John Vollmecke at West USA Realty...Are you really this desperate?

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Summit Home Consultants
https://activerain.com/droplet/cTW

John Vollmecke at West USA Realty...Are you really this desperate?

Tonight I decided to check in at Zillow to see how my Phoenix short sale listings were doing.  Lo-and-behold, one of my listings (3990 E Crest Lane) was claimed by another agent on June 10th.  The agent's name is John Vollmecke, and he even went so far as to change the eloquently-written description (which I had written) to the following:

$$$ Best Selection Valleywide Save Thousands! Let the Foreclosure Expert negotiate the best deal for you! BestAZForeclosure.com 602.390.0026 Hundreds to Choose From... (Photo shown is not necessarily actual home.)

Actually, the photos he used in my listing were the photos I took of the home when I listed it.  So, not only is he claiming listings that aren't his, he is also in violation of copyright law by copying images and posting them for financial gain.  Bad move buddy!

John Vollmecke, do your homework next time.  This is not a foreclosure.  It is one of my Phoenix short sale listings that I currently have in my inventory.  What happens when a potential buyer or buyer's agent calls and asks you questions about the listing?  How far along are you in the process?  Any offers yet?  How do you tap-dance around these types of questions?  Oh, by the way, this home has been under contract for the past 60 days, and is approved to close on July 13th (in case you get any calls on it).

Really John Vollmecke?  Are you this desperate for clients?  Have you ever heard of the Code Of Ethics?  Do you understand that I have a listing agreement in place with the sellers on this home, and have had it in place for the past 90 days, and yet, just 13 days ago you decide to call it your own listing?  How many other listings have you "claimed" on the various websites out there, in hopes of getting your phone to ring?  On your website, you claim to have 33 years of real estate experience.  You would think that with such a long career in the business, you wouldn't need to rely on such slimy tactics.  How low can you go, John Vollmecke?

But wait, it gets better...According to his Zillow Profile, he currently has 354 currently active listings on Zillow, and has closed 134.  According to our local MLS, he has ZERO active listings, 3 pendings, and has closed 16 homes in the past year.  So, from what I can tell, he's hijacked 353 other listings on Zillow as well.  Nice!  At least I'm not the only one he targeted with his BS.

John Vollmecke, please remember this post the next time you consider hijacking someone else's listing and claiming it as your own. And, by the way, your broker and I will be having a chat first thing in the morning.

And yes, I'm mentioning your full name (John Vollmecke) ad-nauseum so that others have a better chance of seeing this post when they google your name.

As a post script to this, I did just receive a call from Dale Hillard, Designated Broker at West USA Realty.  He is working diligently to have all of Mr. Vollmecke's listings taken down from the various 3rd-party websites (Zillow, Trulia, etc.), and made it very clear that this would not happen again.  Please note that this blog post is not in any way directed at West USA or any of it's other agents.  It is specifically directed at Mr. Vollmecke, and my intent is to educate other agents who may have been affected by his actions.  We all spend a ton of time and money promoting our listings on the internet, and to have another agent cash in on our efforts is inexcusable.  Thanks again for Dale Hillard for stepping in and taking the reins on this one.

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Bob Hertzog

Summit Home Consultants

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Copyright © By Bob Hertzog 2011 *John Vollmecke at West USA Realty...Are you really this desperate?*

 

 

 

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Topic:
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Groups:
Short Sales and Forclosures ONLY
Short Sales Specialists
Short Sale REALTORS®
Silent Majority
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Tags:
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Rainer
5,781
Stephanie Cosand
Servicing Pinal County, Arizona - Arizona City, AZ
Realtor - GRI, SFR -RE/MAX A Bar Z Realty

He did it to me too and I had no idea that it had been done until Bob emailed me with the details.  First I want to say THANK YOU to Bob for being so kind as to inform me of what had happened and Second, I agree that this is a very desperate way to try to get business.  There are many of us agents that work hard for the business that we get and I do not want someone like this just stealing listings away from those of us that work hard!  Thanks again Bob!  You know what they say about Karma!!

Jun 24, 2011 08:17 AM #13
Rainmaker
182,045
Sara Bonert
Zillow - Atlanta, GA
Real Estate Internet Marketing

Augh!!!  Sara from Zillow here.  Thank you for alerting us, we have a team on it now and I'll let you know when it is resolved.

In a cursory look, it appears he is using the Homes and Land system to enter all of these 'listings'.  So this isn't just a Zillow thing, but rather their service then syndicates the 'listings' to numerous places online.  We can certainly do things to shut this down on our site very quickly.  But what is really necessary is to reach out to Homes and Land and have the bad data cut off at the source.  I'll do this as well. 

You can always report things like this to me, your account manager, or listingsupport@zillow or flag it right on the site. 

I'll give a status report later.  And on behalf of Zillow, I apologize for any inconvenience.

