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FirstService Why it is the worst management company

There are only 2 reviews of FirstService Residential, Palm Desert, thus I am using other locales to ferret out their business model plus their performance at here at Desert Willow.  Posted at http://healthfully.org/rwc/id9.html    3/2/18


Local management companies rated on Yelp.com  2/28/18

Whitestar Management got 4.5 stars 43 reviews

Desert Management got 3 stars, 35 reviews

Real Property Management Desert Cities got 4 stars 22 reviews

FirstService Palm Desert, 1 star 2 reviews.


FirstService Upland branch ONLY ONE POSITIVE RATING and eighteen 1-STAR—the lowest possible!  https://www.yelp.com/biz/first-service-residential-upland   2/26/18, 195 N. Euclid Ave, Upland Ca. 91786 909-981-4131 -- other locations got similar reviews!

Do I really have to give one star?! I CANT BELIEVE HOW THIS COMPANY STAYS IN BUSINESS! The Board and HOA staff lack common courtesy, rude, cutting people off while they talk, no manners whatsoever, use bad word like bullshit during board meeting because they do not like the complaint, pretend to care but do nothing to change it, ”   ----    And another review “THE WORST HOA COMPANY EVER. This company is terrible, terrible, terrible! If I could give it a 0 or even a negative star, I would.” 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Other locations (all I could find on Yelp) ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

FirstService Residential - 12 Photos & 69 Reviews - Property ... - Yelp

https://www.yelp.com › Home Services › Real Estate › Property Management  ---  Las Vegas  Rating: 1 star  ‎69 reviews  --- YES 69 Reviews and they averaged the bottom, 1 star

"Super not stoked at being charged extra to pay my HOA dues online. In today's day and age, it's unacceptable to be charged for paperless transactions. I also have a problem with the inconsistency with the…


First Service Residential - 29 Reviews - Property Management - 2950 ...

https://www.yelp.com › Home Services › Real Estate › Property Management --   Hollywood   Rating: 1.5 stars - ‎29 reviews

 Absolute worst, most unprofessional management company I have ever dealt with.
National Company. The company has been thrown out of many building nationwide.
I have heard horrendous stories as to why.


FirstService Residential - 35 Reviews - Property Management - 303 E ...

https://www.yelp.com › Home Services › Real Estate › Property Management  --  Chicago   Rating: 2 - ‎35 reviews

They've been our property manager for a few years and they're horrendous.  They're horrendous in nearly everything they do (except bill us) and I've also worked with them at the Board level. They don't respond to requests, don't get multiple bids, don't consider costs, don't maintain the property well, don't fix their mistakes, don't hold their people accountable, etc, etc, etc.   



4 Reviews of FirstService Residential. all 1 star.  1 Polaris Way, Aliso Viejo, Orange County, 92101



FirstService Residential 7801 Mission Center Ct. San Diego 92108 619-297-3818; 1 Review, 1 star

Typical yelp review:  “The worst HOA service company!  They have the most useless website.  To register, you need an access code which you need to call and obtain from customer service.  Then there is customer ID and password.  Making payment cost $3 and takes 3 business days to post!  To make an express payment costs $11 and still takes 1 business day.  Stay away from this company!”

While the complaints on YELP,com are mostly personal, it exposes how a national company works the HOA boards to do extras (not in their contract) to increase their profits.  To better understand their business model, I have provided a link to the BBC documentary on service businesses which “helps” cities cut costs—link last page.  It is part of a 4 series BBC series that exposes how large corporations work the public to increase profits irrespective of the consequences.  It is what I call corporate ethics.  Those businesses that help governments save money, they in their sales pitch use fear of waste and budget overruns and there “expertise” to fix problems.  This tactic works to create within government supporters for their service cuts and privatization, but at a cost to the public services and creating public anger.  The same is happening with HOA boards.  Please, watch the documentary and think of FirstService (FS).  

FirstService (FS) use fear of suits and state laws violations for which they offer “essential” protection.  They use making Desert Willow a more desirable place as a pitch, and our past problems as what they will prevent,  The reality—as I shall explain—with a 1-star Yelp national company is the opposite.  That is why they have the worst rating on Yelp of all property management companies. 

To start with, do you know of any local SIGNIFICANT cases that confirm their fear mongering over suites or penalties for state regulation violations?    FS’s business model parallels the BBC expose’ documentary.  Corporations have a fiduciary duty.  FS’s 1-star rating entails that they fit the corporate mode in the documentary—so many angry residents in the reviews.   Coachella Valley resident services are getting 3 and 4 stars—see above.  This difference in ratings is one BIG reason I have come to believe that FS through various services NOT included in our contract with them, that there will be a substantial increase in HOA fees:  fees for services.  FS, with board assent, has stopped repairs which our skilled residents were performing gratis.  (They also get a kickback from their list of preferred contractors.)  I also believe that the increase in HOA dues currently planned will not go into the kitty for major repairs, but will be used to cover their extras charges in the subsequent years.  Thus part of their model is to reduce the board’s role while increasing FS’s duties/extras.  They limited our choice of treadmill models to the most costly for our gym, limited what the social committee could do, and as just mentioned stopped residents from doing gratis repairs on HOA property.  The Architectural Committee has been supplanted by FS, and FS has last week sent out 200 violation letter, plus they charge $100 application fee for exterior changes including landscaping.  Surely there must be an extra charge for 200 violations and for every subsequent action.  (I have been put off twice when asking them about extras.) 

FS uses the fear of lower property values due to “unsightly units”; but what most effects property values is the HOAs fees compared to other communities:  buyers prefer a low rate.  Moreover, the opposite is true:  people want freedom to be creative as to the appearance their property.  The lack of choice is the most common reason why people won’t live in a community with an HOA.  Of course, those residents who don’t do basic repairs and grounds maintenance ought to be penalized, but are there 200 such issues?  The social life is another selling point, one which FS and 2 board members oppose with regulations. 

We need to be a community, and we don’t need FS to be our parent—a parent who is maximizing their profits through extra services, while dismantling the sense of community.   As a contractor I have worked with many communities in which their board and committees made all the decisions and I have lived since 2002 in 2 such developments without a management company, and their dues are very low. 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^  BBC Documentary referred to on first page a model of FS  ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Who’s Spending Britain’s Billions 56 min, 2,876 views, BBC, Jack Peretti investigating on consulting companies who promise community governments savings, and get a share of those saving plus fees for their services, but make things worse.  On NHS, Birmingham et al cities, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoadskHPGhE

Others all on marketing in the BBC series by Jack Peretti investigator are:  Part 1 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFUt1iGxPvE&t=53s 20 minutes; Part 2;  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2q3eZNVK4AI; 59 min; Part 3 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsor4xDdfnU  59 min.  ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^   Some of the board members believe that we don’t need a parent to regulate our activities while charging fees for their service not included in the contract.  FS has been selecting contractors from their list for maintenance, opposing us doing repairs, taking over the gate entry, basically replaced the Architectural Committee, and limited use of our kitchen. 

Cutting HOA fees and creating a sense of community through activities and services will make Desert Willow more desirable in a shopper’s market.  Some board members do not approve of the direction we are going under the leadership of FS.  Your views on this matter would be appreciated.  You can send emails to Carol Engen, your board member, at Desertwillowsactivities@gmail.com

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