If you’re smart, you’ll stay away from Renturway

by Joe Zekas on 6/19/14

The public relations “profession” is notorious for making shotgun pitches to websites without having even the dimmest awareness of how a particular pitch might be received.

Yesterday’s email included a pitch from a PR person on behalf of Renturway, a company touted as having a “remarkable business model which differs distinctly from other rental agents in the Chicagoland area.”

I looked at the site and couldn’t find anything remarkable about aggregating thousands of tediously repetitive, illegal ads from Chicago rental services. Nor is there anything unusual about the fact that many of the ads state rent prices that simply aren’t available at the advertised properties. And the wholesale misuse of copyrighted images at Renturway is nothing different than what rental services commonly do at many sites.

There’s nothing remarkable about the fact that Renturway’s search doesn’t work as billed. A simple search for a Streeterville apartment with an indoor pool yields no results despite the fact that Streeterville buildings with indoor pools are advertised on the site by rental services.

It’s not remarkable, in the context of the overall uselessness of the site, that most of the pages, copyrighted in 2012, are of the “Coming soon” variety.

Finally, it’s not remarkable that Renturway assumes that some of its visitors will be dumb enough to pay $19.95 to get what they can get for free at other sites: a referral to a rental agent.

As I read the Illinois Real Estate License Act, Renturway is operating as a “Broker” as defined in 225 ILCS 454/1-10. I can’t find any record of Renturway at the IDFPR license lookup site, nor can I find on the site the identity disclosures the Illinois Administrative Code requires from licensed brokers.

Jason Rowland, Renturway’s founder, is a licensed broker sponsored by FairGreeen Real Estate, and ought to be familiar with the law’s requirements.

Operating outside the law is also, sad to say, nothing remarkable in the world of Chicago rental services.

And having an ill-considered pitch boomerang on your client is nothing remarkable in the world of public relations.

Note: It’s our standing policy not to provide links to sites that we consider risky for consumers.

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