When I was searching for apartments in Amsterdam and Utrecht, I discovered a website called Nestpick. For those of you who haven’t heard of Nestpick, it’s a site that lets you look for rooms online that are placed on the website by “verified” landlords. If you find one you like, you pay a deposit on the room and the landlord has 48 hours to make an approval. If approved, you’re set to move in and Nestpick transfers your deposit to the landlord. If unapproved, then Nestpick refunds your deposit and you can apply for another room.
The concept of Nestpick is great since you’re not required to see the room in person or meet the landlord beforehand. For those people moving to a new city or country, this concept can be a lifesaver when looking for accommodations without stress since you’re in a different country or paying hefty realtor fees.
When I first started to use Nestpick, in the beginning they seemed like a great company. I applied to a few different rooms in Amsterdam and while I didn’t get accepted to the rooms I applied for (competition for rooms in Amsterdam is just crazy), I would get emails from different reps from Nestpick offering to help me find a place and let me know that they will do their best to make sure I find a room.
Sounds great, right?
After I decided that finding a room in Amsterdam was impossible, I applied for a room in Utrecht. A few hours later, I got an accepted offer from the landlord, and that was where the problems began…
First of all, Nestpick sent me the contact info for the landlord so I can get in contact to arrange my move-in. Right away I noticed that the renter’s name was “Betty Chang” but the email was associated to someone called “Frank Toney.” Since the names didn’t add up, I immediately felt suspicious.
I did a quick google search and there are literally pages of results pointing to Betty Chang as the worst landlord in Utrecht. There were blogs, newspaper articles and forum threads warning you to stay away from her to even YouTube clips of local news segments of her being confronted by reporters.
In fact, she’s been sued many times for malpractice and people posted warnings to stay away from her because she would pull tricks like not returning your deposit money or charging you random fees that she claimed were set by the city. In fact, her name has such a bad rep in the city with many people refusing to work for her that she now has a Frank Toney working for her.
First thing I thought after reading all of that was how Nestpick, who claims to “authorize” all their landlords could have allowed someone with such a bad reputation list rooms on their website. How did they not find her suspicious when within a few minutes of seeing her name, I could pull up pages of evidence pointing against her?
Evidently, I didn’t want to rent from this lady after reading so many horror stories, so I decided to contact Nestpick, thinking that they would be more than supportive in this special situation.
One thing I have to say is that those reps on Nestpick that you can chat with on their website are absolutely horrible people. You might as well be talking to a wall. I mostly chatted with Dana and Leonardo , so if you ever get these reps, run far far away.
When I explained my situation, it was evident they could care less.
They stated things about how they were unable to refund my deposit (which was over 600 euros) until I physically moved into my apartment and then during the first three days, if things weren’t as I expected, I *may* be eligible to receive a refund. Well I understood that was just part of their company policy, you would think they would look into this case deeper and make an exception for my case, where the tenant is documented to be a known scammer. It wasn’t that I wanted to break my contract because I changed my mind about the room, but because the landlord I’m about to rent a room from is a notorious scammer.
There’s a big difference there, Nestpick!
Dana, actually at one point, just left the chat while I was talking to her. I know customer service isn’t as encouraged in Europe, but in North America, she wouldn’t even get a job at McDonalds with that attitude. I’d also like to point out that I wasn’t rude to these reps at any point. In fact, I had to try really hard to maintain my politeness.
Leonardo, at first seemed helpful, telling me that he’ll contact the accounting department and figure out a way to cancel my contract and help me refund my deposit. He said was talking to them now and will email me once it’s done.
Great! I though, except a couple hours later when I still haven’t heard from him, I found him on the live chat and asked him for updates, only to have him say that he never talked to accounting because their company policy was that refunds are only given after a person moves into an apartment, which doesn’t apply in my case. Like what?! You just told me you were working on processing my refund!
After lots of effort, one of the reps finally gave me the email of one of their supervisors, Linda. So I emailed her and she replied with this:
Hmm seriously?! So her response to all the articles and websites documenting this tenant’s malpractice is that it should be fine since all those articles I found date to only 2012 so they’re “quite old.” Instead she suggested that I move in first, and then file a complaint if I have a problem with it within the first three days.
Well first of all, I can’t afford to move to a new country into an apartment I know is sketchy, then file a complaint, and then be without an apartment while I wait for this complaint to settle and to get my deposit back. It’s pretty horrible after all this discriminating evidence toward the landlord, she would still side with her.
Nestpick even stated on their website:
“This provides tenants with a wide variety of available properties to choose from and a secure way to put down a deposit for their next home, avoiding scammers and fraudulent landlords.”
So much for avoiding scammers.
At this point I was so frustrated that I decided the only option left would be to contact the landlord, who turned out to be as sketchy as every google article detailed. For example, she stated that no room was saved for me unless I pay her two months deposit which should be transferred to her before I moved-in. I explained that I already paid the deposit through Nestpick and that Linda even stated that the room was reserved for me.
Well apparently to her, the room wasn’t reserved until I paid the two months deposit no matter how much I paid to Nestpick. She then also mentioned all these random additional fees I had to pay although they weren’t mentioned in the original listing.
I then emailed Linda the Nestpick supervisor a couple more times, which of course SHE NEVER RESPONDED. At that point, I was going crazy and even contacted the City of Utrecht to see what my options were at this point.
After several attempts to reach out to Nestpick, I discovered that Linda’s phone number was listed in her email signature, so I called her and after a lengthy conversation, finally convinced her to cancel the contract and have my deposit be refunded to me.
So in the end, everything worked out, but not without A LOT of effort on my part to convince these people that a supposedly “verified” landlord on their website is actually a scammer, even despite all the MOUNTING PROOF I had from news channels and newspaper articles that documented her malpractices.
With that said, I will never use Nestpick again and I’ve passed this story down to all my friends to avoid this site as well. It’s a shame because the idea behind it is great, but at the end of the day, if a company mistreats their customers this badly and won’t stand behind them, then I will avoid them like the plague.
Anyway, I apologize for such a long rant as I normally don’t post articles like this! However, I definitely think sharing this Nestpick experience with you guys might be helpful.
I’m not here to discourage anyone from using Nestpick, especially since I’m sure there are loads of people who have had positive experiences through them in finding rooms. However, if you do use Nestpick, be aware not all of their supposedly verified landlords are safe.
Have you guys ever used Nestpick?