Has the Government put Rick Otton’s book in all the libraries?

Rick Otton and his students go to great lengths to show how “rent to buy” strategies are accepted – even supported – by Government, the Courts and the banks.

Most of these claims are probably inconsequential in their own right, but it appears that they aim to build up a picture of strategies that are ‘mainstream’ and safe.  The risk is that some people confidently put these strategies into action, and find out too late that some aspects of the practices have not been fully tested in the Courts and are open to challenge.

book in libraries

Here is just another example where Otton claims in 2013 that the Government put his book “How to Buy a House for $1″  in all libraries, and says “they appreciate progress”.   Replies to his post on Facebook include “Awesome”, “fantastic Rick, great success”, and “outstanding”.

Admittedly, the Trove service is created and maintained by the National Library (an Australian Government institution), but that is where Government involvement ends.

According to the Trove website it “provides access to more than 380 million resources” with a link to Australia including books, newspapers, journals and websites.

I probably don’t need to go any further to suggest that it would be physically impossible for Government to make a value judgement on each of the 380 million resources on Trove, which as well as Otton’s book include books supporting Scientology, Creationism, and 9/11 conspiracy theories!

Otton is correct however, in noting that his book is available to borrow from some public libraries.

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So what does a ‘peak body’ do anyway?

Last year the Federal Government cut funding to some peak bodies, including bodies representing disability and housing services. It may initially appear sensible to make funding cuts to ‘peak bodies’ that don’t usually provide direct services to clients – but these bodies indirectly help disadvantaged people in ways that individual services can’t.
I’d like to share as an example, the work of one peak body I am familiar with – Financial Counselling Australia (FCA).  To date FCA receives funding from Government to employ just over 2 FTE positions; however its funding position beyond June 2015 is unclear. Continue reading

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Publicity Monster finally pays up

See previous post for background.

In June 2014, the Victorian Tribunal (VCAT) waived any obligation for my friend L’s business to pay $3,030 to Publicity Monster (PMAU) and ordered PMAU to refund to L the $1,317.80 he had paid them.  Publicity Monster is part of the Search Results Group and a business name of PMAU Pty Ltd. Continue reading

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When the going gets tough, the tough get …evasive?

How have prominent rent-to-buy figures responded to challenges?

facebook comment re we buy houses   The rent-to-buy industry has faced some challenges over the past few years, including negative media coverage, attention from regulators and a series of prosecutions. Continue reading

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Publicity Monster customers get more than they bargain for

For a change, this post isn’t about rent-to-buy property.

New: If you would like some legal information about running a similar case, send me an email (see the “about” page for my email address) or leave a comment (I won’t publish your comment) and I will send you a document by email.

This is about one person’s dispute with online marketing/SEO business  Publicity Monster (PMAU), in the hope that it might help others in a similar situation. For more about complaints regarding PMAU see hundreds of comments on the Whirlpool Forum here. Continue reading

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Rent-to-buy selling techniques

This post is about selling techniques taught by Rick Otton.  While not all rent-to-buy operators would use these techniques, it is likely that they are used widely in the industry. Many – perhaps most – of the people in this industry have done Otton’s training at some stage. Even those who haven’t are often taught or mentored by Otton students.

There is little doubt that Otton is a great salesman. He worked in the early days with body language expert and author, Allan Pease. He has written books such as ‘How to Handle Objections’, and ‘Killer Seller Responses when Negotiating a House for £1.’ and contributes to the workshop and home study course ‘The Habits of Master Persuaders’.

Otton builds rapport with his students – who pay thousands of dollars to attend his seminars, and some continue to pay many thousands more for his mentoring years later.

In one of his videos, a number of past students are very emotional about the difference that Otton’s training has made to their lives. However, I can’t help wondering whether the transformation is one where some students who have been doing it tough – under financial pressure themselves – feel they have now gained some control because they are now able to persuade others who are in a desperate financial situation and make money out of others in hardship.

Hearing Otton talk about channeling people into the direction that you want and controlling people’s responses, makes me wonder whether any of the hundred or so seminar attendees question why this is necessary if the strategies are, as he claims, “win-win”. Do the students ever question the morality of what he teaches? Given the feeling in the room, and what appears to be idolisation of Otton, I suspect not – at least not at his seminars. Continue reading

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Rent-to-buy houses – is it legal?

While a number of rent-to-buy websites respond “yes”, this question could refer to any one of many different transactions. The term “rent to buy” is used for various combinations and structures of contracts including options to purchase, tenancy agreements, terms sales and joint venture agreements. The transactions can involve intermediaries playing various roles, and use “innovative” marketing and persuasive selling techniques.

A number of legal cases show that when rent-to-buy matters come before courts or tribunals, decisions may be made about whether parties have appropriate credit and estate agent licences,  whether advertising and representations breach the Australian Consumer law, whether an individual contract is unjust as a result of the facts surrounding the agreement, about the validity of the written contract and whether a owner must pay interest on option payments made by the ‘buyer’.  (See links page for some more cases)
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