I have never posted anything on any of these consumer forums before--because I've never been screwed like we were today. So, for the first time I think it's important to share the complete picture of how not to do business. I'm a senior executive in a large ad agency and have a good reputation in the advertising industry. My wife and I are looking to cash out of our home of 7 years before the next bust from the looming commercial real estate crisis that's coming, so we found a rental managed by Merit Real Estate in Redondo Beach, California, on behalf of a property owner and have, for over two weeks, been engaged in getting documents in order, measuring elements of the house to make sure we had room for our existing stuff, and even bringing our two young girls over to make sure they liked the place (they loved it). I even met all the neighbors--so we were serious about taking the rental which was a lovely spot on a cul-de-sac in Redondo Beach where we live. So, the son of the owner of Merit, Rodman Amiri, and I have been in touch all week, with me asking questions about the lease (since it's been over 10 years since I've had to sign one) and today he mentioned that there was one more lease application coming in and he thought we should try to wrap things up quickly. So we acccelerated--within hours I had asked my final questions, we had pulled a cashiers check for the security deposit and had communicated that we were dropping it off the following morning. All seemed well. Within an hour my wife got an email from Rodman Amiri that his father had talked with the property owner (who may or may not be his father--we don't know) that they were accepting the brand new offer that came in (from people Rodman Amiri said that they did not even know and came from an outside realtor). Can you imagine our surprise when we heard this after two weeks of preparations and good faith discussions? In this era of transparency because of the Internet, you'd think people would be smarter about screwing over people today, either Merit, the Amiris or the investor who owns 320 N Francesca in Redondo Beach don't get it. Now, in the interest of telling a complete story so my integrity is intact, the other applicant wanted to move in immediately rather than in 3 weeks as we did, and the other applicant did not have an old dog. But at the same time the other applicant only gave a 2 year lease commitment rather than our 3 year lease and only $100 more. So something's fishy here. Watch out in your dealings with Merit--they offered nothing but "sorry, you were really nice people!"