In 2012, the above mentioned businesses, Experience International, USA/Detroit Advantage and New Orbit Funding were engaged in an alliance for the sale, marketing and property management of property in the Detroit area. They advertised property on their respective web sites. They shared staff, management and ownership and used email addresses across the companies. I purchased a property in Detroit through the web site of Experience International, which is run by Steve Worboys. Experience International took their cut in the form of something they termed an “Enabling Fee”, which amounted to GBP1500.00 His partners in this transaction are mentioned above. The sales person I was dealing with, offered me all sorts of assurances prior to the sale. I particularly concerned with the management of the property as I was an overseas investor. I was quite upfront in stating that there was an ocean between me and Detroit and therefore I would need to be assured that there would not be any issues in relation to the management of the property. I was given these assurances and told that Experience International and Detroit Advantage were companies that could be relied upon, and should any difficulties arise, that they would be there for me. Detroit Advantage, which was advertising the same properties in conjunction with New Orbit Funding (to which they shared ownership and management) and Experience International with whom they shared staff, was the management company for the property I purchased. It has to be noted that the sales person that I was dealing with was using an email address for both Experience International and Detroit Advantage, and the manager of the property Denise Lambert was using an email address for both Detroit Advantage and New Orbit Funding. This establishes the link between all companies and Denise Lambert was still using the email address for New Orbit Funding during the time of the management of the property in question. The first thing that happened was that the property that I had initially picked out had a problem with the title. This was after I had paid the Enabling Fee to Experience International. I was then offered a different property by Lauren Warlow (who was working for and using email addresses for both Experience International and Detroit Advantage/USA Advantage). I should have realized that this was going to be a disaster there and then, but the assurances offered to me by Lauren Warlow and subsequently by Denise Lambert that they would be there for me, helped alleviate those fears. Within two weeks of closing, I received a fine notice from the City of Detroit for Blight, in the amount of 5,000 dollars. Detroit Advantage paid a smaller fine to settle the issue, but there and then I realized that there was a major problem with the tenants that they had placed there. Then in early 2013, I received a notice to advise that the rent collector was shot and killed while collecting rent. I was absolutely shocked that cash rent was being collected in 2013. Given that the area had been advertised as being “Popular with Business People”, I had been of the opinion that the tenants would be dealing in cheques, bank transfer or direct debit. The advertisement was a deliberate attempt to alleviate concerns with regard to purchasing property in the Detroit area and was part of a series of advertisements that were at the very least misleading and at the worst, false, and deceptive. Other examples of this false and misleading advertisement was the put up Reasons to Invest in Detroit on their respective web sites and also to send out emails advising that property values in Detroit were rising, when in fact they were falling. My rent stopped coming in early summer 2013. I kept being told that it was sent by Denise Lambert, but it never reached me. I had to complain bitterly to Steven Worboys. He didn’t want to deal with the issue, stating that it was nothing to do with him. He tried to get rid of me by saying that he was just a marketing company. This is despite him taking a fee and advertising the property in his web site as “Our Listings” and having a representative using his company’s email address as well as Detroit Advantage. Eventually after hounding him to resolve the issue, I started receiving the rent again. This was only a few months into the purchase it must be stated. I was really worried now; as Experience International and Steven Worboys were doing everything he possibly could to distance himself from Detroit/USA Advantage and New Orbit Funding. Denise Lambert during this time made an attempt to offload the property to another property management company. Apparently, complaining about what has happened to your rent was reason enough for her and Detroit Advantage/New Orbit Funding to make an attempt to rid themselves of their responsibilities as far as the promises made at the time of the original sale from a representative that worked for them. They were also trying to absolve themselves of responsibility with regard to the management of the property which they knew was in trouble. They were the ones that placed the tenants remember, not me and I was assured that there would not be any issues with regard to the management of the property. I managed to insist that they remain property managers, as I did not want to allow them to sever the link. It was extremely important to me that they not be allowed to make it appear that they had nothing to do with the sale of the property or the assurances that were offered to me at the time of the sale. If they made a commitment to me, I expected it to be honoured, and yet here everyone was doing their very best to disassociate themselves from the sale and the management commitments that were part of the sale transaction. A few months passed and October 2013 was the last month of rent that I received. I spent two months chasing Steven Worboys of Experience International, who now dug in and tried to state that he had no responsibility. The property was advertised on his web site as their listings. It was talked up as being in an area popular with business people. It was stated that there were great reasons to Invest in Detroit, and I was given specific assurances that I would not encounter any problems by the sales representative, that was working for both him and Detroit Advantage. Steven Worboys also conveniently forgot that he took a fee for the sale of the property, so it most certainly has something to do with him. I paid for service and his company took the fee, so therefore it had something to do with him, whether he liked it or not. In the mean time I had been chasing Casey Harwood and Denise Lambert, to find out what had happened to the rent, and getting nowhere. They could not give me any answers as to where it was, except to state that it had not come in yet. This was a company remember that was taking a fee every month for its services as manager of the property. It was their responsibility to manage the property and they had an extra responsibility given that they knew that I was an overseas client and was totally reliant on them as managers of the property. This and being told that there would not be