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Lack of Information? We want our Reservation Fee back.

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aljisidro


Arresto Menor
Hello, I would like to seek some advice.

My boyfriend and I paid P7500 as our reservation fee for a corner unit (townhouse) that we wanted to buy. After paying, we got the OR of the reservation, and the real estate agency gave us a photocopy of our request for reservation. After that, we were told to wait for the CI of the home developer.

For days or weeks, I would ask the agent how our application was going. I remember we were told that most probably we will be paying for the DP the following month after our reservation. So when the month came, I asked again. The agent told us to wait because they received a message that they would have a CI first to know if we qualify. Every month, I would ask, they would only tell us to wait.

This month, I asked the marketing arm about our unit. She asked me the details and now she told me that we should have paid for the DP 30 days after we were reserved. I do not remember anything about that '30 days'. All I know is that we were told to wait because there would be a CI. I did not even know if our application in Pagibig was approved. We were asked to wait, and so we did. Now the marketing arm called the developer and told me that they already cancelled our reservation and so the house was already reopened to another buyer. We couldn't get our reservation fee of P7500 back because it was apparently forfeited because we didn't pay for the DP after 30 days. They were insisting that they told us to pay for the DP after 30 days, but we really did not know anything about it, I really don't remember any. If they did tell us, we never had any idea how to pay for the DP/equity, we never knew where to pay, and even how much we have to pay. NO IDEA AT ALL. We just knew about our unit because the one we got was only a reopened unit. But we did not know we got it already.

I asked our agent and she seemed to be surprised as well. She said they were not informed. She was insisting that I have to force them to get the house back because they did not notify us, the buyers, that the application was cancelled. If ever, she said, we will just pay for the DP/equity and for the penalty. She said she is willing to pay 50% of the penalty because of the mistakes that happened. She is also telling me to go to the developer and she will go with us to complain. She is asking me if we have a copy of a statement of account which we need to have to know how much we have to pay every month. I said we don't have it. The last document we received from their office is the Request for Reservation and the receipt of our reservation fee.

We weren't notified about the acceptance of our reservation, we weren't notified about when and how to pay, we weren't notified about the final amount of fees we have to pay, we weren't notified about the cancellation. The marketing arm told me that she called the developer about it, and she said that the cancellation letter was returned to them (return to sender). I don't buy it. There's always a way to send another, and there is always someone at home to receive the letter, if there was any. The thing is, I believe we have the right to receive any notice. Now we just want to get our money back. It's just P7500 but it's not small for small people like us.

What legal action can we take? Thank you very much.

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technified_ex


Prision Correccional
If you did not received any documents with regards to payment of DP or anything, even the agent you are transacting has no idea. Then there is no valid cancellation of your reservation. I suggest you go to HLURB of your place to file your complain.

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aljisidro


Arresto Menor
Thank you so much.

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betchay001


Prision Mayor
Just a few questions.

Where did you transact your business? At the developer's office or the real estate broker's office? Who issued the receipt? Was it the Real estate agent? How much was the required DP? Who were you transacting with, the whole time?

You have to talk to your agent again, and clarify everything. A good sales agent/a broker will not leave you hanging. How come you don't know how much your monthly DP is? Or how come you don't know where to pay? Have you seen the exact location of the unit?

The reservation is usually non-refundable and non-transferable. Your agent knows that. You will also not get a notice of cancellation. That is only the reservation fee, if the first equity is not paid, then the reservation fee is forfeited, and the unit will be open to other buyers.

I suggest you talk to the agent first. (Why is she also willing to shell out 50% of the supposed penalty?)

Arm yourself with information prior to any other action.

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aljisidro


Arresto Menor
Where did you transact your business? At the developer's office or the real estate broker's office?
- The Real Estate Broker's Office

Who issued the receipt? Was it the Real estate agent?
- The Marketing Arm at the Real Estate Office

How much was the required DP?
- We first paid P5000 for the reservation but we were asked to add P2500 because we were willing to get the reopened unit on a corner lot. So all in all we paid P7500 for it. The DP is more than P37000. We were told recently that we should have started paying for the DP after 30 days when we paid for the reservation. She mentioned that it is automatic. When we mentioned this to our agent, she was surprised because she was also told that we were still under CI. So we never actually got to pay for the DP which was payable in several months.

Who were you transacting with, the whole time?
- Our real estate agent took us to their office (real estate agency) and we transacted everything there. With the papers/documents (receipt and Request for Reservation), we transacted with the Marketing arm. She is always addressed as Mam by our agent. Every transaction was made in their office.

How come you don't know how much your monthly DP is?
- For the monthly pay, we were advised that it will be different from the ones advertised online because the one we got is a corner unit. It would be higher. We asked the marketing arm about it and she said she computed the pay according to the developer's computation (and not Pagibig), she said it would be less than P8000 per month. The problem is that they never told us the exact details. We only got the Request of Reservation and the sample computation there (which was written by hand), but not the monthly expenses. We were only told to wait because there would be a CI. And so we did. Now the marketing arm is insisting that we know this information. We said we don't. We never received any info that we were approved. We never received a statement of account or anything like that. We were clueless all this time. Then she also mentioned that the developer sent a cancellation letter but it was returned to them.

