11 Investigates and our Cox Media Group sister stations are getting results following a flood of consumer complaints about MV Realty.
77-year-old Donna Zastudil is a retired nurse. She describes her experience with MV Realty as “just sick.” When the pandemic hit, she tells Channel 11, money became tight and she was having trouble buying groceries. She decided to sign a contract with MV Realty, which offered homeowners fast cash in exchange for exclusive rights to sell their homes. Many people who signed a contract tell Channel 11, they didn’t know they were committing to 40-year lien on their homes, and in many cases, when homeowners broke the deal, MV Realty took legal action.
“They’ve got to be stopped,” Zastudil tells Channel 11. “They have to be stopped. They are preying on people who are desperate is what they’re doing.”
After complaints about MV Realty started coming in from across the country, WPXI and our Cox Media Group sister stations began investigating. At the time, Pennsylvania’s Attorney General was Josh Shapiro. As a result of our digging, he and Attorney Generals in Forida and Massachusetts sued MV Realty. There are also open investigations into the realty company in Georgia and North Carolina.
Debra Djupman Warring, the Deputy Attorney General for the Bureau of Consumer Protection in Pennsylvania told WPXI at the time that AG Josh Shaprio was shocked.
“Attorney General, Josh Shaprio has been shocked to hear what this office has heard from consumers who have done business with MV Realty,” Djupman Warring tells Channel 11.
Because of this investigation, the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office asked MV Realty to:
-Refrain from entering into new agreements with Pennsylvanians
-Pay restitution to victims who suffered losses
-Pay civil penalties for each violation of consumer protection law
-Strike all mortgages recorded on real estate in Pennsylvania
“These are not terms under a standard real estate agreement to use an agent to sell your home,” Djupman Warring added. “They’re not things Pennsylvania residents should expect to see in a contract.”
We checked records in dozens of Pennsylvania counties and no new homeowner benefit agreements have been made since our original investigations here in November and December.
In addition, Ohio Senator, Sherrod Brown is now calling on the Federal Trade Commission and Consumer Protection Bureau to investigate. The FCC is also involved. The agency says MV Realty Used at least two telecommunications companies to “flood homeowners with robocalls with misleading claims about mortgages.” The FCC is ordering companies to make sure robocalls from Mv Realty don’t make it to consumers.
A reporter from our sister station in Jacksonville, Florida went to MV Realty’s main office in Delay Beach to talk to the founder of the company about the investigation into misleading and predatory business practices. Nobody from MV Realty answered the door or came out to talk to them, but the police were called on the repoter, photographer and producer on scene.
That crew stood on the sidewalk and waited and waited. Finally a spokesperson for MV Realty showed up. Our reporter asked the tough questions, but nobody from MV Realty was ready to talk on camera. They offered a statement be emailed to us.
MV Realty emailed us statements saying it “has more than 30,000 satisfied customers and that the terms of its agreements are clearly explained and that the company is confident any inquiry will confirm [its] team has operated in full compliance with the law.”
MV Realty denied putting “liens” on properties, despite filing documents with the word “mortgage” at the top and demanding payment if the home sells within the next 40 years.
“We find out more about this every day,” Djupman Warring added. “We appreciate Channel 11 bringing this to light. I know several consumers reached out to our office after seeing your report so I know it’s helpful.”
Download the FREE WPXI News app for breaking news alerts.
Follow Channel 11 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch WPXI NOW
©2023 Cox Media Group