 

 

Jun 24, 2011 08:39 AM #14
Rainer
230,801
Bob Hertzog
Summit Home Consultants - Phoenix, AZ
Designated Broker

No problem Stephanie.  As you said, internet leads are an important part of our business.  We all spend a ton of time and money generating them, and it really stinks when someone decides to come and hijack them.  And yes, I do know what they say about karma!

 

Thanks Sara.  I totally agree that this is not Zillow's doing, and I appreciate you jumping on this.  And yes, he is using "Homes And Land" to syndicate the listings.  He's also lifting 4-5 pictures from each listing, and putting in his own description.  I did "re-claim" my listing on Zillow, but could not get rid of his description or his contact information.  As it stands right now, my name is on the listing, but his company and contact information is still there.Thanks for your help and input!

Jun 24, 2011 08:54 AM #15
Rainmaker
97,117
Jimmy Williams (352) 874-2354
Classic VI Realty - Mount Dora, FL
Lake and Western Orange County Real Estate Expert!

Bob--WOW, I didn't know that such a thing could happen!  I am so glad that you have called him on it.  As the go to Phoenix Short Sale Agent you have the knowledge to help folks that need the assistance of a real Phoenix Short Sale Agent.

Jun 24, 2011 10:55 AM #16
Rainer
230,801
Bob Hertzog
Summit Home Consultants - Phoenix, AZ
Designated Broker

As a post script to this, I did just receive a call from Dale Hillard, Designated Broker at West USA Realty.  He is working diligently to have all of Mr. Vollmecke's listings taken down from the various 3rd-party websites (Zillow, Trulia, etc.), and made it very clear that this would not happen again.  Please note that this blog post is not in any way directed at West USA or any of it's other agents.  It is specifically directed at Mr. Vollmecke, and my intent is to educate other agents who may have been affected by his actions.  We all spend a ton of time and money promoting our listings on the internet, and to have another agent cash in on our efforts is inexcusable.  Thanks again to Dale Hillard for stepping in and taking the reins on this one.

Jun 24, 2011 11:14 AM #17
Ambassador
920,351
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate

Oh my gosh, the unethical things agents will do.

IMHO it is not enough that Dale Hillard, whoever that is, is going to take his listings down. He needs to be brought before the Grievance Committee, he has not only violated the Brokers of of the listings he misrepresented but the Sellers of those homes. What a creep!

 

Jun 24, 2011 03:47 PM #18
Rainmaker
1,431,531
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

I did not even know someone could do that.  Thanks for the information.  I will have to start watching for that.

Jun 25, 2011 05:57 AM #19
Rainer
230,801
Bob Hertzog
Summit Home Consultants - Phoenix, AZ
Designated Broker

Kudos to Zillow for jumping on this so quickly.  I checked my ad, and it has been taken down.  For those agents effected by this guy, you will need to re-post your ads in order to get them back online.  Kind of a pain, but it's nice to know that I'll start getting the calls on MY listing, rather than him.  I'm assuming that Zillow did this with all of the listings he hijacked.

It appears that Homes & Land has taken all of "his" listings down as well.  This is good, as it was the syndication site that he was using to send his new listings to all of the other websites.  Hopefully, we will all start getting the buyer leads again.

Agents, make sure you check ALL of your listings in Zillow & Trulia on a regular basis.  I'm sure this isn't the only guy who has thought of this scheme.

Jun 25, 2011 06:19 AM #20
Rainmaker
1,212,797
Jay Thompson
Zillow - Seattle, WA

Wow. That's about all I can say. That, and I hope that you and every other agent/brokerage this guy has done this too files a formal ethics complaint.

And we wonder why the general public's perception of real estate agents is so low.

Agents / Brokers - I *highly* recommend setting up Google Alerts on all your listings. I'm several behind and will take care of that today.

Jun 25, 2011 07:11 AM #21
Rainmaker
1,212,797
Jay Thompson
Zillow - Seattle, WA

He's got 288 "listings" on Trulia... 

Jun 25, 2011 07:18 AM #22
Rainer
12,264
Carmen Brodeur - Realtor & Attorney
Trillium Properties, LLC - Paradise Valley, AZ
In The Top 1% of All Agents in Arizona

Ridiculous. I emailed Trulia and asked them what is taking so long? Why have they not corrected the situation yet. Looks like Zillow was pretty prompt at cleaning house.

Jun 25, 2011 08:24 AM #23
Rainer
230,801
Bob Hertzog
Summit Home Consultants - Phoenix, AZ
Designated Broker

My first impression too Jay. Wow! What amazes me is that he's been able to get away with it for so long. I only noticed because the phone stopped ringing about two weeks ago on my listing. When I decided to check it out, I knew why! Thanks for stopping by.

