By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
I’m posting this report because I have heard similar stories from homeowners all over the country, many of them involving the same management company, First Service Residential (FSR).
According to homeowner Kristi Bray, Breckenridge Town Homes HOA (located in Gilbert, AZ) apparently changed management companies without notifying her. The new management company is FSR.
But, unaware of the change, Bray continued to send her assessment checks to the old management company. The former management company even cashed one of the checks in error, and forwarded additional checks to FSR.
After investigating what happened to those checks, Bray says she discovered that by the time FSR received the money and posted the payments, they were considered late. So FSR added hundreds of dollars in late fees and attorney fees.
If you watch the video closely, you’ll notice that Bray apparently has proof of each on-time $139 monthly payment she made from her bank, but FSR charged $13.90 per month late fees, plus additional fees for sending two late notices and a notice of lien.
The homeowner claims she did not learn there was a problem with her account until she received a letter from an attorney at Maxwell & Morgan P.C. on March 31, 2016.
Investigative reporter Gary Harper was able to help convince FSR to write off $500 in attorney fees, but not all of the management and late fees.
I get the impression this may not be the end of the HOA story for Kristi Bray.
HOA mishap fines Gilbert woman nearly 2K (Video)
Gary Harper investigation (Arizona, 3 ON YOUR SIDE) –
Kristi Bray says she still can’t get over the death of her son.
“I lost my son 2 years ago. He was my only child. He was 29,” she said.
But through all that grief and emotion Kristi says she’s always stayed on top of her bills. So, she was puzzled when she received a letter from a law firm accusing Kristi of being late paying her HOA monthly dues. As a result, she says she’s being penalized financially.
“They said I owe $1,500 worth of late payments, lawyers’ fees and late payments since October 2015.”
Kick in nearly $400 in additional attorney fees and Kristi says she’s now being forced to pay $1,900.
“I’m totally innocent in this matter.”
If you do a little research on FSR, there are a surprising number of complaints, many of them with regard to billing and collections, as well as service. So Kristi Bray’s story is made even more credible, when you see it repeated over and over again.
The most reliable business reviews tend to come from BBB:
But here are some others, and you’ll see the same complaints repeated.
And on Glassdoor.com, employee and former employee reviews indicate FSR offers low pay and has high turnover of staff.
Is it possible that staff dissatisfaction and turnover is creating problems such as sloppy or delayed bookkeeping, or failure to notify all of its clients of a change in management companies, payment procedures, or a notice of a missed payment?
Obviously, if a homeowners were notified in a timely manner, many of these alleged late payments – and the resulting management and attorney fees – could have been avoided.