Agency referral list solicitation

Got this e-mail today. I will NOT change the names. You will see why:

"William,
 
 
My name is Adam Ramey and I am working on behalf of Keller Williams Reality Partners-Park Ridge. We have a new project we are working on and we would like to feature Decker Home Services, LLC on our Introduction Folders for Keller Williams Reality Partners-Park Ridge.

We are providing brand new custom designed high gloss introduction folders handed out by all the 95 agents to all prospected home buyers and sellers at the very beginning of the home buying process. The home buyers use the folders to hold the paperwork they accumulate throughout the home buying process. On the inside pockets of the folders we’re going to feature a small mix of local businesses, industry specific that the agents can refer exclusively to their clients.

  • The featured ad includes everything; artwork, pictures, logos, any special lettering. Total single ad price is $395 for one year!

  • all agents in the office use these folders exclusively

  • open and in front of buyers for weeks to months at a time

  • used to hold open house paperwork, inspection forms, loan documents, title sheets etc…
    Home Buyers & Sellers:

  • Middle to upper income

  • homeowners

  • business owners & upper management
    You can view our interactive Presentation Folders on our website.

We anticipate this as a tremendous fit for your business, and look forward to working with you!

Thanks again,

Adam Ramey"

I replied:

"Mr. Ramey;

I am honored that you would choose to include me in this brochure that you are preparing for Keller Williams Realty in Part Ridge, however I cannot take part. Let me explain why and, hopefully, also educate you and your client.

Paying for referrals from real estate agents (Yes, I know, you would portray it as “advertising”) is a violation of the Code of Ethics of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI) as well as the Illinois association of Realtors (IAR) and the National Association of Realtors (NAR). While not, specifically, prohibited from the Illinois State licensing body for both Home Inspectors and real estate agents, it is very much frowned upon. Some years ago, Coldwell-Banker formed their “Concierge Service”, linking Coldwell-Banker with a mortgage company and a national home inspection company, U.S. Inspects. As a result of many poorly performed inspections, there were two federal lawsuits (in Maryland and Virginia, I believe) that went against this practice. There were also past attempts by another Home Inspector association, ASHI, to “brand” their group to agents and pay for referral advertising.

Because this is seen as a clear conflict of interest and since, in Illinois especially, both real estate agents and home inspectors have a legal, fiduciary responsibility to their clients, the practice was banned. While I do have various agents and agencies that regularly refer me, I do not (and can not) pay for that service. Nor can I, or do I, pay or receive payment from agents, contractors, insurance agents or other people that I may refer to my clients at their request.

Furthermore, while real estate agencies have a perfect right to advertise, just as I do, I see no reason why that advertisement should be underwritten by the solicitation of advertisements from other professionals, especially when there is a fiduciary conflict of interest.
Maybe your firm and / or this agency was not aware of this situation, but you are now informed.

I would also like to mention that I receive around 20 - 30 e-mail solicitations from various companies (advertisement firms (like yours), web site SEO firms, magazines and other real estate related companies) with similar solicitations. I have wondered for a long time why such companies think they have any right to waste my time with this unsolicited spam. If I want to do business with a company, I am perfectly capable of vetting and contacting them, myself, rather than just sending our spam e-mails.

I have copied this to the appropriate agencies for their information.

Thank you for your time.

William Decker, CMI"

Nuff said! :wink:

Sorry, I’m stealing this to send to the next real estate marketing wizard to contact me, thanks in advance… I usually just tell them no and hang up.

Well. there’s more. Just got this back from the managing broker of the agency mentioned. She even called me to follow up and appologize. Nice person.

"Dear William,

This person does not work with us nor are we in business with him. Thank you for forwarding this email on to me. I will contact them immediately and ask them to stop. This is the third time this has happened and I am getting quite annoyed.

Thank you again for bringing this to my attention

Colleen M. Runyon
Team Leader/Branch Manager
Keller Williams Realty Partners"

Turns out this guy is part of a scam:

  1. represent yourself as producing a folder for a company.
  2. Sell ad space in that folder.
  3. Send a POS “free” folder set to the company.

There are even lawsuits filed against them. See here:

[FONT=arial]
http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Production-Media-Co/internet/Production-Media-Co-Pissed-Off-This-Company-ripped-people-off-saying-i-would-send-business-1006295

http://www.bbb.org/oregon/business-reviews/marketing-software/production-media-company-in-beaverton-or-22724315

I love the internet.

I have also reported him to the Illinois State’s Attorney fraud office.

Hope this helps;

[/FONT]

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

I also breadcast this to the inspectors in this area, as well as to a couple of TV reports that I know. Sweeps week needs content, doesn’t it.

As you can tell, I am not the kind of guy you want to P*ss off.

Way to go Bill!!!

Got the exact same letter yesterday and responded that I was selling ads on all my websites so please provide the names of all the Agents involved so I can contact them individually…lol

Below is the response from the same guy you are referring to.

**Wow!
**This is great as I am doing the same thing for all
my clients as well.
Perhaps you would be interested in placing a ad on my websites.
One of my partners will be contacting you.

Great minds think alike.

This would be for each individual Agent of course.
Please provide a list of all Agents and contact emails plus phone numbers involved in your folder and I can call them separately.
Thanks.

Bob,

We are a third party which is designing and producing the introduction folders for Keller Williams. Being a housing inspector yourself you know you are one of the first people call when buying a new house. We would like to feature your business on their introduction folders. This is a very affordable marketing tool which wont overwelm you with business, but add to your existing advertising as well as make contacts with Keller Williams.

I like to play…lol
So responded with below and after is his response.:slight_smile:

Wow!
This is great as I am doing the same thing for all
my clients as well.
Perhaps you would be interested in placing a ad on my websites.
One of my partners will be contacting you.

Great minds think alike.

This would be for each individual Agent of course.
Please provide a list of all Agents and contact emails plus phone numbers involved in your folder and I can call them separately.
Thanks.

Bob,

We are a third party which is designing and producing the introduction folders for Keller Williams. Being a housing inspector yourself you know you are one of the first people call when buying a new house. We would like to feature your business on their introduction folders. This is a very affordable marketing tool which wont overwelme you with business, but add to your existing advertising as well as make contacts with Keller Williams.

Just to add here I get work from that office all the time and it is actually a good group of Agents.

Just got off the phone with a client set up for early next week referred from them.
So I guess no hard feelings from them for me messing with their third party vendor.

I am sure they got put in the same boat as us and were sold on it being a great way to put out a free publication.

Perhaps I will mention this to a few of their Brokers next time we speak…“You know me” :slight_smile:

I have a similar company trying to sell me ad space on their folders which are distributed to brokers. Has anyone done this or had any luck with it? I just met with a representative in person and viewed some of the samples.

You just don’t get it do you ?

Did you read the entire thread?? First, it’s unethical, second, it’s borderline smamming! Good luck!

I get phone calls from these people all the time.

As mentioned, the office they “represent” is not always authorizing them.

Look up reviews for the printing companies behind the call and you’ll read nothing but complain after complaint.

Despite calling me all the time, the representative often tells me this is a “new” program that no one’s done before.

Many agents don’t use folders.

Of those that do, the folders are often not given to the buyer until after the inspection.

If the folders really worked, sales people wouldn’t be calling inspectors they find online. Rather, inspectors would be lined up trying to buy ad space. The printers would have contracts with the larger firms.

It’s a scam.

Just blow them off, they are basically leeches and lie about working with real estate offices or brokers.