February 14, 2011
You Gotta Pay to Play
I just hung up with yet another attorney's office in Florida, where we've got some condo units we're trying to sell. Of course, we purchased these units via Quit Claim Deed, so we got them "warts and all", so to speak. This means we inherit all past due association fees, late fees, attorney fees, etc. As is almost always the case, the condo association has turned over the collection efforts to an attorney.
Normally, we ask our Realtors to figure out how much is owed so we're not surprised when it's time to sign the closing papers upon resale. However, this particular attorney wouldn't speak to our Realtor - they required a call from me.
Now, ONE WOULD THINK I simply needed to ask the attorney to give me a ballpark of what is owed so I can mentally add it to our cost basis. But NOT IN BIZARRO WORLD! Nope - I'm asked to send a check for $150 for the privilege of knowing how much we owe the association. And in an even greater show of customer contempt, I received the following email after I made my request in writing:
"Please note the fees quoted above are our standard fees charged for providing this service. Please do not contact our office for status updates or when you can expect to receive your estoppel request.
If we receive and are forced to respond to telephone calls, emails and/or faxes for status updates, etc., we will increase our estoppel fee for the extra time we are forced to expend to perform this task."
Does anyone else see how ridiculous this is? Think if you called up to verify your credit card balance so you could pay it in full and the Customer Service Rep on the other line told you to cut a check for $150 before you could get that information. Or standing in line at the grocery store, waiting for the total bill, when the friendly clerk said "Now, for an additional $20 I can push this little "subtotal" button and tell you how much you owe on your purchase today." CRAZY!!!
Yes, I understand the prior owners of this condo failed to pay their fees, but you can rest assured knowing we will be responsible to pay all the accrued attorney fees on this account (in addition to all other outstanding debts) in order to sell it ourselves. So to charge $150 to tell us what we need to pay to 'make it right' is just robbery.
Now, for the exciting conclusion to this story...
...please send a check for $250 to the author.
Hey, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!!!
Make it a great week.
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