Great article from inman news:
The idea here is based around the concept of wanting a referral fee for doing next to nothing. The article hits on Real Estate leads but it can be true in other areas. Mortgage leads can be a good example. Let’s say someone is surfing the web and clicks on a banner ad for a generic loan application. This app gets sold to countless loan officers. These loan officers in turn attempt to contact the individual that clicked on the banner ad. The company that placed the banner ad does absolutely nothing.
In the Flat Fee Business, you will find these same banner and paid ads throughout various search engines and websites. (such as Zillow) The majority of these ads are placed by generic national companies that do not hold a valid real estate license in your state. Instead, they put up a website with all sorts of promises…. they collect the money from the online viewer, and then they blindly fwd the lead to a local broker hoping that broker will provide the services the generic national company promised. The consumer is put in a tough spot. They paid company “A” and they were promised certain services by Company “A”. However, that national company has no real involvement at all in the listing. Even worse, because they don’t have a license, there is no one to hold Company “A” accountable for misleading advertising.
How do Flat Fee consumers protect themselves? Do not give your money/credit card to someone that you can’t speak with directly. If they don’t have a license in your state, do not list with them. This simple rule can save Flat Fee consumers from endless future problems.
Andrew, Give me a specific example!!!: Sandpoint, Idaho has their own MLS just for the city of Sandpoint. A few days ago, I received a lead from a generic national company in Sandpoint. Previously, we have notified this national company that we do not cover Sandpoint. (I don’t know of anyone who does) Upon receiving the lead, I immediately replied telling the national company again that we do not cover Sandpoint. (and that I didn’t know of anyone that did). Fast Fwd to 9 days later… the consumer that paid this national company calls me to complain that the company he signed up with and paid hasn’t delivered on any of the promises they provided. Furthermore, they haven’t returned his phone calls or refunded his money. Instead, when he complained, they provided my # as the person to contact for his Sandpoint MLS listing.
How could this consumer avoided this frustration? Don’t sign up through generic national companies.