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  • Landlords in Distress

    FBCF Developments - anyone had any dealings?

    Hi All,

    I'm planning to purchase a BMV property via a company called FBCF, which is an acronym for the last names of the 4 directors: Raymond Fullerton, Andrea Brocket, Estelle Chalmers and Bradley Foston.

    The arrangement is unusual in that the property is tenanted by "council tenants" who are coming to the end of their tenancy, and the door number cannot be made known until a 1% holding fee is paid, after which the tenant is given notice. Once the tenant has vacated, the property can be inspected and valued. The 1% is full refundable. I've done some online DD, and couldn't find any information that gave me reason for concern, but aside from one positive review late 2018, neither could I find sufficient information to put my mind fully at ease!

    So I thought I'd put some feelers out before proceeding too far... Thanks in advance.

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    A few concerns:

    - How can you evaluate a deal if you do not know the property or it's value?  You should not have to pay upfront to get the details required for you to evaluate a potential purchase.

    - It is easy to say that a deposit is refundable, it is often not so easy to actually get it back!  You need to read the fine print of the agreement as it is likely to include a number of hooks that enable them to avoid refunding the holding deposit.

    - I think it would be reasonable for you to sign a confidentiality agreement before they disclose the door number - that would make more sense and is what I would expect from a reputable operator.

    - How do you know it is BMV if it is not being valued until the tenant has vacated?

    - Are there any special conditions relating to evicting 'special  needs council tenants'?  There is also the moral issue of whether you are comfortable evicting tenants with special needs.  Sometimes there is more to life than just making money, but everyone has to follow their own moral compass on that.

    There are a few alarm bells ringing.  Personally I would not pay a penny until I had all the information I needed to evaluate whether or not I wanted to purchase the property.

    Best of luck!


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    Alarm bells ringing for me as well.

    I don't like the business model of evicting a special needs tenant.  It sounds a bit too mercenary for my liking and you need to understand how this is being structured.

    It may be that this company buy the property with the tenant in situ at a discount, or negotiate to buy it, and then sell it on at a higher price with vacant possession, having got rid of the tenant.

    A quick look at their website also reveals a degree of non-compliance.  There is no independent redress scheme membership displayed, nor is there a client money protection scheme registration. These are both mandatory requirements when introducing a buyer to a seller or letting/managing properties on behalf of a landlord.

    The company was incorporated in November 2017 but no financial data is displayed on duedil.  The four company directors only have the one company to their name i.e. no prior history of Directorships to establish any kind of track record.

    Properties are BMV for many reasons - some good, some bad.  You need to understand if this property really is below market value, and, if so, the real reason why?

    See - What's your BMV ... ?

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    First time I'm posting here as I was doing some DD on FBCF.

    They are offering their properties in exactly the way you have described. I have parted with some money and they are making excuse after excuse of why they are not returning the funds. (*Moderator note: Content removed*).

    I was introduced to their representative Debbie Bryan from Swindon who had a FBCF email address but I subsequently found out she was only a sourcer.

    Any other comments or dealings would be much appreciated.

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    Hi Vijay and welcome.

    Please could you be a bit clearer on your interactions with this company?

    It would appear that you purchased something and now you are seeking a refund?

    What did you purchase?  How much did you pay?  How was the investment sold to you?  Why are you asking for a refund?  Did they agree to a refund but are now appearing to reneg on that?

    Please give some detail as you've jumped straight to wanting a refund without explaining what has gone wrong.

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    Hi Vanessa,

    I first met Debbie Bryan in Swindon in March. She was looking to sell a portfolio of 95 properties in & around London. All the properties were being offered at 25% BMV and required different levels of refurbishment. All were being rented by local authority tenants with special needs. I carried out DD on the company and directors but no adverse information came up. On the other hand, I couldn't find much information overall. The documents they did supply were professionally presented so seemed to be Bona Fide. I also put their names out there to property groups but no adverse information came back.  

    She was asking for a reservation fee of 2% of the purchase price for each property which I subsequently reduced to £1K. So I paid them £9K for 9 properties in April.

    I was then dealing directly with Bradley Foston only by email, one of the Directors of FBCF. I did ask Debbie if I could speak with Bradley over the phone a number of times but apparently he was in New York on buisness and not easily contactable. Every time I phoned the number given by Debbie it was switched off. Every time I phoned their office number no one answered.

    I had no reason to doubt it was a scam as I was dealing with both Debbie and Bradley on a regular basis and I had met Debbie twice in person. All correspondence seemed to be geuine. We all know this is a small world dealing in property and if you were to scam someone, it normally comes out very quickly so I continued, not thinking they would ruin their reputation for £9K. The thought did cross my mind they could be doing this to other people and as a result could scam a hell of a lot of money but their window to achieve this wouldn't be long as they would be exposed quite quickly.

