Experience International Experience BG trading as Experience International Experience International Detroit investment property scam. Misrepresentation of goods and services. London, United Kingdom
Cowboys International would be a much more suitable name for investment brokers, called Experience International
(Companies House No 5301679). Their main experience seems to lie in ripping off clients and acting like they have nothing to do with investment nightmare they drag them into. Experience International
, with a capital value of 1, are sitting pretty in the heart of London, just off Trafalgar Square. You can find them on the 6th floor of 1 Northumberland Avenue office building.
The company is run by Steven Worboys. His background is in IT project management. Extensive online marketing campaigns are flashing Experience International Google Ads all over the internet. There is no escape from their Ads on YouTube, FaceBook, Google+ and LinkedIn. [continued below]....
Experience International Detroit property investment ad is promising a lot. http://www.detroit-property.co.uk/report.html Mind you, they are legally protected by disclaimers. Dont believe your eyes, whatever they publish.
As a prospective investor, I was offered a turn key hands free investment of a newly refurbished, pre-tenanted and fully-managed property in Detroit with a 20%+ annual rental yield. They e-mailed me Experience International Detroit brochure 2012 and stated that Experience International Detroit properties came under US government HUD section 8 programme. Direct e-mail from one of Experience International property consultants to me said:
Ed Scott to me. 16 February 2012.
I am very pleased to provide you with information on our highly-popular Detroit investment properties. Please find attached the brochure and details on our best available properties.
Detroit provides a unique hands free investment opportunity to generate gross annual yields of 25%, and net yields over 20%. We have a range of properties priced around $30,000 (20,000) with 50% guaranteed finance available to investors.
The rental income is backed by the US government and the property is fully and professionally managed creating a completely hands off investment.
Key reasons to invest: improving job market as manufacturing increases in Detroit; property 65% below 2007 prices; shortage of high quality rental property; high yields, exceptional potential for capital appreciation; properties are fully refurbished; 50% non-status guaranteed finance available to international investors.
The rents can be paid by the US Government direct to the owner not the tenant, using the government backed Section 8 scheme. The properties are located in carefully selected communities where there is high rental demand and the existing properties are of a very high standard.
After a number of visits to Experience International office I bought a house in Detroit. And guess what? A newly refurbished property with a one year rental guarantee, backed by the US government, turned out to be a one big lie.
There are five tenants living in my property, indeed. But they dont pay any rent and they reported
the house as a fire hazard and health and safety hazard. And you will find it hard to evict the tenants if you property in Detroit is unlivable.
Every step of the way, from sales to closing, Experience International conned and conned me. They charged initiation fee of 1,500 without giving me Detroit property address or any contact details for the Seller or the US managing company.
In 5 working days I had to pay them another $5,000 (paid in pounds) to reserve the actual property (otherwise I would be losing the first bit of payment). Head of USA property division Casey Harwood persuaded me that all the houses on offer had been checked out by the managing company in Detroit.
One week into the deal I found out about Lead Based Paint Hazard in Detroit and I wrote to Experience International about my research results with a request for money back. Their US managing company used by Experience International - Waterstreet Group, is not compliant with the Lead Based Paint Act. They did not even know what Lead Abatement was. But the only replies that I received from Experience International were that I did not know what I was talking about, they were experts and I was not and they had sold 30 properties over the past two weeks. They were far too busy mis-selling houses in Detroit and earning commissions to deal with the Lead Based paint issue.
They charged me $31, 800 for the house plus $875 to close the deal with the title company. At the time of closing I came to Experience International office to sign my Buyer Statement. They gave me a Borrower Statement instead. They nearly pushed me to sign the statement, saying that I was borrowing money from the Seller in order to buy my house. I noticed that the paperwork was wrong and refused to sign the Borrower Statement.
I insisted on a signed Rental Guarantee with the US managing company. Half a year into the deal I did not receive any rental payments from them - since 1 June. According to my Rental Guarantee, Waterstreet Group were to pay me the agreed amount of $875 per month no matter whether the property was rented out or not. I have a clause in my Purchase Agreement, confirming the same.
The house has been rented since day one of my ownership. There have been five tenants in it since March. But I have never received any rental income. Moreover, Waterstreet Group spreadsheet had my house as a vacant property.
The rental figure of $875per month is non-existent for a property likemine in Detroit, it is too high. Tenants are responsible for $750 a month. Having bought it as a HUD property, I expected HUD section 8 to pay the remainder.
HUD was mentioned in every other e-mail exchanged between myself and Experience International. All the way through summer I kept asking them about my missing rental payments. But not even once did they tell me that my property had nothing to do with HUD section 8. They carried on promising that I would get paid. They never mentioned to me any problems with my property either. They made it out that the rent would be collected soon.
In October I found out the real extent of maintenance issues with my house, including flooded basement, old and damaged bathroom and toilet areas, mold, missing tiles and bricks in the walls, damaged doors and windows - to mention just a few.
There is a serious problem with piping in the basement. The seller, Okan Akin, tried to mend the problem shortly after the Purchase Agreement was signed, but according to the tenants, it only made the leaks worse. The house is not equipped with fire alarms. Some electricity sockets are damaged or missing....
The seller obviously misled the tenants, promising them to do the full house maintenance once they moved in. They moved in March, a month before I became the owner. But the seller never replaced the bathroom or mended the toilet, never took care of the fire alarms or electricity sockets. Flooding obviously created a major issue with this house, leading to dampness and mold.
I kept approaching Experience International directly about the issues above, but they were keeping silent. I e-mailed them images of the damaged areas in the house that they sold to me as newly refurbished with no need for further investment. There was no reply.
Once the house was sold to me it proved impossible to make an appointment by telephone to visit their office. The owner of Experience International Steven Worboys kept sending me back to Casey Harwood, who sold me the house.
I reported the case to the Office of Fair Trading. From the point of view of Trading Standards, selling this property as newly refurbished with a guaranteed rental income involved misrepresentation of goods and services and a breach of Consumer Act.
I complained to AIPP (Association of International Property Professionals), that Experience International are a member of and to the Advertising Standards Authority, that deals with misleading advertising across all media.
I asked Casey Harwood about selling this house back. A definitive exit strategy was advertised as part of Experience International sales offer. Reply from Casey Harwood was: you need to evict the tenants, repair the house, sue the seller, sue the managing company, put new tenants in it. And then he will sell the house back as pre-tenanted and refurbished to their client database.
Didnt I pay for it already?
Experience International seem to have a rather peculiar idea of a hands free investment. And what happened to their promise of no need for further funding? They ripped me off already and they are still looking to take me for a further ride with all the above.
The case will be reported to all the numerous media outlets whos logos Experience International is using in their Google Ads and in brochures to add credibility to their storytelling international.
House price: $31,800
Deal closing: $875
Summer Tax: $2, 250
Total paid out by now: $34,850
Rental yields: $0.00.
I am being used as a charity to accommodate 5 tenants for free.
Forthcoming maintenance fees: if done properly can be anything up to $10,000.
Non-US residents also need to obtain their ITIN for tax-withholding purposes, which proved to be another nightmare. Be prepared to pay for your passport Apostille, correspondence with the IRS (US Internal Revenue Service) and count your losses.
Quite a costly experience, I must admit. Experience, that you dont want to have.