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Horne: All Star Game events attracting consumer scams

PHOENIX (Thursday, June 16, 2011)  --  Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne and Judy Lowe, Commissioner of the Arizona Department of Real Estate are warning consumers to be on the alert against potential scams as the Major League Baseball All-Star Game approaches July 8-12.  They are also announcing today that the Department issued an Order this week against Your Stay Accommodations, Sharaud Ramey and Joshua Bleechington (“Your Stay Accommodations”), for engaging in unlicensed real estate activity in Arizona in connection with the game.

Horne stated, “Major events such as the All-Star Game attract thousands of people to Arizona.  Unfortunately, that means the potential for consumer scams increases.  I would urge people to be especially cautious of companies that promise they can rent your home for large rental fees during this or other major events.  Some companies collect up-front fees from consumers for rentals that never pan out, and then deny requests for refunds. People need to be wary and only use known, reputable companies for these kinds of transactions.”

Based in part on information provided by the Attorney General’s Office, the Commissioner’s Order issued yesterday finds that Your Stay Accommodations, operating out of Phoenix, offered to lease consumers’ homes to people attending the 2011 MLB All-Star event for an advance fee of approximately $1,495.  Arizona law, however, requires individuals engaged in real estate activity for compensation to first obtain a license from the Real Estate Department.  The individuals behind Your Stay Accommodations are not licensed.  

The Commissioner has ordered Your Stay Accommodations to immediately cease and desist from its rental activities. "Unlicensed real estate activity in Arizona must be stopped. This is an example of a practice that harms the public. The Arizona Department of Real Estate observes a 'Zero tolerance' for this type of activity," said Commissioner Lowe. Your Stay Accommodations has a right to request a hearing.

Consumers can protect themselves against home rental scams by dealing only with reputable companies who have appropriate licenses.  And always, beware of promises that sound too good to be true.

If you feel you have been a victim of consumer fraud, or have been a victim of this particular home rental scam, please contact the Consumer Information & Complaints Unit at (602) 542-5763 / (520) 628-6504 / (800) 352-8431. 

A copy of the Cease & Desist Order is attached.