any issues in association to the management of the property ensured that the onus was on them to vet the tenants for credit worthiness and to do a background check to ensure that they were good tenants in previous rentals. They did not do any of this and they knew it. Casey Harwood asked if I had considered selling the property. I wanted out, but when he told me that properties in that area were going for between 15Kand 18K, I was alarmed. This company had been saying for a year that property values had increased. This was advertised on their web site and in their weekly emails. I had paid 23K plus the GBP1,500 Enabling Fee to Steven Worboys of Experience International. Then Casey Harwood disappeared. He stopped answering emails and declined to answer my question as to how I had paid 23K, but he was now telling me that properties in that area were only worth between 15k and 18k. He was the seller along with New Orbit Funding and Experience International originally, and so had profited enormously from the sale. They all made out big time and were now telling me to take a massive hit. It amuses me that in his defences here, Casey Harwood goes on about customer service and trying to resolve problems and answering queries within 24 hours. I sent him several emails last November and December that he failed to respond to. I kept chasing Steven Worboys also, who continued to try and get out of his responsibilities as the advertiser of this property. He at one point in mid-December 2013 said that he would refund me the Enabling Fee that his company took. He never did it. I’m still waiting. It was just another lie among the many that I have received from all these companies. In January, I continued to chase Denise Lambert and Casey Harwood. Eventually I was told that the property had been abandoned and that snow had gotten into it and left it damaged in the thousands of dollars. No wonder Casey Harwood didn’t want to respond to me. Now the property was worth even less than what he had stated. This was all on their watch. It took them months to find out and tell me that the property had been abandoned and left opened to the elements. Finally, towards the end of January 2014, I received an email from Denise Lambert to state that I was to be refunded by New Orbit Funding. True to form, I’m still waiting on it at the time of writing in July 2014. There was a lawyer engaged who was supposed to transact this refund. He confirmed that it was to take place, but he has not communicated with me since early May 2014, when he asked for a few extra days to report progress. I have been asking for the refund for months that I have in writing from these people. It does not state partial refund or state that I would have to wait forever for it to happen. They are at their old trick again, in trying to distance themselves from the offer of the refund. Denise Lambert is attempting to state that there is no association between Detroit Advantage and New Orbit Funding. She was using in 2013 during the period when she was acting as manager of the property, an email address with the handle of New Orbit Funding and Detroit Advantage. They shared ownership at the time of the sale in 2012 and staff and management at both the time of the sale and during the time that Detroit Advantage were managing the property and taking fees for this service. It speaks volumes that Detroit Advantage is trying to back track on the email sent in January which clearly stated that I was to be refunded. They negotiated it with New Orbit Funding of which I have a clearly established link. They were confident enough to put it in writing to me, and yet now that I have still not received it, are trying all they can to get out of their commitments and responsibilities. They carry on as if they were not responsible for the gross incompetence they engaged in as managers of the property. They try to distance themselves from the original sale and commitments made to me prior to the sale, when assurances were offered to me by Lauren Warlow who was acting on their behalf as well as of Experience International. They also forget that Denise Lambert was working for and using email addresses for both Detroit Advantage and New Orbit Funding during the time that she was acting as manager of the property. I have waiting for months and months for the promised refund. I asked Denise Lambert who she was dealing with in New Orbit Funding and who it was that agreed to and authorized the refund. I requested the written documentation with regard to same. She failed to provide it and stated that the refund was agreed verbally over the telephone. When I pushed the issue, and asked her to provide me the names of the people in New Orbit Funding and Detroit Advantage that had agreed the refund, she again declined to provide me with the information and stated that as it was months ago that she had “Forgotten”. Amazing chicanery and deceit. Downright lies, it has to be stated. She told me that I was getting a refund in January and months of me chasing up; she then tells me that she had forgotten who had agreed and authorized it. Casey Harwood has posted notices here that his company is committed to customer satisfaction. I am not satisfied. He wants me to accept total financial disaster, while his company made out along with Experience International and New Orbit Funding, with regard to the original sale and subsequent management fees. His company and staff were grossly negligent with regard to the management of the property. They allowed the worst tenants to occupy the property and then took months to realize that it had been abandoned. When finally I was told that I was to be refunded in an email from Denise Lambert back in January I thought the nightmare of getting involved in this Rip Off was finally coming to a close. No such luck. It is now almost mid July, and not only have I not received the promised refund, but Denise Lambert, Casey Harwood, Detroit/USA Advantage, New Orbit Funding are back to doing what they are best at – Avoidance of Promises made, Avoidance of Commitments Made and complete Avoidance of their Responsibility. These people do not do what they say they will do. A lawyer supposedly acting on their behalf confirmed to me that I was to be refunded. He did so in an email but now he has disappeared. Why are all these businesses still in the CAP Program, if they continue to violate it? They are supposed to respond to queries and carry out promises made. Yet, clearly in this circumstance they have utterly failed to do so and have in fact done the opposite. They should lose their certification immediately as they have totally failed to live up to what is called for. I should would have my money back by now that I was told I was getting last January. Instead I’m still here filing reports against them and wishing that I had never heard of them – USA/Detroit Advantage, Experience International and New Orbit Funding. These companies should be kicked out of the CAP Program immediately for total failure with regard to customer service and promises and commitments that they did not adhere to.
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