Problem Solvers: Realtor Takes Couple’s Deposit

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It's one of those problems that began online. To be exact, on CraigsList where Michael Zacker and his very pregnant wife were searching for a place to rent in Johnson County. They found a house in Gardner, Kan. offered by a local company called Realty Concepts.

Since the Zackers were living out-of-state at the time, Michael Zacker's mother decided to check out the house for them. Ontario Marshall, the owner of Realty Concepts, showed it to her. The Zackers decided to rent it and paid a $1,550 deposit.

All appeared well until two weeks before they were scheduled to move in and Zacker tried to have the utilities switched to his name.

The utilities refused because other owners hadn't notified the utilities they were moving. Concerned that the owners had not notified the utilities they were moving, Zacker tried contacting  Ontario Marshall. Zacker said it took a week for Ontario to return his call and that's when he learned that the house would not be available for at least another 3 weeks.

Zacker said Ontario tried to interest him in a different property at a higher price, but he refused and asked for $1550 deposit back. Ontario Marshall never sent it.

"I called him," said Zacker. "Sent him a text message. Sent him an email and I called him every day since and he won't answer my phone calls."

That's when Zacker called Problems Solvers. What we found out about Ontario Marshall wasn't good. He's a Missouri realtor who has changed the name of his business nine times, according to the Secretary of State's office. Plus, according to court records, he's been sued more than 20 times and has a string of bad debts.

FOX 4 tried tracking Ontario down at his Plaza office, but discovered he's never there. Because it's a virtual office where he pays a monthly fee for someone to answer the phone and forward his mail.  Ontario never returned our multiple phone calls. We wanted to know why the Zackers never got their deposit back and why the owners are still living in that supposed rental house two months later.

But after FOX 4  Problem Solvers got involved, Ontario Marshall did send a check for $550 to the Zackers. He still owes them another $1,000. The Zackers have filed a complaint with the Johnson County District Attorney's office, the Kansas Attorney General and the licensing board for realtors. We'll let you know what happen.

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