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Quinovic Te Aro scores own goal with online campaign – and apology

The Te Aro franchise of the Quinovic property management group has issued an apology after pulling a Facebook advertising campaign that attacked renters. But the apology has failed to satisfy many renters, landlords and members of the public offended by the campaign.

Quinovic Te Aro, which recently moved its office from Lambton Quay to Tory Street, ran social media advertisements promoting Quinovic as an expert at maximising returns from investment properties.

Using the slogan “Your tenants may hate us – you will love us,” it suggested that landlords were charging too little rent and financing their tenants’ social life, and claimed that Quinovic Te Aro would “man up” with tenants about rental payments.

The campaign was online for only a matter of hours before attracting outraged reaction.

Tenants rights group Renters United quickly organised a small protest outside Quinovic Te Aro’s Tory Street office requesting that the advertisements be removed.

Renters United are currently running a campaign to change New Zealand’s rental laws, which they describe as “broken”. You can read about The Plan to Fix Renting here: https://www.rentersunited.org.nz/plan/

Quinovic chief operating officer Paul Chapman who supervises 34 franchises nationwide, told Stuff yesterday that the Facebook campaign was “a local office initiative… (which does not) conform to our brand standards.”

Quinovic Te Aro removed the offending content within hours and issued an apology, which read:

“Quinovic Te Aro would like to wholeheartedly apologise for the recently released campaign. The message was not at all intended to be offensive towards tenants. Quinovic Te Aro highly values its tenants and once again we offer our sincere apologies for any offense this may have caused.”

But this failed to satisfy a number of commenters to the franchise’s Facebook page.

Mark Edward commented, “I think what you mean is “the adverts were not intended to be seen by tenants”. You guys have by far the worst reputation of any property management company in Wellington and these ads were a rare look at how you really think.”

Chelsea Putt was similarly scathing: “What a load of rubbish. The campaign absolutely reflected the horrible attitude you have towards tenants. You’re sorry you got called out on it.”

Others commented the the apology was insincere.

“You are only sorry that this backfired on you,” wrote Joseph Beckett. “Not that anyone was under any delusions anyway but you have shown your true colours.”

Leonard Frankell commented: “I don’t even know what the issue is, and I can tell this is a crap apology. Probably because it sounds like every other non-apology, in no way demonstrates any understanding of why you’ve upset people, just regret that your customers now don’t like you.”

And Lux Gertalot was of the opinion that “You’re only sorry because people complained. The people who thought this was a swell idea still work at Quinovic, and the mentality that is at the root of this campaign is still alive in your team.”

Renters said the campaign accurately reflects the attitude of the company towards renters.

Joe Hockley wrote, “I’m glad your horrible, bullying, petty and authoritarian company is finally being exposed for what it is, and that my horrible experience with your company and property managers was far from the only one.”

And Kevin Keane commented, “Having rented from you many years ago, I know this campaign directly represents your style and approach to tenants.”

The campaign and apology were also condemned by landlords.

“What an absolutely disgusting non-apology,” wrote Ross Tagye. “As landlords we’re ashamed to have anything to do with your company.”

Andrew Lamb commented: “This just adds to the list of complaints I’ve heard about Quinovic treating tenants like second class citizens. I just can’t believe you actually based a whole ad campaign around it, it’s gold! Guess which property manager my middle class house owning ass is going to be steering well clear of! Well played.”

Chris Walker called Quinovic the “worst agency I EVER dealt with as a tenant… as a landlord now of multiple properties, I will NEVER use this company.”

And Yvette Absalom, who had used Quinovic in the past to manage one of her properties, wrote, “I can guarantee I won’t be hiring them again. Absolutely disgusted.”

The criticism was not confined to Quinovic Te Aro.

“The message was obvious and clear, and there’s no walking back from it,” wrote Andrew Rowse. “Everybody involved in the choice to run that campaign is irredeemably horrible.”

Aaron J Smith wrote, “I think you should fire your marketing company. They couldn’t have done a worse job.”

Perception Group, the company that registered the domain names – beaman.co.nz, cheerstome.co.nz and hateusorloveus.co.nz – that were linked to from the Quinovic Te Aro Facebook page did not want to comment on their relationship with Quinovic.

But not all the feedback was bad for Quinovic.

On Twitter, Derek Jay Trapphaus posted: “I just want to say that I’ve been with Quinovic Vivian Street for over six years and haven’t had any problems. Not saying other franchises aren’t shitheads, but there’s at least one that’s alright.”