• Action 9: Homebuyer loses $40,000 to builder for home he never got


    ORLANDO,Fla. - An Orange County man called Action 9 after he said he lost $40,000 trying to buy a new home. He claims Lennar Homes refused to refund his deposit when his financing fell through.

    Action 9's Todd Ulrich tracked down the builder in an effort to find answers.

    There was a moving truck in front of the new Lennar house that Hardat Rai was going to call home. It wan't moving his furniture in.

    “Someone's moving in?” asked Ulrich. 

    “Yes sir,” responded Rai.  

    “This was supposed to be your home,” said Ulrich.  

    “Yes sir. I put $40,000 down on this house here.” Rai said.

    He said that seven months ago he signed a contract with a contingency he had to sell his home first to qualify for financing.

    That didn't happen and then he could not get a loan. He said it was his understanding that his deposit would be returned.

    Instead, he said Lennar threatened to charge him $300 a day until he closed unless he canceled the contract and agreed to give up his $40,000 deposit.

    Rai said he and his wife felt trapped.

    “This $40,000 I lost just like that,” said Rai.

    Rai called Action 9 claiming the tactics crossed the line.

    Todd Ulrich caught up with the salesman, Steven Pellegrino.

    “He felt pressured into walking away from a $40,000 deposit,” said Ulrich. 

    “Really?” replied Pellegrino.

    “That's a lot of money for a home he'll never own,” continued Ulrich. 

    “Well, at this time I'll decline to speak on that,” said Pellegrino.

    Ulrich contacted Lennar's corporate office, which said when the contingency clause expired, the customer agreed to a cash deal.

    Rai said the salesman offered financing, and that was part of the deal. He also discovered new home contracts are written by builders, and when there's a dispute the consumer can be at risk.

    “You as a buyer have no protection with them,” said Rai.

    Lennar said all terms were fully disclosed.

    Consumer experts urge buyers to have an attorney or real estate agent review any new home contract.

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