Carmen, I am very disappointed with Trulia's response as well.  They promised me that they would "look into it", but nothing so far.  Zillow jumped on it immediately.

Jun 25, 2011 02:08 PM #24
Rainmaker
182,045
Sara Bonert
Zillow - Atlanta, GA
Real Estate Internet Marketing

Update:  Zillow got all of the listings John had entered all pulled down from our site on Friday afternoon.  I also spoke to Homes and Land on Friday.  They said their tech dept would get the listings out of their feed on Monday (it would then process Monday night, meaning a clean run showing up on Tuesday).  Because of this delay, we've suspended the whole Homes and Land feed from rerunning until Tuesday.  If we didn't do this, the listings could come back.  By suspending it, this will allow for the true listing agents' listings to naturally post to the site, if they are syndicating them.  So hopefully we are all good now! 

Jun 26, 2011 02:43 AM #25
Rainmaker
182,045
Sara Bonert
Zillow - Atlanta, GA
Real Estate Internet Marketing

Oh, forgot to mention one more thing - once this 'clean' run happens on Moday night, it should clean up all of the other real estate websites to which Homes and Land is syndicating (according to their website is more than 20 sites), allowing for the true agents' information to appear.

Jun 26, 2011 02:47 AM #26
Ambassador
801,769
Brad Andersohn
Executive Director of Education at eXp Realty - Fairfield, CA
ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876

Hey Bob - I'm glad to see Sara made it here to respond and look into this. 

To expedite something like this in the future, I'd love to have you contact us directly first so we can start the research process needed to try and resolve something like this?  Feel free to contact myself, Sara, or one of the Zillow staff, it might help us to resolve it even quicker in the future. 

Thanks Sara for being so quick and efficient with issues like this.  :-)

Jun 26, 2011 03:32 AM #27
Rainmaker
709,207
Petra Norris
Lakeland Real Estate Group, Inc. - Lakeland, FL
Realtor, Lakeland FL Homes for Sale

Bob - this is so inexcusable and I hope he looses his license of this.  You work hard as a Phoenix Short Sale agent to get properties sold and for some agent to scoop so low is just plain crazy. 

Jun 27, 2011 09:10 AM #28
Rainer
206,584
Marge Piwowarski
Phoenix AZ Horse Property - Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix AZ Horse Property, LLC

I don't think the first notification should be to Zillow, your AR blog or even other agents affected by his unethical actions.  RE agents are not seen as professionals because of our weak-to-zero-self-policing.  REPORT him to the BOARD.  Until we refuse to tolerate unethical behavior it will continue.  It impacts each of us, even if the listings purloined were not our listings.  It is the reputation and credibility of our entire industry. 

I am so sorry this happened to you, and to your sellers.

Jun 29, 2011 04:51 AM #29
Rainer
230,801
Bob Hertzog
Summit Home Consultants - Phoenix, AZ
Designated Broker

Thanks for the comment Marge.  You bring up self-policing, and I can't agree more with you.  The problem is, our boards could care less.  I recently attended a board hearing (board shall remain nameless) for a complaint I filed in October/2010 against an agent who decided to mail out a letter with blatantly false advertising.  He even went so far as to compare himself to the other "low-life" agents in our market (his words exactly).  It took 7 months to get to the hearing, hours of work compiling data for them, etc.  

The result of the hearing?  He was found guilty of an ethics violation.  His punishment?  He needs to take a 3 hour CE class on Ethics.  Sorry, but if this is how our boards are going to treat clowns like this, I don't have time for them.  I'd rather use the power of the internet to warn other agents and/or consumers of unethical real estate agents.  This is my method of "self-policing".

Jun 29, 2011 05:18 AM #30
Rainer
206,584
Marge Piwowarski
Phoenix AZ Horse Property - Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix AZ Horse Property, LLC

Bob, you are not the first agent to say that the real punishment in the event of reporting an ethics violation falls on the reporter who loses more time and makes more effort than the miscreant who gets off with a three hour class. 

That is just WRONG and what are we going to do about it?  We elect the Board.  A board member told me the State's attorney doesn't want to "bother" prosecuting "small" violations.  Our professional and licensing organizations do seem ineffective.  On second thought, your public approach may prove more effective in policing than the organizations we pay to do that.  I don't suppose this will enhance the public perception of our ethics but the NAR hasn't accomplished that in long years with lots of cash.  Enforcement is the key, maybe this IS a case for vigilante justice!

Jun 30, 2011 05:32 AM #31
Rainmaker
415,162
Tni LeBlanc, Realtor®, J.D.
Mint Properties, Lic. #01871795 - Santa Maria, CA
Tenacious Tni (805) 878-9879

Wow that is wrong on just so many levels Bob.  Glad you called him out sometimes you just have to -- and a lot quicker than a Board complaint I guess.  

Jul 09, 2011 03:39 AM #32
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