Or how come you don't know where to pay?
- There were no final documents presented and did not know how much we have to pay every month; we did not know when the CI will happen because even in our office, we did not receive any call from the developer. I don't even have any idea if Pagibig approved our loan. Nobody was informing us. Maybe they told us but only a word of mouth. (But I really doubt that they told us.) No contract/document telling us how or where to pay or anything.

Have you seen the exact location of the unit?
- Yes, we went there even before we reserved for a unit.


I suggest you talk to the agent first. (Why is she also willing to shell out 50% of the supposed penalty?)
- I think she is just trying to be modest but still insisting it is not our fault but the developer. She tells me that when she went to the developer's office, they told them to wait for the CI and that's what she told me and my boyfriend. Now we're having troubles.


Thank you for your help! I hope this gets clearer. We are now really confused.

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betchay001


Prision Mayor
If you noticed, you've only been dealing with the Real Estate Agency: their agent and marketing arm of the agency.

I suggest you go back to that office again and demand for more info (and possibly a refund).

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aljisidro


Arresto Menor
My boyfriend immediately went to their office after I told him about what the marketing arm had told me. He is demanding that we get a refund. The marketing arm insists that we cannot get our money back because we failed to pay for the DP/equity after 30 days when we made our payment for the reservation. Did we fail to do anything here? Or is the agency or developer at fault? What should we tell the marketing arm when we go back to their office? She is telling me that she can call the developer and bargain if they can still let us pay for the DP/equity with penalty. The problem is that we could not get our unit back especially if it is already reserved to another buyer. They could just give us another, but not sure if it will be a corner unit like the one we got first. I don't think we want to continue buying a unit from this developer and don't want to transact with the agency, so we just want our money back. For us, it is their responsibility because I kept on asking and updating about our status. On my end, they did not provide me all the information I need to continue working on the payment for our property.

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aljisidro


Arresto Menor
Do we have to go to the developer's office and complain about our issue?

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technified_ex


Prision Correccional
Go directly to the HLURB and file a complaint against the agent you are transacting and the developer. It is different if you go directly to these government offices, since they can cancel permits and licenses of agents and developer and possibly bring criminal case against them. Just ask for your refund in the settlement proceeding brought about by the HLURB

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aljisidro


Arresto Menor
Thank you so much for all your help.

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aljisidro


Arresto Menor
Our agent told us that even their agency did not receive any letter nor information from the developer. She said they also want to file a complaint against the developer in HLURB since they believe that they did something that is against their rules which is their failure to inform the agency and the buyer about the status (approved/cancelled. etc) of the buyer. They are insisting that it was the developer's fault. My boyfriend and I decided to wait if the developer will do anything until next week since he told them that they can just give us our refund rather than making the issue big. Shall we also file a complaint against the agency even if they are telling us that the fault is at the developer?

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betchay001


Prision Mayor
The real estate agency is negligent - they are the liaison officers between the developer and the client. Since you have transacted with them initially, it was up to them to get all information and papers from the developer and pass them to you. The first month is crucial because it is only a reservation, not down payment. So if a buyer doesn't pay the first downpayment, reservation is forfeited. Since you were following up with your agent, the agent should have followed it up with the developer. How come the marketing arm and the agent are giving conflicting answers when you said that both are working at the real estate office?

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aljisidro


Arresto Menor
How come the marketing arm and the agent are giving conflicting answers when you said that both are working at the real estate office?

I don't know now, I guess they are blaming each other for the lapses. Sad

I told them we will be complaining against them at HLURB. The marketing arm tried to fix it, but the solution she came up to is still not fair. Now, they asked us to write a letter to the developer to waive the penalty and change the schedule of payment (remove arrears, start paying this month instead of a few months ago, etc.). I followed their advice and I explained to them that there were a lot of lapses on their side and the developer's representative told us to wait for them to have another day to discuss the issue with their management. I am still waiting for their response.

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aljisidro


Arresto Menor
The marketing arm tried to fix it by telling us to pay for the arrears (they counted the months we "missed" after 30 days of payment for the reservation), prepare for the following 2 months, and for their processing fee. They are asking us to settle almost everything in just a very short notice. She also asked me to write the developer a letter to waive the penalty. My boyfriend and I still think this is unfair since this will be difficult for us - to pay everything all at once. We asked if this will be for the same unit we reserved for, and she said yes. So we are still trying to see if we can settle it like this. If not, we'd ask for help.

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aljisidro


Arresto Menor
The agent tried to contact us and she sent me a notice of the rule (30-day notice; cancellation of reservation which states that the buyer should recieve a letter and the agency should receive an email ). I asked our agent if she received any email and she said no, and kept asking me if we could settle the prob with them and get the unit since their waving the penalty which is i'm not sure of if theyre really doing so. To make the story short, she seemed to have no idea about what is currently happening (marketing arm asked me to write a letter to the developer regarding the waiving of penalty and other suggestions in payment, etc). I feel like we've been left alone in the issue. They should be the ones clarifying this issue but she keeps on telling me the same things that we have already discussed with the marketing arm. Really getting out of hand. I guess the issue will get bigger even if we tried not to make it that way.

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