We paid the first months rent on this place directly to the agent when we moved in and I have just paid the second months rent. When I paid it I discovered the agent, Nelson Alexander, has been very deceptive.
A new rental payment system has been gradually sneaking into all the real estate agent offices. It’s called DEFT. DEFT stands for Direct Electronic Funds Transfer and the DEFT Payment System is wholly owned by Macquarie Bank.
The first time I came across DEFT the agent was offering it as one of several options for paying my rent. I chose not to use it because there was a fee involved and I figured I was paying enough fees as it was without adding that one.
The next time I came across it the agent said there was no other payment option so I opted not to rent from them.
When we signed the rental agreement with this agent they gave us a DEFT rental payment number. I said I didn’t want to use DEFT because I knew there was a fee involved. The agent said that was true but I did not have to use the DEFT system. She said I could BPay my rent using their BPay number and the DEFT number would just be used to identify who made the payment.
When I registered their BPay account number with my bank the name attached to that number was DEFT payment systems. The BPay number is not for my real estate agents bank account at all which means, like it or not, I am using the DEFT payment system!
My refusal to use the system has been over-ridden and I have been conned into using it against my will. That left me with a burning question – who is paying for my use of the DEFT service?
The agent who signed me up to this property said there was a fee if I used the DEFT system but I can’t find a single word about fees for the service anywhere on the Nelson Alexander websites or in their contract.
The DEFT website makes no mention at all of fees in any way. Not how much the system costs, who pays the fees, or how to tell who is paying the fees.
A search of the internet turns up a very long list of companies who are making consumers pay their bills via the DEFT payment system but very few mention costs. Those who do quote a fee of about 0.89 cents per transaction.
Why are the terms and conditions of this service so hard to find?
My paranoia went into overdrive and I could smell the scent of a scam in the air. I sat down and tried to home in on the source of the stink.
Would a bank provide a service to the real estate agents free of charge?
HA! Not likely!
Would an estate agent voluntarily pay 0.89 cents per tennant per month so they can take advantage of the benefits of this service?
HA! Not likely!
When the possible has been ruled out the only other option is the impossible.
How can a real estate agent force a tennant to pay a fee for a service they don’t want?
It didn’t take me long to see how.
My current real estate agent has a different way of calculating rent to my previous, non-DEFT payment system using, real estate agent.
My old agent calculated the monthly rent I had to pay by adding 52 times the weekly rental amount together then dividing that sum by 12 months.
This real estate agent arrives at the monthly rent by dividing the weekly rental sum by seven (days in the week) then they times the daily rate by 365 (days in the year) and divide the result by 12.
This method gives them four dollars per month more than the other method would give.
So hey diddle diddle, the cats do a mathematical fiddle, and the consumer cow jumps over the moon!
With a wave of their mathematical wand they have magically produced a four dollar increase in the monthly rent to cover their 0.89 cent per month fee for my use of Macquarie Banks DEFT payment system.
I’m afraid I don’t believe the estate agents came up with that bit of financial magic on their own though. I will lay odds the bank who is gaining so many new customers were the ones who came up with this underhanded way of forcing consumers to pay for this service.
It’s a service that offers billers a lot of advantages but not, I suspect, enough advantages to make them willing to pay the fees themselves. On the other hand, it offers consumers nothing at all, nothing but one more bank fee.
We already pay enough of those so the scheme was always going to fail if someone could not think of a way to cover those fees. Even then, the scheme might have failed if there was nothing much in it for the agents.
I doubt the agents were interested enough to think up a way around consumer resistance so I’m sure it fell to the bank to come up with this financial magic trick.
This trick has managed to force renters to pay money for nothing to both Macquarie Bank AND their real estate agents! Macquarie Bank gets 0.89 cents of the four dollars a month extra they are scamming from me and the estate agent gets a nice little bonus of $3.11 for themselves.
It may be only a few dollars but add it to whatever they get from every other tennant they have and it probably brings in a tidy sum every month! No wonder real estate agents are signing up to the system in droves.
I could be wrong, of course, the method of calculating monthly rent using a daily formula might have been around before Macquarie Bank invented their new money-making scheme but it’s new to me.
My rent has always been calculated weekly before and calculating it daily reeks of cunning, greedy, bank mathematics to me!
So here I sit. A little frog in a pot of boiling water. I want to jump out but the bastards got my signature on a contract which has effectively put a lid on the pot!
I was going to add a rant about banks to this entry but I have gone without a smoke for way too long already. When the withdrawal twitches subside, and I can concentrate enough to write again, I will make that my next entry.