This prospective tenant left a 1-star review about my business on Yelp which I thought was uncalled for so here is my response.
Here is her original review:
“The interactions even during the application process were enough to scare me away. I can not imagine what they would be like to rent from. The online reviews are accurate 100%. Stay away, far away.”
I asked her to remove it or I must publish our text messages to defend my business and she might not like when the tables are turned and her name is out there on the Internet for all landlords and employers to see. She refused. I keep my interactions with prospective tenants private unless they open the door and claim that they were “scary” at which point I must make them public to show that they were not scary. I am sure she did not like my public response but the ball is in her court – if she doesn’t like the publicity she can remove her review and my public response will maybe cease to exist. Because I dared to ask for her defamatory review to be removed later she added updates to her message that were rambling, threatening and quite frankly, scary.
Here they are:
“Update: 12/17/18 After declining to do business with this company due to many reasons, I received threatening text messages, and threatening messages on Yelp demanding I take this review down or he will share all of my personal information online. I declined to do business with this company due to the confrontational business owner, the fact that they demand you send all of your personal info (paystubs, credit report, social security number) to a random person whom does not initially introduce themselves, as well as over unsecured networks just to simply view an apartment. The business owner was very argumentative, demanding, difficult to do any business with at all. I threatened to contact the police if this man continues to threaten and harass me and report him. Publishing a WOMAN’S information online can be a serious safety concern. I have also reported this man to Yelp for harassment/making threats as well, and sent them a copy of the outside messages and the message on Yelp I received. I have all text messages, emails, and Yelp messages saved. Yelp is a safe place for people to leave good and bad reviews about their experiences doing business. Businesses aren’t allowed to threaten or bribe people to remove their reviews.
Update-12/18/18 The business owner has now commented on this review and has now lied about me publicly. None of which he has posted is true. I do not owe any landlords thousands of dollars nor have I ever. During my application process I refused to give him my personal information through unsecured networks nor did he initially introduce himself while demanding this information. I have notified authorities of this man’s harrassment and his dangerous behavior and they are looking into this. I will also be contacting an attorney and looking into defamation of character, harrassment, and if needed a no contact order. I blocked him through my phone service, through email, and from contacting me privately on Yelp and he is still feeling the need to harass me about this review. I will NOT be taking it down. He has been reported to Yelp for his harrassment and ridiculous behavior regarding reviews.”
“Update-12/20/2018 This man has now posted someone’s information publically, not mine in the comment section of this review. He thinks because he looks up a name and a town he knows everything apparently. This is a serious breach of someone’s privacy and I am sure it violates some law somewhere to be doing this. Clearly everyone can see how this man is obviously unstable by his interactions with people who leave honest reviews regarding interactions with him. Would any of you want to rent from this man and deal with him as your landlord?
Update – 12/21/2018 Just throwing this out there as well….you can clearly see he addresses me as a MR. In the photos I have now attached. I have attached screenshots of our interactions so everyone can see what this man is like. I am not a MAN I am a WOMAN (Ms.).So take whatever he has commented with a grain of salt, because this man is obviously very unstable to be posting a random person’s info online. As you can see in the screenshots I have provided he also stated “I should have just known who he is, and could have done a simple online search.” That is ridiculous because you know……everything on the Internet is real and safe…..this guy was a piece of work to deal with as all of you can now see. This man also lied in his comment section about what was REALLY said to make himself look better. So now I’ve attached actual screenshots. He has been reported to Yelp and I received an email stating he has been warned not to pressure people that do business with him about removing their honest reviews. I personally can not report his comment on this review as I do not have a desktop, however I do encourage all of you that read this to do so. His messages were reported along with the texts/emails he has sent to me.
So after allllllll of this just to apply for an apartment and not even view it….would any of you want to do business with a company or man like this?”
And here is my public response:
“Dear Quinn Sargent,
My interactions with you were pretty routine plus you already should have known who I am, you submitted an application on my web site where my email, number and name are listed plus you knew my domain and you could have done a search plus my ad for this apt says : “a full credit report for all tenants over 18 years old and a proof of income are required to qualify for this apartment and see it in person. Please have that prepared to show in advance.”
After you left the review, I went online to MassCourts.org and someone with your exact name living in the town (Athol, MA) where you said you were living has 3 housing records/evictions in 2016, 2017 and 2018 where they were court ordered to pay thousands of dollars to people. The site is free for anyone to see and the information is public.
