Extorted by estate agent! Is this normal?

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#16 Feb 22nd, 2006, 06:15
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#16
in bombay; i am told its two months rental for the commission paid to the broker..and this from the tenant (not the landlord)....it doesnt matter how long the rental is for....

yeah you didnt have papers but quite a few places, it is a gentlemen's agreement... lot of times, these 'agents' dont differentiate between a market newbie and a seasoned renter...

i would get your indian friend involved and negiotiate a fair amount (if not the full amount) with these chaps...yeah!..its lot of money but if he rent is that much.....well!..she got these guys for you and she could help you to settle this to the end if she is good friend. she made assumptions, these chaps made assumptions and you didnt make sure....so as GC in the previous post...its 50-50 fault on you and the agents...

i dont like surprises like this when i do business...and you have a point that nothing is on paper...but this how the local market practices are...for right or wrong.....
#17 Feb 22nd, 2006, 06:49
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#17
I am really surprised by the responses to Malc's post.
He is right and I support him, He should try and get some authority involved, even a socially respected person, so that danger does not come to him.

I don't think you guys are reading carefully. I think he is saying that the culprits did not demand the extra money at the time of the transaction - they came back some time later.

Also, they were paid their month by the landlord

Further, their terms was not stated beforehand

And, I am sorry, this is not done commonly outside India, either the landlond pays or the tennat, usually not both without a prior agreement.

Unfortunately, a lot of folks don't want to deal with this type of behavior in India. You go to buy something, you pay the driver to take you there, he takes you to the most expensive place and then gets a kick back. Forget law, what about ethics and integrity.
#18 Feb 22nd, 2006, 07:01
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#18
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I'm disputing the fact that I have nothing in writing explaining this to me or that I have agreed to.
Malkers, you are absolutely reasonable in expecting a disclosure before you struck a deal with this guy.

But, do keep in mind that real estate transaction brokers (at least here in the US) are regulated. And it is the regulation that requires that they provide the appropriate disclosures. There are no regulations in India along these lines. Customary practices and the laws of supply & demand prevail. Finding a property in Bangalore is quite difficult these days and brokers are used to double dipping.

Obviously, the broker is pissed off, since he feels that he has been ripped off. The legal system in India does not work. So don't expect him to file case. Do you really want to take the risk of something unfortuunate happenning to you or your property (he does know where you live) in a foreign country?

Everything is negotiable in India. My suggestion, is to explain your case to him. Tell him that he should have mentioned his fees earlier and that you had other brokers willing to find a place for you for less -- Rs X (insert whatever you think is reasonable here) And, that you went through him because you thought he was not going to charge you. Use that to negotiate.

Keep in mind that the IM'ers who advise you to stick with your principles, will not be around to help you if something unfortunate was to happen to you.

Brokers and such in India are usually ruffians and I would strongly advise against thinking that you can sleep well at night with just the law on your side.

If you don't trust us, stop by the local police station and see what they advise. Most Indians will advise that you pay up.
Last edited by crvlvr; Feb 22nd, 2006 at 08:33..
#19 Feb 22nd, 2006, 07:09
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#19
i think a lot of it is understanding local customs and practices and economics behind such stuff......while there were errors and assumptions made and let me very clear; i am not supporting the tactics of such 'agents'...its not the most professional setup in quite a few places...

lot of times; they dont talk about this during the transaction..this is how it is in local practices in some cases..it is bad and it needs to be changed but you need to understand that whats has been going on for some time...yes i find it frustrating and i myself have to be careful of being sent to the cleaners in so many of my dealings...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guyanamr I am really surprised by the responses to Malc's post.

And, I am sorry, this is not done commonly outside India, either the landlond pays or the tennat, usually not both without a prior agreement.

Unfortunately, a lot of folks don't want to deal with this type of behavior in India. You go to buy something, you pay the driver to take you there, he takes you to the most expensive place and then gets a kick back. Forget law, what about ethics and integrity.

you can sit and question local idiosyncrancies and eccentricites but every country is different...yes there is question of ethics and integrity but so this out of india too........what about enron or union carbide..>...and that was an american company......yeah yeah out of topic and unrelevant to this discussion....

i would suggest getting a third party if your friend who refer these folks cant help...

look i am not making excuses for these guys actions but you have to understand that the infrastructure for these is not like you would see in 'some' parts of the western world...

