by Tim O’Dwyer M.A., LL.B
Consumer advocate Neil Jenman has long used his website to alert real estate consumers, particularly first time property investors, to real estate scams and scammers. He fearlessly names individuals and companies he believes are acting dishonestly and deceptively. Some property investors, who have dealt to their detriment with those exposed by Mr Jenman, come across his frank revelations only afterwards.
Lucy Young, of Ringwood North, Victoria, was one such trusting soul who, with some nagging doubts, searched the internet after signing to buy an off-the-plan unit in a 44-lot retirement village in a Queensland country town. When she happened on the Jenman site and read one of his latest Consumer Alerts, Lucy was horrified.
Jenman’s “Guided Tour”, as he called it,described almost exactly Lucy’s own recent property investment experience. Worse, she recognised not only the group of companies supposedly assisting her but also the Victorian solicitor she’d faithfully engaged, on their recommendation, to protect her in this purchase.
Lucy quickly contacted an independent Melbourne law firm to get her out of this dubious, and possibly over-priced, property deal. Because Lucy looked to be legally locked into an interstate contract, those lawyers called Queensland solicitors they knew. A brief account and some of Lucy’s documents were immediately emailed north. The Queensland firm, aware of my reputation as a “contract killer”, promptly phoned me. Would I take on this case?