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February 28, 2006

Unseen Power of the Picket Fence

Here are the names of two companies you should never, ever trust:

Cambridge Management Services
Atlantic American Realty Group

I wouldn't trust them to convert my DOGHOUSE (for my non-existent dog), forget converting an apartment into a condominium.

Why shouldn't you trust them? Because they a.) will lie to you, and b.) will try to take your money for outrageous, fraudulent charges, if they can.

Two weeks ago I posted about how Cambridge Management (who ran my old apartment community, GrandeVille at Cobbs Landing)(and yes, I'm naming everything in hopes that Google and other search engines manage to index these pages) informed me that they were withholding my $275 deposit for cleaning and repainting fees relating to the apartment I had just vacated.

The apartment that they were going to completely gut as soon as I left.

They were assessing me a $100 fee for a "full clean" and $175 in fees for repainting three rooms, despite the fact that the manager of the complex told me THREE TIMES that I didn't have to do either.

So last Friday I sent a certified letter to the manager formally stating that I was objecting to their withholding of my deposit, due to the fact that they said one thing (I didn't have to clean/repaint) and then tried to hold me financially responsible when I followed their stated guidelines. I asked for my deposit back, and if I didn't get it within 30 days I was going to file a complaint in small claims court.

I threw around various Florida Statute numbers. It was really quite fun. I'll take a photo of the letter later and post it.

Today I get a response back from the Cambridge Manager. It starts off with a whole lot of bitchitude, which I don't mind - I actually expected it. I mean, I was basically calling the company out for being dirty nasty two-faced liars who were trying to defraud me of $275. But at the end of the bitchitude, we have this:

"I am revising the charges against your deposit to $60.00. A refund check of $215.00 will be sent to you from Cambridge Management Services, Inc."


But I'm also TOTALLY PISSED OFF at these people, now.

I'll take photos of both the original assessment and the revision and post them later, but the revision breaks down the charges to $20 for repainting the two red walls in the dining area, and $40 for cleaning the appliances. As it happens, I completely agree with those charges. If they had initially tried to assess me $60 against my deposit, I wouldn't have objected to that at all.

But WHICH IS IT??? Does it cost $75 to repaint the two red walls, as the first assessment says, or does it cost the $20 they've decided - only after I called them on their bullshit - to assess me? Because it can't be both, and I find it reeeeeeeeeeeeally really hard to believe that they're UNDERCHARGING me now.

I mean, duh - they colossally overcharged me in the beginning. Why? Because they're dirty nasty two-faced liars who were trying to defraud me of $275.

I don't even want to know how much money these companies have been able to pocket simply because most people don't want to take the time to question it. It's a totally shady business practice, yet it's one that I'm sure goes on all the time, everywhere, and is probably just seen as what you do in order to save yourself some money (kind of like how some health insurance companies won't pay on the first claim because they're hoping you'll just pay the bill yourself rather than wrangling with them to pay it).

I mean, really - Cambridge Management Services' initial assessment against my deposit was the exact same amount as my deposit. Don't tell me that was a coincidence. I'll bet they got my objection letter and thought, "Damn, I guess we'll have to actually give some money back to this one."

Anyway, I'm happy to be getting $215 back, and I think the assessment of $60 for damage beyond reasonable wear and tear was fair. But the fact that these companies tried to take me for a ride, financially, was something I just didn't want to let go. I'm not saying $215 is insignificant, 'cause it's not (my credit card will be even happier this month). It might be a cliché, but this really was more about the principle of the issue, not the money.

I think I need to do this sort of thing for a living. I do "indignant, and knows their rights" really, really well.

Posted by Highwaygirl on February 28, 2006 05:56 PM to the category Day In the Life

Winner! Yay!

Posted by: DonnaGryn at March 2, 2006 04:20 PM
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