St. Louis customers claim rental agency gave false promises, no refund

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by Chris Nagus / News 4 Investigates

KMOV.com

Posted on May 8, 2013 at 9:49 PM

Updated Thursday, May 9 at 7:43 AM

(KMOV) -- It is a company that guarantees to find you the perfect home for $90.

But some customers say the only thing they got from Rent Source was the run-around.
 
So News 4 went undercover and discovered a lot of questionable promises being made to people who are desperate and can't afford to be ripped off.
  
“I gave them $90 (and got) nothing” said Rent Source customer Jandell Jones.
 
Ricky Dickerson had similar complaints, along with Gloria Boyer “I think they get you verbally.”
 
All of these customers say it all started with a Craigslist ad, a great sounding place with a phone number but no address.   But when you call the number you get Rent Source.
 
So we went undercover to check it out and find out what you get for $90.
 
This is what we heard from the salesmen inside the Rent Source office on Gravois in South St. Louis.
 
"Its 90 dollars for us to get you in a perfect home, that is guaranteed no matter your credit.”
 
 “We can get you around any credit checks, application fees, or any hidden costs.”
 
Seems pretty clear but customers say that promise is false.
 
Rent Source gave our producer a list of potential rentals, News 4’s Chris Nagus called several landlords who told him credit checks and application fees are still required despite the promises made at Rent Source.
 
Then there's the problem with those Craigslist ads, after paying the $90 we discovered at least 14 active ads on Craigslist posted in April were already rented. Remember that's how customers get in the door.
 
Then there is another issue raised by customers.
 
“They don’t take you to them like they say they're going to do” said Jandell Jones.
 
Just days from losing her home to foreclosure, Jones needed a place for her daughter and two young grandchildren.
 
She thought Rent Source was going to take her to see actual listings instead she got a print out with only one house.
 
It is easy to see why customers are confused.  Our producer recorded this sales pitch when he was undercover at the Gravois Rent Source office:
 
“That way we can get you set to the see the inside of them and well make sure we get you out to see some of those move-in specials so we can save you that money”
 
So News 4’s Chris Nagus went to find the owner of Rent Source, Kevin Sallaz.
 
Sallaz lives in Kansas City.
 
State records indicate he's a convicted felon, sentenced to prison for drug trafficking in 2001.
His office manager thinks that's unfair because he's served his time.
 
That Manager, Rox, declined an on-camera interview but in an email defended the company’s business model.
 
It stated Craigslist is an advertisement venue and that when Rent Source posts ads the properties are available. But our investigation shows many of them were not available when we called.
 
Rox also says some landlords don't charge application fees or credit checks and says some customers just weren't happy with the lists they were provided.
 
That was the case with the customers we talked to and even one customer who came in while our producer was recording undercover video in the office.
 
He screamed at the Rent Source office staff “I want my money back, I want my money back.”
 
That customer told News 4, landlords wanted a deposit, something he was told he wouldn't have to pay if he paid Rent Source.
 
All of our customers asked for refunds, so far none of them have received one.
The company gets an “F” from the Better Business Bureau and the BBB also has a warning out about the company.

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