The “Blame Us, Amos” Effect

Posted August 30th, 2007 by Joe Kaiser

Virtually every seller willing to participate rated our service either "very valuable" or "valuable." No one suggested it was not valuable.

Dear Rob,

It’s obvious.

Your office, as demonstrated by its actions in this investigation, is 100% convinced a foreclosure investor can be nothing other than a scoundrel.

It’s the only reason we’re here today, frankly, and it’s ridiculous.


cause and the blame us amos effect

I looked at Ms. Huelsman’s email from yesterday asking that I let everyone know I’m not a legitimate investor.

Why would she make such an disparaging statement?

It’s called the Blame Us, Amos effect.

We foreclosure investors understand we have two strikes against us before we as much as open our mouths. We know there’s such a widespread misunderstanding about what it is we do that some people automatically assume we’re bad guys, just because we’re in the business.

I was a little caught off guard with Ms. Huelsman’s reply, assuming she’d be level-headed and more intelligent than most about this sort of thing, being in the business herself.

Nope.


post Fiscal

Per your demands, we’ve completed copying all files from the post Fiscal Dynamics, Inc., era, beginning from June 2006 and finishing up with the most recent transactions from this month.

I’m in the process of creating a detailed spreadsheet to help your office better understand each transaction, making it abundantly clear what’s taken place.

My initial review?

Contrary to Ms. Huelsman’s opinion, I am a legitimate investor.

Whew . . . she had me going there.


survey says

I don’t have the exact number yet, but it’s somewhere around 50 completed transactions.

These are mainly tax sale foreclosures from various Washington counties in the 2006 tax sale season.

We started a bunch, closed on most, and overall did an excellent job.

And this year we did something altogether different, asking sellers to rate our service through a telephone question and answer session, immediately followed by a written customer satisfaction survey to be completed in the privacy of their own home.

Why?

We wanted to get their true feelings about their experiences with us in the sale of their properties.


not a one under pressure

How’d we do?

Well, I’d say pretty damn good.

Virtually every seller willing to participate rated our service either “very valuable” or “valuable.” No one suggested it was not valuable.

In terms of their experience dealing with us, most responded by checking either “very satisfied” or “satisfied,” with no one saying they were less than satisfied.

The vast majority said they’d use our services again and would “definitely” or “probably” recommend us to their family and friends.

And interestingly, not a one, when asked if they were under any undue pressure to sign, said they experienced even the slightest amount of pressure.


not even once

Did we get sued by anyone?

Nope, not even once. Nor did we encounter any major disputes that brought us to the brink of a lawsuit. I don’t even recall an angry letter.

Sure, we got screwed over a couple times, as usual, and will probably sue a dishonest seller or two once this CPA matter is resolved, but I can wait.

We did a bunch of overage plays and a handful of partial interest deals, but most were straightforward sales where we paid the taxes and flipped the normal way.

And we’ve got a bunch still in the portfolio we’ll be looking to sell soon.

All in all . . . a decent year, and pretty much the typical sort of tax sale season we’ve experienced for the last seven or eight years.


good and valuable

Well, it’s not all perfect.

There’s still that Blame Us, Amos effect we have to deal with every now and then.

Your office, for instance, demands to see every deal we’ve done, even requiring county officials to forward copies of our transactions to you whenever they see them come through their recording channels.

That doesn’t seem a little silly to you, Rob?

You’re demanding this based on what, another year of 100% satisfied customers?

Or Cheryl, looking at our transactions for the last four or five years, transactions consistent with my post FDI work, and concluding as only she could that “Fiscal Dynamics does not provide a valuable service to Washington property owners.”

Yet according to the actual property owners with whom we did business, they consistently rated our service, at a minimum, as “valuable,” with many if not most describing it as “very valuable.”

And then, of course, there’s attorney Melissa Huelsman, stating emphatically that mine is not a legitimate business, presumably because I transact with people in foreclosure.

Yet those very people have unanimously stated that my business, in their first-hand experience, was at least “satisfying,” if not “very satisfying.”

How can things be so completely out of whack here?

Easy . . . it’s the Blame Us, Amos effect.


delighted

Here’s the deal, Rob.

We do an excellent job with everyone who decides to do business with us. Everyone.

We don’t scam people or cheat them out of their equity or anything like that. We offer a good and valuable service people in foreclosure have decided they want and need.

And we never get sued and no one ever complains because we keep our promises and pay every last nickel as agreed.

No one is under pressure to sell and everyone doing business with us is delighted with the service we provide.

And if for some reason they’re not, (which happens now and again in any business) we’ll do whatever we must to make it right.

We have a track record of hundreds of transactions to prove it.


the effect, in action

So why are you suing me today, Rob?

I think you know why, and I think you know it has nothing to do with me having done anything unfair or deceptive.

It’s simple . . . I’m a foreclosure real estate investor who had two strikes against him before you opened file #1.

This is a classic example of the Blame Us, Amos effect.

In the last year I have some 50 “satisfied” to “very satisfied” sellers who’ve stated the service I provided them was “valuable” to “very valuable.”

That’s a 100% success rate.

And yet you’ve chosen to call them all “victims” of my “foreclosure rescue scam.”

Huh?

I gotta tell you, Rob, we expected more from you.

Sugarman, chance to be a hero, dude.

Respectfully,

Joe Kaiser


6 Responses to: “The “Blame Us, Amos” Effect”

  1. AllAboutVoting responds:
    Posted: August 30th, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    “Why would she make such an disparaging statement?”

