JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — An Action News Jax three-month investigation into a real estate company accused of tricking people into signing contracts is getting results. We first told you about MV Realty and its business practices in November 2022. Now, state and federal agencies are taking action and we demanded answers.
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The company offers quick cash to a homeowner for the promise of being their realtor if they ever sell their home. But homeowners like Sheila Feliciano say they had no idea it was a 40-year deal, and if violated, the company would put a lien on their home.
“It was a sweet, fast talk. You know? I want to be rid of the contract and rid of MV. Like a bad nightmare I want to wake up from,” Feliciano said.
Our investigation found at least 588 people in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia are locked into a 40-year contract with MV Realty. But its reach goes way beyond that. The company is based in Florida, but it operates in 33 states.
CLICK HERE to see our original investigation
REFUSED TO TALK TO US
MV Realty wasn’t happy when we showed up on their Delray Beach doorstep after months of refusing an in-person interview. We wanted answers for the multiple customer complaints against the company. But they wouldn’t even answer the door. The front door was locked with a keycard entry, and they had a camera doorbell. When we first knocked on the door, we saw five people peeking around the corner, but no one answered the door.
Instead, they called police rather than talk to us themselves.
It is not illegal for us to do our job. So, we stayed on the sidewalk waiting to speak with someone. Eventually a public relations person arrived and told us they would not comment due to pending litigation.
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STATE AND FEDERAL AGENCIES ACT
One week after our November national investigation aired, the Florida Attorney General filed suit against MV Realty and its owner, Amanda Zachman. Pennsylvania and Massachusetts filed theirs shortly after, and Georgia and North Carolina confirm they have open investigations.
Federal lawmakers called for action, as well. Senators from Ohio, Oregon and Minnesota sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission asking for an investigation into “whether these listing agreements and business practices violate federal consumer protection laws.”
In January, the FCC announced MV Realty used at least two telecommunications companies to “flood homeowners with robocalls with misleading claims about mortgages.” Those companies are Twilio and PhoneBurner. The FCC ordered all cell phone carriers to make sure robocalls from MV Realty don’t ring through to customers. In addition, MV Realty hasn’t signed a single new homeowner agreement in our state since our first story aired.
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STATEMENT FROM MV REALTY:
“MV Realty has helped more than 35,000 satisfied homeowners nationwide through our Homeowner Benefit Agreement (HBA) by providing up to $5,000 that can be used to pay for mortgages, utility bills or a child’s school supplies. We are proud that our teams in states are built with local, licensed real estate agents who have developed client relationships with households across 33 states.
“New and innovative business models, like the HBA, can transform established industries and can sometimes draw questions from critics or outright hostility from those whose existing business model is threatened. However, to suggest that MV Realty has engaged in unfair or deceptive practices is simply false.
“MV Realty is committed to working with policymakers, regulators, and attorneys general where needed to discuss these questions and demonstrate our commitment to transparency and oversight in the work to help homeowners buy and sell homes. We are confident that after a full airing of the facts, these discussions will reinforce how MV Realty’s business transactions are legal and ethical and that our team operates in full compliance with state and federal laws.”
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