..they know that tenants can twist the system and squat there..all you need to do is pay a bribe and get a electricity bill in your name...and you can probably own that flat....seriously you got to be on your guard!...look at the rent control act in bombay..some guys pay 10Rs monthly rent for a flat in downtown bombay because their grandpa lived there in 1960's and they froze the rents during those times...cant even raise it..so son, grandsons and everyone since has been living there for 10Rs a month even now...

renting out is not something indians do regularly..this is something maybe ten years old if i have to stretch it...it will get professional with time and these seedy chaps will thrown out...but in the meantime..there will be plenty of victims unfortunately..
#20 Feb 22nd, 2006, 07:12
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#20
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Originally Posted by Malkers I really want somebody here either Indian or not to turn round and say, "Yes this is ridiculous, of course it should be in writing and of course there should be a contract agreed with them". Perhaps I'm naive in thinking that, asking too much perhaps!

Cheers
Malc
You should feel good - you have a high level of self-awareness!

No Indian is going to say that in deals like this "everything should be in writing and there should be a contract".

16500 INR equates to about 220 GBP, right?

In UK, you would have been charged 5 times that by an estate agent as administration fee for the contract that you would have signed agreeing their fees!
#21 Feb 22nd, 2006, 07:17
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#21
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Originally Posted by crvlvr If you don't trust us, stop by the local police station and see what they advise. Most Indians will advise that you pay up.
IMHO, this is THE BEST piece of practical advise you have received on this entire thread.
#22 Feb 22nd, 2006, 11:42
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#22
I agree you should have been told, but i'm sorry to say that it is standard here.
They even do it in Holland, but you do get told up front about it.

Hope you get it sorted peacefully.
#23 Feb 22nd, 2006, 12:24
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#23
So many of us are talking about what is normal practice and what is legal outside India..

For what it is worth, which is precisely Zilch, terms of a contract can be inferred according to normal commercial practice in UK law. Not knowing about it doesn't mean it doesn't apply to you.

I know of an instance here in which the tenancy agreement did not go through. The agent claimed that it was not his fault and refused to repay the commision to the prospective tennant. It was only by a chance coincidence of public holidays and a bank systems failure that the person managed to get the 10 months advance back by stopping the cheque. The total loss could have been around Rs50,000! The person involved earns less that 10,000 a month.

Money is the lifeblood of India. Nobody does stuff for free (except your best friends and family. Maybe). If your auto driver had taken you to the flat he would have expected something. It is the way it goes on.

It is a shock to know that someof these smiling faces are calculating what they may earn from that smile. But it is true, and sometimes even people "close to you" will have an eye to the possible financial implications of the relationship. Welcome to India! There are some illusions to be shattered!

I once asked why, after dropping money on the floor, a Hindu will pray over it. I was told that money is like God.

I said that, surely, many of the worlds problems were caused by the worship of money. He replied* that without money we can do nothing, we cannot even eat.......

Hey Ho! Funny world; funny country.

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#24 Feb 22nd, 2006, 12:38
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#24
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Originally Posted by Malkers I'm not disputing the fact of whether 1 months rent being charged is a shoddy practice or not, I'm disputing the fact that I have nothing in writing explaining this to me or that I have agreed to. Come on, its common bloody sense that if you intend to get money out of someone for whatever reason especially four weeks after the deal then you have to have it in writing!
but, you are in india, where, in my experience, written contracts are often unheard of.

the doctor that i was working with found the flat that i was living in, but there were never any legal documents for me to sign on any of it. there was only one consideration - the money. it's been awhile, but it seems that there was some issue over more money, or something to that effect. it can all get pretty sticky. i admire your sense of principles and justice, but in a foreign country, that may land you in a spot you don't want to be in.
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#25 Feb 22nd, 2006, 13:32
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#25

Thank you Malkers.

The information you've posted here has probably saved some here a lot of grief. I know it doesn't help you much now, but if it was me I'd pay the mongrels (after negotiating the fee downwards) & get on with my life! Hope it all works out for you!
#26 Feb 22nd, 2006, 15:37
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#26
Well having had a good nights sleep and time to think it over a little more, I'm a bit more rational today, still bloody angry but more rational and realistic.

