Hard Sales: Just say NO

Real Estate Agent with TopBroker Network Real Estate

It is not usually like me to rant and carry on about most things. I'm the kind of person who tends to take things in stride. Well, apparently not all things. Thank you in advance for letting me rant...

When I got a phone call from a representative at Z57, a real estate website company over a week ago, the idea of an all inclusive website sounded good. After my somewhat feeble attempt of building my own website using iWeb several months ago, I think it's an okay website and am still working on it. Yet I'm open to new ideas and made an appointment to further discuss Z57's products and services.  It's no surprise that companies such as Z57 look for websites such as mine, call the user, and go for the kill. They are all about the HARD SELL.

(I know what you're thinking: Carin, websites are all about SEO. You gotta be high on that Google juice! Without it, you can pretty much kiss your real estate longevity into oblivion without a strong web presence. I get it. I really do and don't necessarily disagree. Social Media as a whole has made its way and I'm recently my persona of online presence has taken off with a vengeance.  I'm learning tons, embracing it every day. Therefore, I'm not completely asleep at the Web 2.0 wheel).

That said, back to Z57. After our initial call, I agreed to make a phone appointment with the same rep the following week. Three days ago, she called at 2:18 PM. MacBook ready to go, she walked me through the site, what it might look like, discussed ROI stats, all the while, reassuring me this would absolutely benefit my business, even bring me several leads. 

So far, so good. Thing is, towards the end of the phone call, I really didn't want their product. I paused before giving her my digits, telling her I'd really like a few days to think about this, talk to my husband, etc., still feeling uneasy. (Just hang up Carin. You can do it!) "You NEED this", she repeated several times. "Your husband wants you to be successful, right? He'll be glad you're getting such a great deal that will benefit your business!" (or something to that effect) By then, I'm completely exhausted by the entire experience and acquiesced. I told the rep I was running late and needed to pick up Steve, the husband, at the airport, at which point, said we were almost finished and quickly went over the terms and conditions. I briefly note #5 "Once the site is created and uploaded to the Internet (even on a temporary domain or with partial or default content) OR 10 business days have elapsed, no refunds will be given." Okay, I think, I still have a bit of time to cancel my new account. At 3:35, after a 1 hour and 17 minute phone conversation, I'm off to the airport. On my way, I get another call from another Z57 employee wanting more info. Since I'm driving, I ask if I can e-mail the info. She says no problem. Oh, but it is a problem...

Most nights I'm not usually up at 2:43 AM, which is when an e-mail from Z57 entered my inbox, telling me "It was a pleasure speaking with you earlier about your website. Your site has been built and can be previewed by clicking here or going to http://www.carinzimmer.com."I call Z57 early the next morning to tell them I'd like to cancel my account. Dude says fine but that I'd be receiving a phone call within one business day to "start the process of canceling my account." Process? What process? I just wanna cancel my order!

Sure enough, the next day I received "the call." Briefly and politely I listen to his spiel then get right to it: I DON'T WANT THIS WEBSITE. Well, Remember #5 from those terms and conditions? Yeah, well, because somewhere between 3:35PM, Nov. 4th and 2:43PM, Nov. 5th, my website was already BUILT, I'm ineligible for a refund! Kicker is, my "temporary" website happens to be the exact same template their rep had used, less than 12 hours earlier in her presentation. (The rep never got my godaddy account number because I was driving and couldn't look it up).

I hung up, angry and frustrated.  He called back moments later asking if I wanted to cancel my account.  Cancel my account? I thought they didn't "cancel" accounts. Canceling accounts means they'd have to refund your $$$. This question contradicted what he had said to me earlier in our first conversation.

At this point, I don't even care about the damn website or what Z57 can do to make me happy. Bottom line, they already know what will make me happy and they're not willing to do that.

I'm pissed at myself, of course. I blew it. I made a mistake. It happens. I'm a big girl and take full responsibility for my own decision.  Worse though, I'm resentful Z57 took my $433 and refuse to credit it back to my account again, less than 12 hours between a phone call and "building a website." Several people here on AR have blasted the company. Unfortunately I didn't read those until I agreed to their terms. On the flip side other people are quite satisfied with Z57. I even contacted another AR member who freely shared he's been very happy with Z57 over the last 2 years. Very cool for him. Believe me, I wish I felt the same.

