COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A local property management firm is under fire after 15 complaints of missed rental payments.
The Better Business Bureau launched an investigation into Encore Properties after receiving the complaints. After closing all 13 cases in the last 12 months, the bureau sent out a press release to warn consumers of the scam.
KRDO NewsChannel 13 talked to several of the property owners who hired Encore to manage their properties. The pattern showed tenants were writing checks to the property manager, but those checks never made it to the property owners.
One case in particular was Brad Bisbee who hired Holly Dalton from Encore Properties to manage his downtown rental property. A year later, Bisbee stopped getting rent checks that were owed to him.
"It was more than difficult, it required me going to her office multiple days in a row until she finally wrote me a check," Bisbee said.
After three months of aggressively pursuing Dalton, Bisbee finally got the money owed to him.
"She did make a deposit into my account in a very odd way, different than what she did in the past. For an amount of money that didn't make sense," he said.
Where did all of the money go?
I tracked down Dalton to find out why all of this money disappeared. Dalton admitted to taking responsibility.
"I was not paying attention enough, you know, to the property management side of it," she said.
Dalton said the BBB didn't give her a fair chance when they launched their investigation.
"One of the very first complaints, however, when they reached out to me and I reached out to them. I felt like they were uninterested and unwilling to hear my side, at that point I felt helpless," she said.
The BBB responded by saying: "We gave Holly numerous attempts to meet with us and to talk it through. We offered to go and meet her in person, for her to come here. If she would of tried to reach out to us, we could of worked something out."
Dalton said she had a A+ rating with the BBB before these complaints started, but the BBB confirmed her previous status was a B-.
Even reviews on Yellow Pages showed a similar pattern, one example said: "my property was damaged and my rent checks bounced."
Dalton said she didn't use any of the money for personal use and hopes to pay back her clients within the next couple of weeks.
Reporting fraud to the BBB
The BBB warns consumers to check references, reviews as a point of reference before getting involved with property management companies.
If you notice a scam or any fraudulent activity, report it directly to the BBB's investigative team.