Her name is Erin Harper, but we’ll call her “Erring Erin Harper,” because erring seems to be her core competency.
Erring Erin is affiliated with Chicagoland Property Group (“CPG”), a firm we’ve called Craiglist’s worst apartment ad spammer. Erin Harper accounts for just over 10% of CPG’s abusively repetitive apartment ads at Craigslist. Type the following in your Craigslist search, and you’ll be spared having to see CPG ads: – “Chicagoland Property Group”
How does Erin err? Erring Erin errs in not complying with the Illinois Real Estate License Act (the “Act”) requirement that she have written authorization before advertising a property for rent. Erring Erin errs by pirating copyrighted photos from the properties she’s not authorized to advertise. Erring Erin errs by advertising as “available now” apartment types that aren’t currently available. Worst of all, from a renter’s standpoint, Erring Erin errs by quoting rents as much as $500 below actual rents, and she does it in quite a few ads. We’ve saved screen caps documenting a total of 66 unauthorized ads for four different properties. We encountered more in the course of scanning Erring Erin’s ads.
In our opinion, Jon Zolecki, CPG’s leasing manager, is a firm believer in the bait-and-switch school of advertising, and he appears to have found an apt pupil in Erring Erin Harper.
The Act imposes an obligation on Collin Walker, CPG’s managing broker, to supervise advertising by his agents. From everything I can see, Walker appears to be supervising his agents to scoff at the Act’s requirements for truthful advertising that’s authorized in writing by the advertised properties.
In previous posts we’ve written about Walker’s scofflaw mother Joi Walker, his scofflaw brother Kellen Walker, his scofflaw sister Cassi (Walker) Norman, his scofflaw leasing manager, Jon Zolecki and scofflaw agents Stephen Seitz and Michael Hawks. Joi Walker deleted all 684 of her Craigslist ads after our post. Kellen Walker deleted 55 of his but has since added more. Cassi (Walker) Norman has not posted ads since the date of our post and only 5 of her ads remain on Craigslist.
Cleaning up after his mother, brother, sister, Zolecki, Seitz, Hawks and Harper won’t be enough to protect Collin Walker’s managing broker license. We’ll be monitoring the sea of Craigslist spam ads generated by other agents at CPG. And, of course, Collin’s own online behavior. We’ll email links to this post to both Collin Walker and Erin Harper, with an invitation to respond in a comment.
It’s been our long experience that leasing agents who scoff at any legal or ethical obligation are likely to scoff at all of them.
Renters need to be aware that the only sure way to avoid the risk of falling victim to a scofflaw rental service leasing agent is to avoid all Chicago rental services and work directly with properties. YoChicago’s apartment reviews and lists make it easy for you to find an apartment in sought-after lakefront neighborhoods.
Scofflaw agents need to be aware that a Google search on their name by their mother, father, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, prospective social contact or employer, is likely to surface our post about them high on the first page of search results. If “Scofflaw” is personal branding that you cherish (and we know that some of you do), we’ll help your branding efforts.
Managing brokers at Chicago rental services need to be aware that we won’t be focusing all of our attention on Collin Walker / CPG. We’re documenting the abuses of agents in other firms, and will be making their managing brokers aware of them, and monitoring their subsequent behavior.