Archive for October, 2017

The Mysterious Mr. Lawyer in Czech Point 101

When talking about their work, seems every staff in Czech Point 101 likes to mention their lawyer. They always say “our lawyer”, but never mention the name. They will tell you their lawyer will do many things for you, and their lawyer charges hourly. Why? Because they want you to believe their lawyer is very capable and is very expensive, so you will feel worth it to pay their rather high fee.

Does Czech Point 101 really has lawyer(s)? Maybe. Will their lawyer actually work for your case? It depends. At least in my case, I can tell their lawyer (if does exist) doesn’t get involved at all. Because the seller already hired a lawyer, I guess Czech Point 101 thinks it is not necessary to have a lawyer on my side, and they wants to keep the cost down. What did they do? They tell me their lawyer has talked to the seller’s lawyer, they discussed for long time etc.. But when I asked the name of the lawyer, they just don’t answer, pretending they don’t see my question. I actually asked them twice, and they just don’t tell me the name of my lawyer. That makes this Mr. lawyer very mysterious: I don’t even know his name, and he was working so hard for me already. But wait, the “Fluent English-Speaking Attorney” is included in the Gold package, and that is cleared listed on their web page. How comes their lawyer doesn’t have direct contact with me? In this case, what is his fluent English for? You can never get the real answer from Czech Point 101’s stuff, and they just put their Mr. Lawyer behind them, and never let you reach him.

Fine, I can figure out by myself, just see how many work has been done by this Mr. Lawyer. Until the moment that my purchasing procedure is failed, I only received one copy of reservation contract via email, which was provided by the seller’s lawyer and got forwarded to me. How is it look like? Please see the figure below, it has only 3 pages, and only the second page has full of text.

Obviously this is a simple contract. I am not saying a reservation contract should be more complex, most probably 3 pages is good enough. Khuppi (Czech Point 101’s staff) told me their lawyer has reviewed this contract, and basically everything is OK, so I can just sign it and pay the deposit. But wait, before I paid that 50% of my gold package, Khuppi told me:

Khan Khup
As soon as you payment has comes our lawyer will check the land registry statement and will give us a list of documents to ask before signing the reservation contract.

Shouldn’t I check those documents before signing the reservation contract? If there is problem in some documents, isn’t that too late to find out if I already pay the reservation? More importantly, why Mr. lawyer doesn’t give me the list of documents to ask (and check)? Does he really work for me?

Anyway, Czech Point 101 just wants me to quickly go through the procedure, and they don’t really care if I am taking risk. I was very unsatisfied already, but what can I do? I already paid them 60,500 CZK, and I can’t change agent now. Having no other choice, I requested Czech Point 101 to ask for 4 documents from the seller:

  •     the latest extract from the Land Register
  •     the approval document for the reconstruction in year 2016
  •     the floor plan of the house
  •     the energy certificate of the house

I am no expert of real estate, these 4 documents are the only few that I know about and I think I should check. I felt so helpless, I paid them so much money and I was still on my own. This should be their lawyer’s work, not mine. But if I don’t do it, nobody will.

What happened next? I checked the energy certificate and noticed the energy level is actually class D instead of B. I think the seller’s advertising is false, as I saw three advertising of his house in 3 agent companies, and all of them clearly mentioned it is class B. On the other hand, I decided to buy the house with 100% my own cash, because I couldn’t get mortgage by now. Since their house has lower energy level, and I was buying with full cash,  I requested the seller to give me 100,000 CZK discount. Because of this, we didn’t reach an agreement and finally the seller went to another buyer.

So my super gold package could not continue, because the house is reserved by another buyer. I contacted Nathan Brown (the owner of Czech Point 101) and request for a refund. He replied and said:

Nathan Brown
We were already about 30% through the purchase process. Our attorney and Khuppi had already spent considerable time on the purchase. Because of this we agree to refunding 1/2 of the original payment. This means you would be paying for 25% of the entire purchase process.

That means they charge me 30,250 CZK for such kind of service. I don’t agree, because my “Fluent English-Speaking Attorney” hasn’t shown up yet, and I don’t see any reservation contract prepared by Czech Point 101, not to mention the English version. “Legal English Translation by State Recognized Legal Translator” is also included in my gold package, but they didn’t do this for me. It is quite funny that he said the process has been finished about 30%. I guess he meant it actually. The so-called gold package only includes three contracts: Reservation, Future Purchase and Purchase Agreements, and they think they are about to finish the first one. Knowing how they think about this, I think I was too stupid to pay them that much money for preparing three contracts. However, I haven’t seen the final reservation contract yet, neither Czech version nor English version, how comes they think it is almost finished?

I wrote back and told him I am totally not satisfied with Czech Point 101’s service, and I request him to refund me 50,000 CZK. I think it was a very reasonable request, as they don’t do much work anyway. Nathan just stopped answering my email since then. I wrote a short email to follow up, and he still didn’t reply, and that made me really angry. They think they hold my money and I can only accept their offer. But I guess I can do something else. I can expose them, and I can take legal action against them.

I wrote again, and explained why I am not satisfied, and tell them I will take legal action against them if they don’t fully refund me. This time he replied, and he said:

Nathan Brown
The two lawyers(Ours and the sellers) communicated directly, modifying both reservation and escrow contracts, requesting documents.
We communicated with him 24 hrs(even after working hours, late evenings and weekends).

