Better Business Bureau encourages home-seekers to be on the lookout for rental listing companies that charge advance “finders’ fees.”
According to BBB’s recent complaints on RentPad NW—an “apartment finding and rental service” advertising on Craigslist—Washington-based complainants paid upfront fees of $275 to $350 for help: finding places to live; setting up appointments with potential landlords; scheduling apartment viewings; and running credit or background checks to expedite applications. However, complaints allege that services were not rendered and promised refunds were not provided.
Due to seven complaints—four of which have been closed unanswered—RentPad NW or RentPad Northwest has earned an “F” rating with BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington.
When considering rental services:
- Vacate bare ads. Avoid responding to anonymous ads, where basic company contact information is not provided.
- Screen businesses. Research potential companies on bbb.org and avoid those with suspicious complaint histories.
- Lease help. Carefully review policies and contracts before making payments; understand the terms and conditions so there are no surprises after paperwork is signed. Consult trusted attorneys or financial professionals if needed.
- Evict companies with questionably high fees. Stay away from companies that require large upfront fees; it’s best to pay after promised services are complete.
- Store payment records. Pay with credit cards whenever possible; if it’s fraud, disputing charges through credit issuers may be easier than collecting refunds from companies.
For more information on rental assistance, check with BBB or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.