    I became suspicious when we were due to start the project and I received an email from Bradley stating one of their main investors had a death in the family and as a result they would have to offer the investor's reserved units back in the market. As a typical scammer would do, the email was worded for me to quickly reserve these new properties by paying the reservation fee. Even at this stage I wasn't 100% certain whether it was a scam or not but I started to become suspicious. I didn't pay any further monies.

    My fears were confirmed when the directors and FBCF were mentioned as a possible scam in a Linkedin post.

    I immediately asked for my money back and the excuse came back that the person responsible for the accounts would give the refund after they 'returned' from holiday not providing any info on when they would return from holiday. I asked the question of when exactly will I get my money back and they have been silent ever since. Ignoring all communication attempts.

    As I voluntarily paid them money (I know I should have paid to a solicitor to hold but they said they needed payment direct only), the only way forward is to take them to court as ia civil dispute.

    After further DD I have come to find the following people are connected in some manner to FBCF; Debbie Bryan, Bradley Foston, Jack Simmonds, Andrea Brocket, Estelle Chalmers, Raymond Fullerton.

    In summary;

    I don't belive Debbie Bryan knows it's a scam as I don't believe she has the intellect to pull off such an elaborate scam. I believe whosever's behind this is using her

    I don't belive Bradlley Foston lives in New York. I think he's using that name as an alias & probably lives somewhere in the UK

    I still can't find any solid information on any of the directors. I've found Jack Simmonds on Facebook today listed as a director of FBCF when he's clearly not listed as one on companies house

    I don't think the other directors listed in companies house are real peolpe or are using aliases

    I think the positive reviews on Glassdoor & Trustpilot are all fake as I couldn't find any of the reviewers online

    One more disturbing fact; the only Raymond Fullerton born in October 1957 (as per companies house) I could find is one that died in 2016 in Northern Ireland. I hope they aren't doing what I think they're doing.

    I will go through the courts but I don't think I'll get any money back. In fact I think I'll be paying good money after bad so I might have to put it down to experience.

    Other than the adverse information on LinkedIn nothing substantial has still come up anywhere on the net which I'm quite surprsised about. The only thing I can think of is like me, as I'm involved in property, people don't want to put their names out there that they have been scammed affecting their own reputation.

    Moral of the story; if it looks too good to be true.....

    Hope that helps anyone doing their DD on FBCF in the future.

    I will update here as & when.

    Vijay

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    I know nothing of this company but I am intrigued when you said you did DD on companies house before going ahead in March.

    There was a first gazette for compulsory strike off in January, although discontinued also in January.   A red flag of sorts I would have thought?

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    I did know about the compulsory strike off but this sounds much harsher than it actually is. It's a process initiated by Companies House due to non-filing of accounts or annual confirmation statement. It's happened to me before on my own LTD company as we didn't provide the annual confirmation statement but as soon as we did, this was reversed. This doesn't involve any money transactions, rather an admin paperwork excercise.

    At the time, I didn't think much of it and in hindsight yes, should have been a red flag of some sort.

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    Good evening,

    My name is Bradley Foston. I am one of the directors of FBCF Developments.

    As Vijay has correctly pointed out, a refund request was sent to Andrea Brocket to deal with upon her return from holiday.

    Our deposit agreement clearly states that refunds will not be made if a purchaser decides to withdraw prior to viewing the property. However, we have made an exception in this case.

    There is a very good reason why we have not replied to Vijay's recent emails. They have been abusive and threatening, containing a lot of foul language. The Police have been in touch with him about this.

    One particularly nasty WhatsApp message was from him threatening to harm a young child.

    Please send us an email if any of you require proof of either the above, or of our credibility and ability to sell these properties.

    Despite all this, we are still prepared to draw this to an amicable resolve, forgive & forget, and put what has happened behind us.

    My feelings are that once Andrea gets back and processes his refund, then Vijay's unpleasant and unacceptable behaviour will cease.

    I would also like to take this opportunity to inform you that most of the content in his recent posts is factually incorrect.

    Thank you for your time.

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    Bradley, kindly contact me on gustavbasch@gmail.com, as neither Debbie nor Colleen are answering my calls or emails.

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    Hi Bradley,

    Thank you for joining the conversation.

    First of all, Property Tribes has a fair and proven Complaints Procedure and I invite you to use it so that the moderator can take the appropriate action.  This site  endeavours to host factual commentary and will remove false or unsubstantiated commentary, and you can assist with that by advising the moderator which bits are incorrect - unfortunately he can't guess, so you have to be specific.

    Also, while you are here, please can you advise your independent redress scheme membership and which client money protection scheme you are a member of, along with registration numbers?

    You have both made some serious allegations and it is clear that this relationship is beyond being repaired. For what it is worth,  I recommend that you contact Vijay privately and resolve it with him and ask him to report back here when he has received his refund.

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