A notice in the mail to some homeowners in Thornton scared some into thinking they were the victims of a trick.
The post card went out from a company called “We Buy Homes Denver.” On the front side, it says “City of Thornton” and lists possible violations including delinquent taxes, neglected property and vandalism fines. On the back, the card explains that the company wants to buy homes for cash to help avoid paying possible fines or fees.
9NEWS spoke to a homeowner who received the card but asked us not to use her name. She says she thinks her family was targeted because of their age. She was worried it was a trick to get her to sell her home for cheap.
“It’s a violation all the way around,” the homeowner said. “How dare they use that and say it’s a violation when they’re violating.”
The company says they are not real estate agents and making private real estate investments is legal. The president Jason Dobbins said he was aware of the “shock and awe” factor of the fliers. He thinks the cards are clear about the purpose of the business and the goal was to get homeowners’ attention.
The City of Thornton took quick action to get its name off the cards. A city attorney sent a letter this week to Dobbins asking him to stop using “City of Thornton” on the fliers.
“If there was any reason we were buying a house, it would be a whole different process,” City of Thornton Communications Director Todd Barnes said. “You wouldn’t get a scary post card from us. We would have somebody contact you directly, probably knock on your door and talk to you.”
The city says the official city logo would be on official letters. Barnes also said even the logo can be faked. If you’re ever questioning a letter or notice, he encourages you to call the city directly.
The Thornton homeowner says she’s glad she called the city to check on her property.
“Don’t trust anybody,” she said. “Always call and verify, just like I called and I made sure the source knew what was going on. You don’t just accept something like that. You call and you verify it.”
The Better Business Bureau says Dobbins’s company is an accredited business with no reportable complaints. Dobbins says they have been buying abandoned, damaged and problem homes since 2008. He says the goal is to help people get cash for homes when working with a real estate agent isn’t their best option.
The Better Business Bureau is investigating the legality of fliers like this one.