Posted by Afron on May 23, 2000 at 08:07:03:
Folks, once again, No Fee places are using different tactics to scam you again. Apartment hunters, beware. I have been duped. I don't want this to happen to you. These places move fast and change their names and numbers just as quick. I wrote to The Village Voice about this and they changed their policy because of all the complaints they received over it.
The following newspapers are prime targets of these No Fee Scam artists: NY Daily News, The Village Voice, NY Post, The New York Times. Check the real estate listings closely. Some ads will say "call owner". However, when you call the owner, you are told there is a one time processing fee of X amount of dollars (NOT!). Some phone numbers will refer you to a toll call number (i.e. 976, 540, 1-900). Others will just straight out scam you.
Before you sign up with any of these companies, look for clues to their business practice. Do they have a business certificate displayed where you can see it? Are their contracts too generic-looking? Any references from past customers? Are you told to ask for one person when you get there, then you see another person (Biggest scam going)? Are the representatives licensed to give apartment information (yes, they have to be licensed)? What does the place look like? Does the place look like they have been there for a while or can they pack it up and leave in a few mintues? I have been 'had' by these places and i have done a ton of research to share with others seeking apartments. You may not want to pay a Broker's Fee but believe me, a broker can save you the time and headache of dealing with the No Fee scams or searching on your own. Just be careful and be informed. That is the best defense against a possible con artist.
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