If you want a company that pushes you into a corner and tells you that there is no other option, Coldwell Banker is the right company for you. There are countless times that Coldwell Banker insinuated that they were going to take legal action if we did not stay with them along with a plethora of other dishonest, unprofessional, manipulative things. The write-up below will take you through everything that we went through, and I am guessing others just give in to the pressure that Coldwell Banker and their “expert” team dish out. All attachments have been removed for our privacy. If you are interested in doing business with Coldwell Banker I implore you to read the facts below. This is what happened to my wife and me in chronological order.
Firstly, when my wife was stationed in Alamogordo she went house shopping with her mother. Her real estate agent with Coldwell Banker was very nice. However, when my wife was driving around Alamogordo she saw a house that she was interested in looking at but the Agent kept insisting they look at other homes. After looking at several houses my wife, again, expressed interest in the same home, but was assured by the Agent that the next few homes she was going to like. Finally, after even more persistence by my wife the Agent took her to the home (listed with another real estate company). That was the house that we purchased, signing a contract with Coldwell Banker to be the property manager (upon moving out).
After being stationed a couple years in Alamogordo my wife got orders to another base. She moved out and was able to find a renter who almost immediately moved in. After being away for a little over a year, a friend texted us pictures of the house and two beautiful palm trees that were in the front yard were completely gone. We called Coldwell Banker and they said that they would call us back. After some inquiry from the tenant, Coldwell Banker said to us that he removed the two trees because they were dead from a drought, and we should be thankful he did not charge for any labor. (That is a great property manager… telling their customers that they need to be grateful for renters not being able to take care of our property; then making it seem like it is gracious of the tenant to remove the trees that we never even had any idea were dying/dead.)
Next, on two separate occasions Coldwell Banker was unable to provide us rent money in a timely manner (9/19/12 and 5/19/13). It was not until we prompted Coldwell Banker on both occasions that the funds had not been received (because in fact they were transferred into another customer’s account we found out) that the correction was made. Take note, that EVERY time this happened, we were contacting them about the inquiry. They NEVER had ANY idea that it was happening. However, after contacting them the account was credited (see attached banking statements in Attachment 1) weeks after the expected date.
Furthermore, Coldwell Banker sent out a notice on 4/3/14 saying that a refrigerated air unit service WOULD BE scheduled if a reply WAS NOT received by 4/4/14 (the very next calendar day). They made it clear in the notice that “If we do not hear from you we will schedule you for the annual service” (see Attachment 2). What kind of a company gives their clients only one day to respond to a service that they will be immediately charged for? In the continuation of Attachment 2 one can see that although my wife did not reply to the message, the repair was not even scheduled. In fact, she and Coldwell Banker were having phone conversations over how the tenant was complaining of air conditioning issues (after the email about the annual service came out). My wife made it clear that it was imperative to have a repair man come to the house to fix the problem immediately. After a few weeks we called again to say that we had not heard of any action to fix the air conditioning, and Coldwell Banker replied that the service had been “scheduled” but they had not gotten to the house yet. Yet, the same day of the second complaint, a repairman was able to stop by the house to evaluate the problem. There was no response from Coldwell Banker that the repair was made, again, and that the problem was resolved. To aggravate the situation even more, the money was extremely delayed to be taken out our account to pay for the maintenance repair. It was only after another phone call that the repair was finally put on the July statement. This shows complete negligence on various occasions for Coldwell Banker to responsibly handle their client’s transactions, and detect errors in their own system. On every occasion the home owner was going to Coldwell Banker to have the problem fixed. Is this what you want from a company you pay?
The next complaint will show you how Michael Nelson and the employees of Coldwell Banker demonstrate inferior character, incompetency, untrustworthiness, fraud, and dishonesty. Our (then) current rental agreement states in the terms of the agreement “The term of this agreement will begin on November 12, 2010 and will terminate at 11:59 pm Mountain time on November 11, 2013. Unless written notice of termination is given no later than 30 days prior to the end of the term, at the end of the term set forth above, this Agreement shall become month to month. This Agreement may be terminated on thirty (30) days notice by either party.” At the end of the Property Management Agreement there are Additional Terms stating “The contract will automatically extend for 3 year increments unless the home has sold or a 30 day notice is give to terminate this agreement prior to the expiration of the current agreement…” When interacting with Coldwell Banker, we had multiple interactions that were irrefutably acts of fraud and the numerous terms listed above.
