Joe’s life was going just fine; married with 2 kids and another on the way he was generally happy in disposition, putting one foot in front of the other each day and doing the best he could to do the next right thing by his family.
Ordinary days filled with comfortable invisibility. Until…
… one day, over dinner, when discussing the next little Joe soon to be born, he and his wife began discussing the need for a new home, a bigger home with more bedrooms to accommodate their growing family. They were soon to outgrow the 1,200 sq foot 3 bedroom, 2 bath, starter home.
So Joe met Bo. Bo seemed to be a generally nice fellow who helped people move up from smaller homes to bigger ones. So Joe and Mrs. Joe explained their needs. Each little Joe deserved a room of their own, so a 4 bedroom home was in order. Nothing fancy, just a 4 bedroom home with maybe 2 and a half bathrooms this time.
Bo soon called and had a great deal. A four bedroom larger home was now up for sale and only one community away from their known comfortable neighborhood.
But there was a catch. The seller wouldn’t let Bo show them the new home, but Bo however had seen it first hand and promised them it was everything they were looking for. Four bedrooms, 2,300 sq feet, three full bathrooms, a nice sized yard and room for a future swimming pool. But they’d have to move fast because there were others interested. Bo had many pictures to show, it looked really nice and was within their budget.
They’d have to buy it to see just how wonderful it was.
The contract for purchase was long and filled with words that Joe had never experienced the meaning of before. But Bo assured them it was just a standard deal and all would be fine, he even had the pre-approved finances lined up. Trustingly Joe and Mrs. Joe signed up, shook hands and began to look forward to the move.
The closing was complicated, apparently there were issues which Bo had to deal with – But Joe just figured that was Bo’s expertise; after all, that was his profession.
On January 1st, the ownership transferred and Joe with Mrs. Joe got to go look at their new home for the first time. They had sold their little starter home and the new owners were taking possession on Feb 1st, so they had 30 days to move all their stuff.
However, when Joe and Mrs. Joe showed up to the new house something didn’t look right. It wasn’t tan, it was bright green. It didn’t look like the pictures and descriptions – it looked smaller. When they walked inside they found out it only had 2 bedrooms, one bathroom, and was even smaller than what they just left – it was 900 sq. ft and all the kitchen appliances were gone, the house was stripped.
Shocked and upset they called Bo immediately. It took several calls because Bo was now not answering his phone like he did before; and when Bo did finally call back he told them “they bought it, the deal was done, there was nothing he could, or would, do”.
Desperate Joe called an attorney, explained the situation, and took the big packet of phone-book-thick documents they signed to the lawyer. The lawyer said he would do what he could, but according to the documents, what they purchased was indeed what was delivered.
Mr. and Mrs. Joe had been hoodwinked.
They were sold a bill of goods ‘in paper only’. The new home was smaller, it provided less, it was more money, and they had no escape from taking possession.
Things got worse.
When the first mortgage payment came in the mail it was THREE times more than they expected, and the PTI (property taxes and insurance) were significantly higher still.
Their attorney was standing next to them a year later when a judge ruled they had no standing in their complaint. “Buyer Beware” he said, as he affirmed they were stuck owning a house they were tricked into buying.
The Joe’s were angry, VERY angry.
They were told it was bigger, it would cover them. - It was smaller, and provided less coverage.
They were told it fit their budget – It was actually 3 times more than they were led to believe.
They were told it would be better – It was profoundly worse.
When they tried to stay in their old house they were told they could be sued if they didn’t move out and would be penalized for not leaving. After all, a new owner was waiting on their little cozy 3/2 and it wouldn’t be fair to punish the newlyweds for the mistakes of the Joe’s.
The Joe Family turned to the media looking for help.
What happened next was not expected.
The entire community told them ”get over it”, “quit your bitchin’”, “done is done”, and “it’s settled law”…… after all, “Buyer Beware”. “Just be thankful you even have a home”… was one of the common themes.