So here I am publishing the entirety of our interactions. These are ALL of our interactions. I have not called or emailed her except for 1 private message on Yelp very similar to the texts I sent her asking her to remove her review, direct messages where we try to work it out are something Yelp recommends:
- 12-5-18 I have reviewed the rental application that you submitted at PayLowRent.com and it looks ok. Now I need to see your Proof of Income and full Credit Reports (all pages, not just the credit score) for all adults. First, send the credit reports. You can either email them to email@example.com or text to this number to schedule a meeting but ONLY if you have these documents already in hand to show at the meeting and ONLY if you have less than $250 in Collections (bills never paid)and Past Due Accounts (bills paid too late) and nothing recent that is negative and ONLY if your score is over 650. If you have bad credit but a long tenancy(over 3 years at the same apt) and have good proof of on-time rental payments,I will need to see both sides of the cancelled rental checks, please let me know as that might help you qualify. You can get your credit for FREE. You can get your credit for FREE at http://www.AnnualCreditReport.com or http://www.CreditKarma.com and print or save as a PDF file and email to me.”
- Good morning, I am happy to provide a copy of a credit report/income verifications in person upon viewing an apartment. Those documents contain very sensitive information. You have not identified yourself through this text.
- What is your credit score?
- You have not identified yourself in this text. I am not sharing that type of personal information. I will share that information in person, copies in hand upon viewing the apartment.
- My name is Elmir Simov, I am a landlord who owns 45 apts in Central MA. Web site – PayLowRent.com. Rating 4.8, 40 reviewers in Google. You can only see the video for now because it makes no sense to waste your time, my time and the current tenants’ time if it turns out that you have bad credit or prior housing record or low income or something else that disqualifies you. We only drive to show apts to people who have already been pre-qualified and approved for the apt. We get a lot of inquiries (20-50 a day)and we can’t drive for every one of them, only for the qualified ones. I hope this answered your question. The reason I asked for your score is because if it’s in the 500s you won’t qualify to rent from me at this time and makes even less sense to meet in person.
- Wow…..after this interaction I have had this morning I am no longer interested in renting from you. The online reviews for this rental company are exactly as they say they are. I will absolutely not provide that much detailed information over unsecured networks. I absolutely will not provide that much information over unsecured networks to a person whom initially did not identify themselves at first just to simply view the apartment. I will be taking my business elsewhere to more professional outlets.
- Ok, I understand we are not a good match. Best of luck.
- 12-16-18 You left a bad review on Yelp. I sent you a message thru Yelp yesterday but no response from you. As I said in that message please remove your review or I MUST defend my business publicly by quoting all of these texts and your 3 prior housing court records.
- I am going to contact the police and let them know you are threatening me.
- That’s funny. Are you going to remove your review or not? Read my Yelp message to you and think about it today. I think you will hurt yourself more with future landlords and employers if I reply publicly with your name being on the Internet. If you claim that you’ve had”crazy interactions”* with me I am entitled to defend myself and show evidence that my interactions with you were not crazy in any way, they were pretty routine. You wanted to see the apt before showing me credit and income and I introduced myself and explained why we don’t do it that way. * I meant to say “scary interactions”
In the updated message this person posted on 12-17-18 she claims that I ask for Social Security Numbers. I don’t need and don’t ask prospective tenants for Social Security Numbers and Dates of Birth. They are not in the credit reports or pay stubs, the credit report companies hide them. Plus whatever I receive from prospective tenants is encrypted.”
Update as of 12-31-18. Hmm, this morning when I was writing to my email subscribers, I went to Yelp and I saw that mysteriously and manually Yelp had moved her review into the “not recommended” pile and pulled out a 5-star review out of it and made it recommended. Maybe because I wrote to them to complain about their practices after they cited me for “harassing” her.
It’s a step in the right direction but I am still convinced that Yelp encourages anonymous reviews by Internet Trolls who can slander your business any way they want and who have nothing to lose because they are anonymous. In my opinion Yelp acts similarly to the Mafia – (advertising) money for “protection” (from bad reviews). People get negative reviews and they contact Yelp and start advertising there in hopes that this will help. Whether it helps or not is another matter but I do believe Yelp gets their money because people hope that way they can improve their online situation and reputation, a situation that Yelp knowingly caused in the first place, you can’t remove your business from Yelp! That’s a Mafia to me! Yelp will never see any advertising money from me, I can tell you that.