My wife contacted Coldwell Banker after hearing from them that the current tenant was going to be moving out at the end of August of 2014 (take note of this date they gave us). When she contacted them she inquired about the terms of the contract and requested further clarification of the sections referenced above and Jessica (Property Manager for Coldwell Banker) stated that the Additional Terms clearly state that the contract was extended another 3 years and the contract CANNOT be terminated before the end of its term (November of 2016). She made it extremely clear to my wife that the contract could not be terminated. My wife was coerced by Jessica to believe that there was no other option, and the house would have to be either sold or rented by a member of Coldwell Banker once the tenant moved out. My wife told Jessica that this did not seem right, and that she wanted to look into using another real estate agency and Jessica replied back with a comment saying that there could be legal issues for violation of the property management agreement.
I soon after called Coldwell Banker and spoke to Jessica about the Agreement. Referencing the section under #3, “This Agreement may be terminated on thirty (30) days written notice by either party” and I explained to Jessica how I believed they had no right to not allow us to terminate the contract. At this point Jessica deemed it necessary for me to talk to Michael. When talking to Michael, I asked for the contract to be explained and Michael started off with a statement somewhat like, “I have been dealing with this contract for over twenty years and I have hundreds of active contracts and just as many customers. Coldwell Banker has hundreds of military members just like you…” (my wife at this time had gotten out of the military and the house was only in her name; therefore, she could have not used the military clause that all of their other military clients use)” I started telling him that I was not interested in hearing anything about Coldwell Banker, and he replied to me “are you going to let me finish?” …He then began to list how he took a house his competitors couldn’t sell in two years and he sold it in two weeks for asking price. Also, how they control a majority of the real estate and because of this they are better than their competitors. Lastly, how they have the top realtors in NM… He then continued saying “the contract states that at the end of your first agreement if you do not give a 30 day notice then the agreement will be extended for another three years. You cannot terminate the agreement until the end of the term. The contract states that the 30 day notice needs to be given prior to the expiration of the current agreement or the home needs to be sold. Since the agreement extends until November of 2016 you cannot list or sell the home with someone outside of Coldwell Banker without incurring a 6% fee. Also since the Agreement does not terminate until 2016 you have to stay with Coldwell Banker until that date. He told me in a threatening way, “I have looked into this before and talked about it with lawyers. The contract is clear.”
I then responded that what he was doing was not legal; and my wife and I were going to submit a 30 day notice regardless and did not want to do business with Coldwell Banker. Being fed up and frustrated, I then said goodbye and Michael in a hasty, almost nervous manner said that that was fine and he would give the keys to their new real estate agent at another company.
The icing on the cake is when we worked with Coldwell Banker in the next few days to submit a written notice for the termination of our agreement. Our renter was not moving out for another two months so we decided in our notice to state that the contract would be terminated when the renter moved out at the end of August 2014, “consider this to be our more than 30 days’ notice”. We asked that on the date the company overnight the keys and garage door openers so that we could access our house. We requested a response from Mike to confirm that our wishes would be respected and he replied that there would be no problems.
The time comes for our rent money to come into our bank account on the 15th of August (the last month the renter was in the house) and there is nothing. We are pretty much use to this by now with Coldwell Banker and give them a call. The receptionist picks up the phone and says, “In our records it shows that the renter moved out at the end of last month.” We were livid to say the least. So not only did they tell us the wrong month the renter was moving out, they didn’t send us the keys, they didn’t notify us our house was vacant (huge insurance issue), and we did not get the money we were planning to get.
Our complaint deals with the fact that Coldwell Banker and the employees mentioned above forcefully demanded, in a misleading way, that my wife and I had to stay with Coldwell Banker. They fraudulently used scare tactics to intimidate us into staying with the company. It was either get a 6% charge if the house was sold, or to rent the house through Coldwell Banker. No other opportunity available for the homeowners according to Coldwell Banker. Coldwell Banker committed this act of shameless character with the intent to deceive us. Not only were they frauds, but they were also dishonest, incompetent and negligent in the deliberate acts they were committing throughout our contract with them.
My wife and I would never recommend both Coldwell Banker and their employees to anyone. We hope that this information allows you to make an informed choice when selecting a real estate agent or property management company.
Product or Service Mentioned: Coldwell Banker Manager.