What can I say? He is lying to my face. I can not imagine that two lawyers worked together on my 3-page only contract, and Czech Point 101 communicated with their lawyer for 24 hours. That reservation contract is only 3 pages, how long will two lawyer discuss on it? More importantly, if there were modification, how comes I never see any new revision of reservation contract? Did they really find something to discuss for 24 hours, while not letting me know what was it? That’s totally nonsense.

I seriously doubt if Czech Point 101 really has their dedicated lawyer. Even if they do, I don’t think their lawyer has been involved into my case at all.

Czech Point 101’s Tricky Pricing

Here I only want to talk about their “Closing Services”, as I don’t have a chance to try other services from them.

At the bottom of this page on their website, they list the pricing of their closing services:

There are two kinds of packages: Gold and Silver. Silver is cheaper but includes less services. If you just see the listed price on that page, they are really not much. However, please pay attention to those two small * signs, there is a comment with small font below, saying that is “for property values up to 3 000 000 CZK”.

Well, one of the * sign is placed on escrow (“jistotní účet” in Czech), which is understandable, because the bank usually charge 0.2%~0.3% of the property values for the escrow service. As for the other * sign, it is on their “Due diligence on Ownership and Contracts”. This is totally unreasonable, just want to ask them two questions:

  • Will the “due diligence on ownership” become more difficult, if the property value is higher?
  • Will the contract preparation become more difficult, if the property price is higher?

It is quite obvious that both answers are “NO”. However they charge more for buying property with higher values, even the work is totally the same. The worse thing is how they calculate the package price, if the house property value exceed the 3 000 000 CZK limit. This part is not mentioned at all on there web site. I know how they calculate it, because I purchased their Gold package once. They increased the package price by 1.2% of the house price above 3 mil CZK. Please notice, they are not increasing 1.2% of the package price, they are adding 1.2% of the house price above 3 million CZK!

Actual Package Price = Basic Package Price + (Property Price – 3,000,000) x 1.2%

This formula looks quite familiar, right? It is like a taxing system! The more you earn, the more tax you will pay! (the more expansive property you buy, the more you pay Czech Point 101)

In case you don’t have an idea how much the actual package price will be, please check out the table below:

Since I was trying to buy a house with price 10,550,000 CZK, they tell me that they will charge me 131,450 CZK+VAT!

I was shocked, how valuable their work would be, that they dare to charge me so much! I don’t agree with their pricing, I said this kind of calculation is not reasonable, but they don’t listen (Gin Khan Khup, the one who accepted my case, said it was the director who decide the price solely). After several emails, finally they agreed to offer me 100,000 CZK+VAT but without the escrow service from bank, and they also offer me to use their lawyer’s escrow account for free. If I knew how things will go at that moment, I will definitely refuse them and find another company (looking back now, I think their so call “lawyer” most probably does not exist, for me). However, there was another buyer who wants to buy that house, and I want to sign reservation with the seller ASAP. Being afraid of using another few days to find a new company and lose the house, I accepted their final price (100,000 CZK+VAT), and I paid upfront 50% (60,500 CZK) to their account.

So, I paid them 60,500 CZK without signing any contract with them. This is so wrong, but I did so because I trusted them by mistake. I was misled by those fake positive reviews on Internet.

What happened later? I didn’t sign the reservation with the seller (another buyer did). I will write another post with more details. Anyway, my closing service can not continue because the deal was off. I asked Nathan Brown (Czech Point 101’s director) for refund, he said they have spend “considerable” time on my case, and the purchase process has finished about 30%, so they can only refund me half of what I paid, which is 30,250 CZK. I don’t agree, because I don’t even see the final reservation contract yet, not even in Czech language, where did they spend their “considerable” time, and how comes the process has finished ~30%? I requested them to refund me 50,000CZK, and they just stop answering my email.

Who am I, and who is Czech Point 101?

I am Yun, a foreigner lives in Prague, Czech Republic. I am also a very unhappy customer of CZECH POINT 101 s.r.o. (Czech Point 101) and victim of their fraud.

CZECH POINT 101 s.r.o. is a real estate company in Czech Republic, which was founded in year 2005.

As of this writing (2017.10.16), if you search “Czech Point 101” on the Internet, you could hardly find a negative review for them. On Google Maps, they have many positive reviews (which are very abnormal, since a real-estate company should not gain that much 5-star review, afterall they are not offering the service for free). Although there are also a few negative reviews, Nathan Brown (Czech Point 101’s director) politely replied to those reviews and (seems) explained everything, which make people feel that negative review is just because of misunderstanding, or may be written by their competitors.

However, after using their service once, and made some investigations, I can tell Czech Point 101 is fraud, and all their positive reviews are fake: some of them are created by themselves, and others are created by SEO companies they hired.

By paying Czech Point 101 and hire a lawyer to send them pretrial, I lost 74,900 CZK in total. I did have a chance to settle with them and take back 50,000 CZK, but the condition is to erase all my negative reviews against them and promise not to write reviews for them in the future, so I refused it.

I decide to create this website, and warn people to avoid Czech Point 101 from the very beginning.