not bad experiences with a product or service should be kept secret until full due process has been served. If I buy a product that breaks within 2 weeks of delivery, am I obligated to go through all available official and legal channels to resolve the situation before posting a review on Amazon that says "Broken within 2 weeks. Hard to recommend."? Would that review be "slander"? It's up to the reader to determine if it seems credible and reliable within the context of everything written about the product. In fact, it's the power of many reviews written by many people with experience with the product that give consumers the ability to make better decisions. I'm hoping to similarly add my experiences in this case to the appropriate public record.

A fact some seem to be overlooking is that I'm not obligated to take the legal route with this at all. I'm well within my rights to take the financial hit, and then go out and exercise my right to free speech and inform the public of my experiences. As long as I stick to the facts of my situation, it is not slander.

Of course, none of this is relevant at this point. This is the only place where I've posted this information so far, and as a realator board it's unlikely to have any meaningful impact on their reputation or business. It has, though, turned out to be a powerfully valuable resource for me.

With few exceptions, the people here have been incredibly open and generous with their thoughts, recommendations, and very specifically useful information. I appreciate all of it. Sincerely.

Perry, as to your last thought about why I'd go back to the same agency after a bad experience years before; candidly, it never crossed my mind that one bad agent at an office meant that all the agents there would have competency issues. I still don't think that. That you seem to advocate that train of thought is incredibly odd.

My issue with Max Brooks at this point is that Eva has indicated that sh'e's communicated the information up the chain of command there and that they won't take responsibililty for their agents' actions, no matter what. If, after following up on some of the specific recommendations posted here that turns out not to be true I'll gladly come back, indicate that she was not honest with us in that regard, and retract my concerns about them.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 6, 2010
Hi Ravi:

Regret to hear of your problems. but inspire of your first problem years ago you decide to use them again
And now are slandering them on this board.

Maybe you want to call the local real estate board. file a complaint, have your day in arbitration and / or court
and see where you stand.

If you are right, you should be able to collect, it's simple.

But otherwise you will pay more in slander.

Web Reference: http://Www.ruthandperry.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 5, 2010
Thanks all for the answers here. It's helpful to hear from other Real Estate agents what the appropriate course of action when dealing with problems with others in their own profession.

To Ms. Francis: She's abundantly aware of the situation. I'm resorting to outreach like this because she opened our conversation by stating that they would not pay this (before any exploration of responsibillity) and is now twisting the situation (fortunately non-credibly). I'm not anxious to take legal action, but I will if it gets to that. We have more than enough documentation to win in small claims court easily. I was hoping to find some other course of action that would allow me to avoid the nightmare that is our legal system.

To Mr. McCoy: Would it have been better to take this to any of a number of other forums? How about the Consumerist? I'm asking other real estate agents how to best manage a situation with their own. I'd think there would be no less threatening a place for me to ask such questions. I completely disagree with you, by the way. Markets only work well if the public gets accurate information about the quality of product and services that individuals and companies provide. There is only incentive to improve if there is appropriate market reaction to providing a poor product or service. We've had two bad experiences with that office now. I think it's fair game to put that information out there.

To the rest of you: Thanks so very much. Your thoughts and advice have been invaluable.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 5, 2010
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