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Old 04-08-2011, 11:10 AM
 
4,088 posts, read 3,301,676 times
Reputation: 5395

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Wondering if this qualifies as a "bait and switch"....

We applied to rent a very nice house through a rental company. Asking price for rent was $1800/mo. Very popular house...apparantly, they received at least 10 applications.

Two weeks later, I get a call from the management company....the rent on the house is now $1995/mo., and am I still interested?

First, this is way over our budget, so no, we are not still interested.

Second, I want my application fee back because I never would have applied for a house where the rent was that price.

I think this is a bait and switch....

What are your thoughts?
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Old 04-08-2011, 11:21 AM
 
Location: Boise, ID
8,043 posts, read 23,725,710 times
Reputation: 9334
Possibly, but to continue the metaphor, this may have been a new rental, and they were just testing the waters to see what the interest level was in order to determine what the rent really should be. When they had a ton of interest, they realized they had priced it too low.

If they had not yet agreed to rent it to you, you hadn't paid anything besides an application fee, and hadn't signed a lease, and they give you the application fee back, I would guess they are fine.

Bait and switch implies an intent to defraud. That isn't necessarily what has happened here. Sounds more a change due to supply and demand.
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Old 04-08-2011, 01:57 PM
 
912 posts, read 4,280,218 times
Reputation: 2018
You should definitely, 100% get your application fee back.

Unless they are willing to honor the price at which you applied for.
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Old 04-08-2011, 03:46 PM
 
4,088 posts, read 3,301,676 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lacerta View Post
Bait and switch implies an intent to defraud. That isn't necessarily what has happened here. Sounds more a change due to supply and demand.

OK, good point.

I have sent an email asking for our application fee back...should I keep pursuing this? call the office? etc.?
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Old 04-08-2011, 04:04 PM
 
Location: Downtown Harrisburg
1,434 posts, read 3,416,152 times
Reputation: 1009
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlitosBala View Post
You should definitely, 100% get your application fee back. Unless they are willing to honor the price at which you applied for.
I would definitely press to get your application fee back.

It doesn't sounds like bait & switch, but it's clearly not possible for you to get the house at the advertised price.
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Old 04-08-2011, 10:35 PM
 
Location: Kailua Kona, HI
3,199 posts, read 11,427,660 times
Reputation: 3392
If a place is advertised for rent at a certain price, I don't know if it's illegal but it sure isn't right, or ethical to arbitrarily up the ante just because you got 10 applications. I imagine the owner pressured them into this decision. I don't like it a bit personally. Definitely get your money back.
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Old 04-09-2011, 06:20 PM
 
25,881 posts, read 39,160,903 times
Reputation: 13870
They should give the money back...this is dishonest!
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Old 04-10-2011, 02:26 AM
 
Location: Yucaipa, California
9,729 posts, read 18,427,787 times
Reputation: 6432
This is a dishonest rental company. They realized after the fact that they can get nearly 2 hundred dollars more per month by the number of applicants. Get your money back. Whats their company name & email address ?
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Old 04-10-2011, 11:12 AM
 
4,088 posts, read 3,301,676 times
Reputation: 5395
Quote:
Originally Posted by steel7 View Post
This is a dishonest rental company. They realized after the fact that they can get nearly 2 hundred dollars more per month by the number of applicants. Get your money back. Whats their company name & email address ?

That's what I think, too.

They are not being responsive so far. Can I report them to the BBB and the board of realtors for our state?
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Old 04-10-2011, 11:32 AM
 
Location: Downtown Harrisburg
1,434 posts, read 3,416,152 times
Reputation: 1009
Quote:
Originally Posted by calgirlinnc View Post
They are not being responsive so far. Can I report them to the BBB and the board of realtors for our state?
You can report them to the BBB, but remember that the BBB is pretty much useless. The absolute worst they can do is issue them a "noncompliant" status or terminate their membership. The BBB is a voluntary commerce organization. Since they're not a law / government agency, they're basically powerless.

Your state's Attorney General, on the other hand, may be worthwhile. Most businesses would rather just send a refund check for an amount that small than deal with the AG, even if they've done nothing wrong or illegal.

I'm not advocating you "using the system" to "hassle" the LL -- I think the LL is being awfully unethical if they're unwilling to return your application fee under the circumstances you described. Just remember that it's not illegal to be unethical.
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