The Illinois attorney general’s office has filed suit against a Chicago-based rental property listing service for allegedly “charging consumers a membership fee for access to a property database populated largely with fraudulent or outdated rental listings.”
The service charges the fee for access to information that is readily available (often for free) from reputable sources, says AG Lisa Madigan.
“This company takes advantage of people who are looking for a place to live,” Attorney General Madigan said. “Apartment hunters need to be wary of services that ask for fees in exchange for information that may be readily available at other online sites and in local publications.”
Here’s how the operation works:
You see an ad for an apartment in a local paper. You call the number listed in the ad, but instead of the property owner, you reach this apartment rental service. Once they get you on the phone, the AG’s office says they convince you to come down to their offices where you are persuaded to pay a membership fee for access to their database.
The AG’s office says the database is full of fraudulent and outdated listings, despite the company’s guarantee that the listings are updated every week.
MADIGAN SUES CHICAGO RENTAL LISTING SERVICE FOR FRAUDULENT PRACTICES [Illinois AG]