I decided to share, yes, to blow off some steam. More important, please my fellow Rainer's, if something doesn't sound right for you and your unique situation, or makes you feel uncomfortable, go with your gut and just say NO. They called me. I didn't seek them out. I ALLOWED them to make me FEEL something I didn't genuinely feel. I give her props for the HARD SELL. Masterful job. It's also a COMPLETELY UNSOULFUL WAY TO SELL. Sometimes it's okay to hang up.

BTW, I've already contacted my credit company to dispute the charge.

Comments (8)

Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Well I'm glad you are disputing the charge.  Hope you get somewhere with that.  And if you are still considering a new/better site please do check out point2agent if you haven't.  It's what I have and it is easy to build yourself with the templates they have and really worth it.  Their hosting fees start as low as $9.95 a month.

Sorry about your experience.

Nov 07, 2009 01:46 PM
Brian K. White
RE/MAX Alliance Group - Gilbert, AZ

A good salesperson needs to be on-guard against the possible hack who just might catch us off guard.  Hard sells are a fact of life, and many professionals got their success from preying off the un-informed and easily-intimidated. 

Stick to your principles.  Don't let 'em wear you down.

Nov 07, 2009 01:50 PM
Janna Scharf
Keller Williams Realty Coeur d'Alene - Coeur d'Alene, ID
Coeur d'Alene Idaho Real Estate Expert

I have no problem saying no these days.  I hate someone who thinks they can sell a salesman with hard sales tactics...

Nov 07, 2009 03:59 PM
Alexandria Virginia
Featuring Susan Craft, CRS, REALTORĀ® - McEnearney Associates - Alexandria, VA
Real Estate Editor

It's sad we have so many people out there that have no feelings about taking from or hurting others.  And in today's America there seems to be no consequences for bad behavoir . . . just look at the Banksters and Politicians.

Nov 07, 2009 05:38 PM
Dianne Deming
RE/MAX Realty Group - Rehoboth Beach, DE

I get several calls a month from salespeople pitching lead generating services, marketing merchandise and other stuff promising to "build my business."  It's good you've learned the "Just say, 'No,'" lesson now, because you will be using it often.

Nov 08, 2009 03:51 AM
Carin Arrigo-Zimmer
TopBroker Network Real Estate - Orange, CA
TopBroker Network Real Estate

Tammy ~ Thanks for the comment. Certainly not looking for sympathy here. I made the mistake, no doubt. Like many other companies, Z57 are pros at hard sale tactics. It's worth disputing the charge if anything because it had been such a short time between setting up the account and when they so-called built the website.

Brian ~ I hear you! I'm far more informed with what my clients' needs are and sometimes forget about my own. While mistakes will be made today, this particular situation, I can assure you, will NEVER happen again. Thanks.

Jana ~ Good for you! You don't fool anyone with that sweet smile of yours! =)

Alexandria ~ So true. Like Brian said, Hard sells are a fact of life, and many professionals got their success from preying off the un-informed and easily-intimidated.

Diane ~ I think that's what gets me most....promising to "build my business." The rep wore me down and for a brief moment, I believed this product might be THE THING that would help build my business. And yet, those moments before the verbal credit card digits uttered from my mouth, I so knew I didn't want it. Ugh. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

There is no ONE product or service that will build A business. Takes time, hard work, smart work. I'm finding that what works for some is not really for me. Thing about hard sales, is that everyone is treated exactly the same. And that is not how I treat my clients. Thanks again for all the comments. Much appreciated.


Nov 09, 2009 03:20 AM
Amanda Wernick
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Irvine, CA
Making Real Estate a FUNomenal Experience!

I am so sorry to hear that Carin....I always say "Sure, I'd love to hear about your product!  Send me an email and I'll take a look at it...thanks!  Gotta run!" 

They almost never send one!  On the bright side, you have a new site!  Or are you going to dispute?


May 13, 2010 07:34 AM