isn't this fraud? Do I have recourse?

21 Replies

I am in the process of buying a flipped home. They made over 250,000 on the flip. There was a sign on the wall in the kitchen saying that a Jenn-air fridge would be coming the next week when we made the deal. We even asked him if it was counter depth and he said yes. Now, today (a month later) eight days before closing, he says he is putting in a Samsung or he can give us 1700.00. I have a picture of the sign that clearly said it would be a Jenn air fridge (to match the appliances). A Jenn air costs at least 3000 without a warranty. Can he get away with that? Isn’t that fraud?

This post has been removed.

really?  a half a million home and we are discussing the brand of the fridge?  tell him you won't close and get the fridge you want. 

Whatever is in your purchase contract is what's legally binding.  I assume the Jenn Air was specified?

@Katey Janson

In most instances, what is said and what is written on a sign won't suffice as evidence of a contractual obligation. If the make, model and color of refrigerator wasn't specifically addressed in your contract, you may be out of luck. 

It would be better to ask an attorney in your state where the contract was executed to review your contract instead asking folks here on BP who don't know what is contained in the language of the contract or what it requires of either the buyer or seller.  

It depends on when you will have more fun - negotiating about the fridge or taking your deal, but if you started to be not completely happy about this deal - use this as a legitimate reason to go away. Find your deal where you will make 250K

What is written in the contract?  Did you have an inclusions/exclusions form provided to you as apart of the disclosures?  What does that say?

@Katey Janson

 If it was in the purchase contract, then he would be legally obligated to get you a Jenn Air fridge unless you settle on other terms.  Since he technically has until your closing to provide it (unless the contract states otherwise), you can sue him after closing.  If it's not specified in the purchase contract, while perhaps unethical, I don't think this rises to fraud, since you have not closed on the property.  You are currently in due diligence period (I'd imagine) and you are aware that he won't provide the fridge, and so if you choose to go ahead and close, you are indirectly accepting the new terms.

While I obviously don't know the details of your situation, I would imagine you have the upper hand in negotiations.  If he is a flipper, I'd imagine he has a high carry cost on the property.  Since you tied it up for 1 month already, I don't imagine he wants to go another month with someone else.  Since we are dealing only with $1300, threaten to walk and the agents might even chip in just to get the deal closed (j/k, well maybe not...)

Great advice thanks. I am checking the contract, but it was supposed to be in there. I am thinking the realtor didn't add the brand and that is why he thinks he can do this. I will check.

UGH!!!! I checked the contract and the agent only wrote "stainless steel refrigerator"! GOOD GRIEF! Isn't that her job to have written the correct thing in there?

The photo of the sign might be useful, but what you're arguing over is a difference os $1300.  

Is that worth going to small claims court?  Only you can answer that.  What is your time worth?

You also have the responsibility to understand the contents of any contract you sign.

A side note - what somebody else made on the deal doesn't matter.

Contract is binding...everything else doesnt matter, most of the time

@Katey Janson

Yes, your agent did a very poor job of defining specifically what was to be included in the way of a refrigerator.  You may request she make up the difference since she should know better than to use ambiguous language, but don't hold your breath. 

Originally posted by @Katey Janson :

UGH!!!! I checked the contract and the agent only wrote "stainless steel refrigerator"! GOOD GRIEF! Isn't that her job to have written the correct thing in there?

Isn't it YOUR job to read what is in the contract before signing? At least read the stuff that isn't standard boilerplate ...

Thank you the rest of you. Your opinions are VERY helpful. The reason I asked this in a forum was to get an idea of what others might do in my situation. Not to get legal advice, just to get a perspective to see if I was far off in my thinking. I realize it is up to me to figure this out. I was just asking for opinions. Thank you everyone for taking your time to respond. Even you Steve (aka Mr. Meany).

It turned out that the seller refused to do what was the right thing to do. VERY unethical. My only recourse is karma. The agent corrected the mistake and made up the difference.

Great advice Guy.

Thanks again all of you.

Originally posted by @Katey Janson :

Uh thanks Steve. Real nice.

I was about equally nice as you were in identifying who had responsibility. But you seem to not recognize that you are partly to blame, preferring to play "victim" here. 

And there was nothing "mean" in my post unless you are going to call yourself mean as well - I just used words that you posted in case you didn't recognize that. 

Be glad the seller didn't switch to a used refrigerator from Craigs list ...

 Yes, it is a rotten thing the seller did, just plain greed ...

Thank you for your opinion Steve, but why do you think an agent should be entitled to collect a tidy sum of money from the sale? With Redfin and Zillow, the clients do a lot of their own searching. Plus  now you have docusign, and it isn't half the work it used to be, I know, my mom was a broker, I grew up as the daughter of a major realtor (deceased now). An agent has a responsibility to represent and PROTECT their clients, even from naivety.

It was her mistake that she did not properly identify the refrigerator. I actually had it on tape while I was filming the kitchen, her actually saying the words Jenn-air fridge as she was taking notes to later put in the contract. It is the agents job to protect their client at all times, and represent their best interest.  That is what they are paid to do. It never entered our minds that the seller would be unethical, posting a promise of a product and then not following through. The agent, having had endless experience, should have been on top of that possibility. When we read the contract it all seemed fine to us lay people.

Thankfully she is a quality agent and has high ethics and made a bad situation right. Lesson learned for all three of us.

And with the way she corrected the matter, she will probably make twice as much from us, because we will certainly use her again when we sell our other home (we have two properties)  and buy another, which is our plan in a couple years.

Thank you for taking the time to give me your advice. I will certainly get out my Mr. Magoo magnifying glass when the next contract presents itself!

P.s. I was just teasing about the Mr. Meany.

This post has been removed.

Reminds me of the time I complained to a Starbucks barista that my latte was too foamy. I've got a good life. Any problem that can be fixed with a checkbook is not a problem!

Quality problems. Go find someone on the other side of the railroad tracks to help and be grateful you have a house. 

The hole you give through is the same size as the hole you receive through.

Free eBook from BiggerPockets!

Ultimate Beginner's Guide Book Cover

Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

  • Actionable advice for getting started,
  • Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
  • Learn how to get started with or without money,
  • Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
  • And a LOT more.

Lock We hate spam just as much as you

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here