    I contacted her myself. Here is something she said as part of our email exchange:

    …reviewing his websites yesterday, I came across a course wherein he promises to help people avoid being found liable for the deception and included in the topics in one of his courses was a statement that he would tell purchasers about the things that they absolutely needed to record and what they absolutely did not want to have recorded. No matter how he might attempt to explain that statement away, it points clearly to deceptive acts. If you don’t want something recorded (and are emphatic about it), then you have something to hide.— Attorney Melissa Huelsman, apparently

    I don’t know what the material about what should and should not be recorded is, so I will not comment on it.

    As for the “avoiding being liable for deception”, the material that I have seen is all about spelling out the situation clearly and protecting the investor against potential *dececptions by the seller*. (eg: “I was confused”, “He told me I don’t need a lawyer”, “I thought it was a loan”, etc…)

  2. Joe Kaiser responds:
    Posted: August 30th, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    I’ll ask her about it and maybe she’ll honor us with an explanation. I have no idea what she’s getting at and off the top of my head don’t recall the statement’s intent.

    And without ever looking at the course she concludes it has something to do with avoiding “being found liable for the deception?”

    Classic “Blame Us, Amos” mentality.

    Joe

  3. David Alexander responds:
    Posted: August 30th, 2007 at 2:44 pm

    Classic case of being more an attorney than a business person….

    She’s sees things through those grey fogged up glasses instead of the rose colored ones… the pendulum swings far… making assumptions instead of looking for the truth….

    She probably doesn’t understand that as an investor or real goal is to mitigate risk….

    Which not only includes risk of the money invested, but, the time…. and when you finally truly get it… limiting the risk of liability…. which signing your name to things always does….

    Guess, they’d never understand taking a mortgage subject to the existing lien for instance….

    I was once party to a suit where the attorneys that were sueing me and 10 others for a very large 7 figure sum…

    Told us in during the deposition (when the recorder was off) didn’t you think something was wrong… (we had all recieved money from a guy that was paying us for services, and the guy had supposedly embezzled from the partner, “they nhad a business together” and the partner was sueing us all)

    Why? becuase we recieved money from the guy paying us what he owed.

    Anyway…. turns out the partner that those attorneys were representing had put the other guy up to spend that money… os, that he could launder it….

    All along the attorneys for that partner treated the rest of us like crooks….

    You know… I don’t ever remember getting so much as a I’m sorry we turned your life upside down… or wow, we were mistaken…

    Hopefully the judge on this case will look at this whole thing through objective eyes and just throw it out… at some point…

  4. Joe Kaiser responds:
    Posted: August 30th, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    And here is the item in question, explained in the course . . .

    20. Record the Signing Process

    The signing process is a little tricky. We like to document sellers signing things but that sometimes freaks them out a bit so be careful here. Lately, I just let them know our company policy is to record the signing process so there are no later misunderstandings and most people have no problem with me doing so.

    Audio recording is great. What’s important here is to have then answer, “Yes,” to each of the items on the seller acknowledgment form (Best Damn Document, Period).

    Now, don’t let them attempt to read the thing out loud. If you do, they may look completely uneducated and certainly if they can’t even read the thing, it calls into question their ability make a decision about the deal itself.

    So, I always read the entire acknowledgment form, giving them a moment to answer after each clause is read.

    You may want to let them know that “yes” is the correct answer to all the questions and if they cannot give you that answer, it’s important to find out why and determine where the misunderstanding is. Clearing up these kinds of matters at this stage is a simple and easy process and preferred over that stage when you’re in court attempting to do that very thing.

    While audio is great, videotaping is even better. We now have a camcorder in the office and set it up on a tripod to record all our foreclosure deal signings. Again, it’s a bit awkward but few people have any real reservations once it’s explained that it provides everyone with a record of exactly what’s taking place and what’s been agreed to.

    It’s about clarity and nothing more.

    And it works best if I read it to them outload, and let them think about and then answer affirmatively. If they are unable to do so, we stop and find out why so there can be no question that what we agreed to and signed was clear and understood.

    Joe

  5. HSI responds:
    Posted: August 30th, 2007 at 10:39 pm

    It amazes me coming from an attorney that she should just dismiss foreclosure investors as not legitimate. The legal profession is one of the least respected with an abundance of lawyer jokes always bantered about.

    Q: What’s wrong with Lawyer jokes?
    A: Lawyers don’t think they’re funny, and nobody else thinks they’re jokes.

    Q: What does a lawyer use for birth control?
    A: His Personality.

    Q: What do honest lawyers and UFO’s have in common?
    A: You always hear about them, but you never see them.

    Case in point.

    I’ve always thought that wasn’t fair because there’s good and bad in any profession. Now I see why anyone who’s had a negative experience with a lawyer hops on that band wagon. You are willing to give them too much of a break, Joe. It sounds like you know real estate law a lot better than the vast majority of attorneys do that aren’t focused or directly involved in that area in their law practice. Hopefully the AG will finally recognize that and step it up with AAG’s who are familiar and ready to review your investment career history fairly with no preconceived bias. That’s not too much to expect for any of us, and please know that you are paving the way for all of us watching this carefully to continue doing what we do best.

  6. adrian w. responds:
    Posted: September 1st, 2007 at 10:08 am

    Ya know it’d be funny if it weren’t so ludicrous. Next, attorney Melissa Huelsman will point out on film the man in the hazy background with a pistol pointed at the sellers!! You wanna talk about “under duress’!!
    Come on!! Really.


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