Attorney General’s Office shutters rental-referral business
September 2, 2012 · 5:25 PM
In an agreement with the Washington State Attorney General’s Office, the owner of a rental property referral service has agreed to stop accepting fees from apartment-seekers and provide refunds to his customers.
In King County Superior Court, the Washington State Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Division today filed a consent decree with Chad Hurn, the owner of Northwest RentPad, LLC – also known Rentpad NW.
“Hurn told consumers that he would provide lists of rental properties that specifically matched their needs and use his supposed expertise to find rental properties for people with eviction or criminal histories,” said Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Steele. “Instead, he gave consumers lists of properties that were unavailable, uninhabitable, or unsuitable.”
Steele added that Hurn charged consumers $350 for his services and stated that the fee was refundable. But customers complained that Rentpad NW, which has an “F” rating from the Better Business Bureau, often refused refund requests.
“[T]hey told me if at anytime I was not happy with services, I would be able to get a refund,” one consumer wrote in a complaint to the Attorney General’s Office. “I was given a list of addresses. [M]ost did not even exist. I called several times and could never get through. When I went to see them face to face to get a refund, there was no one at their office!”
“I had to once again call about 30 times to get through to someone, when I finally got through, I was told that Abraham was to be calling me as soon as I hung up the phone,” another consumer, who was eventually refused a refund, wrote in a complaint. “I have wasted $350 of my hard earned financial aid money… I am a single parent.”
In signing the consent decree, Hurn is prohibited from directly or indirectly charging or accepting fees consumers for any service relating to providing rental housing. Hurn will also pay $1,000 in attorney fees to the Attorney General’s Office.