My friend unfortunately has just had news of her Grandmother passing away in London so is flying out today and won't be back for a week.

I do value my life and limbs so my stubbornness won't play a major factor in this whole situation but at the same time I won't just hand over 16.5k to get rid of them at my door, I do business here so I know how negotiable everything is and am quite sure there will be a happy medium to be had!

I do think its a lot of money even for a westerner and no I'm not a rich westerner and I don't agree with anything like this that hasn't been discussed or agreed on paper no matter how normal this practice might seem to some! If they'd have come to the door and told me their fees were 3 months rental, what can you do if there is nothing on paper?

Anyway, this has been a healthy debate and discussion with some very interesting views but I won't post any more on this thread until something happens!

Cheers
Malc
#27 Feb 22nd, 2006, 16:14
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#27
A lesson here is to never leave anything undefined in a contract. In India, it is particularly indicated to define that there will be no additional fees than those in the contract.
This applies even in non contractual transactions. You have to always make crystal clear that the price agreed will be all that there is, and that there will be no additioanl costs or fees later - for the guy you deal with AND for anybody else he might deal with in the process. And if there is something additional , it must be also clearly explicited.
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#28 Feb 22nd, 2006, 16:20
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#28
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Originally Posted by Nick-H It is a shock to know that some of these smiling faces are calculating what they may earn from that smile. But it is true, and sometimes even people "close to you" will have an eye to the possible financial implications of the relationship. Welcome to India! There are some illusions to be shattered!
You've hit the nail on the head, there are some illusions that do indeed need shattering, if only to ensure that one isn't taken for a ride. But that doesn't mean you can't have a good time in India, on the contrary.

In this case it might be correct to state that "in defeat lies victory."

Stay safe.
#29 Feb 22nd, 2006, 16:36
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#29
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Originally Posted by Malkers ............................I don't agree with anything like this that hasn't been discussed or agreed on paper no matter how normal this practice might seem to some! ........................
You DID NOT ask them when you started using their service what the terms of engagement were, did you?

Then, by principles of natural justice (one of which is "ignorance of law is not an excuse"), by using their services you have implicitly confirmed that you are aware of the terms of engagement and most importantly, have accepted them.

I am surprised that you are being so technicalabout "agreed on paper" - as per UK contract law, verbal agreements (or actions that give the other party reasonable impression of agreement) are equally binding.

Imagine a situation. Someone walks into an Indian Sweet Store and is welcomed by the staff to come in and eat. This store (you will find many of these) do not display a menu nor do they display the prices for the savouries.

What do you do? You ask, how much they cost. If, instead of doing that, you eat a few of them and then claim that you had not agreed on a price or that you did not have a "written contract", whose side do you think the law will take?

I know that Rs 16,500 is more serious than a few pastries, but the underlying principle remains the same. By using any good/service, you implicitly convey agrrement to the terms and conditions of use and the price.
#30 Feb 22nd, 2006, 17:39
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#30
No I certainly didn't ask them what their terms of agreement was at the beginning nor did I have any idea there was any such agreement between us. As far as I was concerned and still am, this was one scruffy fool that we followed round on a moped for 3 hours that was trying to get a tenant for a landlord so he could earn a few bucks.

If this guy is a business man with half a brain which he clearly isn't then he would and should have made this absolutely clear from the outset, I mean I'm white for goodness sakes, not even white with a little tanned skin, pale as ya like so pretty obvious that there's a damn good chance I ain't from round these parts so he should explain the situation clearly so that I understand.

Please stop excusing this guy's ignorance!

Your sweet shop argument is completely irrelavant as supplying me a packet of sweets is obviously a service I am aware of, I am not aware of this guy giving me a service and certainly not with that much value!

I'm not new to this place nor naive and have made it my duty to find out how everything ticks here whether wrong or right, even written a damn book about it which I will obviously be updating now!

And, it seems that this is not always the practice here, have spoken to some English friends who weren't asked to pay anything, two Indians who never had to pay anything and one of these had never heard of such a deal. So therefore it is not the NORM as some of you appear to think so if something is not the NORM then all the more reason why this fool should have made this clear from the first phone call made with him!

On a lighter note, just ventured out of my apartment for the first time since yesterday's incident and I don't think I have ever been so aware of my surroundings ;-)
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