Mark Sawyer Of Property Association Has Threatened To Take Legal Action Against Me

Now, this is an interesting/concerning situation. It’s a bit long winded, but I’ll try to be to-the-point.

Just to clarify, writing this blog post is going to be a real struggle, like 50 Cent when he was growing up in the hood. I’m going to hold back a lot of my usual obscenities, just to keep shit legit.

Well, yeah, Mark Sawyer Of Property Association has threatened to take legal action against me over a comment someone else left on my blog. Someone called “Phil” labelled Mark as a liar, which Mark felt was slander. Apparently I could be in legal trouble for that, which I find a tad unfair. People chat shit about me all day, and it harms my reputation, but it doesn’t really bother me. It’s life as far as I’m concerned.

It all started in this article, Be Careful Of Property Associations, where I copy/pasted a negative comment left by someone in a forum thread that had a negative experience with a Property Association company. My message was simple- be careful when dealing with property associations (no company in particular- just the general concept of the scheme), because they’re not plain sailing money-making opportunities as some people believe them to be.

For those unaware, these types of companies find discount investment off-plan property, which give homebuyers instantly high equity.

Since posting that article, words have been exchanged in the comments section by particular individuals. The situation quickly turned nasty. I wasn’t actually aware of the banter- I don’t moderate comments because I don’t have the time to, especially because I’m a part-time blogger, consequently spend days absent from the internet. What can I say? I’m just a part-time geekaziod.

On the 11th of March I received 9 formal emails from Mark between the times of 1pm and 9pm, some of which implied that legal action against me was on the cards if I didn’t comply with this his demands. That’s 9 EMAILS in the space of 8 hours!! Some were duplicated, but were sent on different times, so I’m assuming he was resending the emails to make sure I got the message LOUD AND CLEAR.

I, of course, was oblivious to all of this, because as usual I didn’t finish work until 5pm, and that particular night I had a football match after work, so I didn’t get through my front door until about 21:00. I checked my email inbox at about 21:30, only to see an array of emails from Mark.

What was most alarming is that his first email was sent at 13:45pm, where he shapely explained the situation and asked me to remove the article before the close of business, and also to hand over contact details of Phil (the guy who left the slander). He emailed me again at 16:11, giving me a, I quote, “FINAL WARNING” to remove the entire page by 17:30, otherwise he maybe forced to get a court injunction against me.

Bear in mind, I hadn’t even read any of the emails until 21:30, let alone the “final warning” which was sent 3 hours after the first email. Out of curiosity, is a 3 hour gap between the first email and a “final warning” appropriate or even normal? I thought it was extremely unfair. At LEAST give me 24 hours to respond to the first email.

In my opinion, the saddest part about it is that he didn’t even approach me in a respectable manner. He just went all guns blazing with legal jargon, telling me what I should be doing and by when. I felt like I was being bullied. Had he have been a little more courteous and explained the situation to me (the situation i wasn’t even aware of) calmly and respectably, then the situation could have been a lot more easier/friendlier. I would have rather worked with Mark on this, to tackle the issues, as opposed to working against him. Ironically, on his website, there’s a quote from him, which says the secret sauce to his success is highly based on attitude. To quote, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference” Right, of course.

After playing catch up (after reading his emails and the comments left on the page), I actually realised what the deal was. I immediately got in touch with my solicitor for legal advise, and then responded to Mark’s email. I asked him to tell me precisely what specific parts of the page he had a problem with. I told him I would remove anything which comes under slander. I had no problem with that at all. I don’t want any illegal practises on my site, nor do I want anyone wrongfully accused of anything, including Mark.

Do you know what he responded with? He emailed me definitions of “slander” and “defamation” which he had copy/pasted from somewhere online, told me the specific problems with the content, and then told me to remove the entire page- because that was the only suitable solution.

I haven’t removed the article because I don’t feel I have to, and it certainly isn’t the only suitable solution as far as I’m concerned. I did, however, change every aspect of the page Mark had a problem with, all with in 24 hours of Mark telling me what the specific problems were. I think I’ve been more than accommodating, especially since I felt like someone was bitterly barking orders at me, without an ounce of common courtesy. Obviously I want to resolve the issue without any legal proceeeings, because I can’t imagine anyone likes playing dodgeball with the legal system, but Mark seems adamant for me to remove the entire article, which I’m reluctant to do.

I have nothing against Mark or his company, that’s why this has caught me off guard. I didn’t see any of this coming, and to have 9 emails somewhat relating to legal prosecution was unexpected. A simple, “Hey, what’s up? My name’s Mark. There’s a small issue on your site, so I was wondering if you could help me out…etc”, would have been a lot more well received. Go figure, aye?

Is this what humanity has really boiled down to- “fuck the pleasntries, I’m going to threaten you with legal action?” It seems ridiculous to me. This isn’t just about me, it’s a lot bigger than me, this is about bloggers all over the globe and freedom of speech. I don’t think anyone should have to be bullied, worried, or threatened by legal action in these circumstances. I didn’t even say anything wrong, it was someone else- and I rectified the issue as soon I was clearly explained what the problem was.

I’ve been reading around online, and I’ve managed to find bloggers who have found themselves in similar situations. The most famous case being Aaron Wall, from SEObook. Aaron actually won his case, so congratulations to him. More recently, another hugely popular blogger, Shoemoney (page has since been removed, but it was regarding Disa Johnson and Heather Lloyd Martin legal action).

Anyone’s support in this situation would be much appreciated. EVERYONE wish me luck, please =/

Like this post? Then maybe you should sign up to my FREE newsletter so you receive more like it!

25 Comments- Join The Conversation...

Guest Avatar
Jools 15th March, 2009 @ 11:40

Fuck him! What an arrogant little arse - obviously (allegedly) business is so bad he has plenty of time to sit around sending you emails. For you to give him the details of the offending person would surely be a breach of the data protection act if indeed it covers the internet.

I reckon that you acted in a timely manner once you had been made aware of the offending article given that you were away from the 'office'.

Just goes to show that some people are (allegedly)far too sensitive to be sucessful in business and have no sense of humour or reality at all. Great advert for his business dont you think? I certainly want to do business with an (alleged) narrow minded pin headed bottom feeding pond-dwelling arse.

Power to the people!

Oh - did I say fuck him?(allegedly). Keep up the great site and keep on blogging!

Jools

To be clear this comment is my own personal view and not the expressed or implied view of the author of the original article.

1
The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 15th March, 2009 @ 19:35

Hey Jools,

My solicitor actually told me NOT to hand over any details because it could land me into serious trouble, and I also have a disclaimer saying that no one's email address would be shown in public, which self-implies I wouldn't be handing it to 3rd parties.

I explained that to Mark, but his response was, "your disclaimer would be fairly useless in a court of law". I was actually more concerned about the data protection act, as you just said.

Many thanks for the support, much appreciated.

P.s thanks for your final disclaimer :)

2
Guest Avatar
Jools 16th March, 2009 @ 10:40

Sounds like a lot of sabre rattling to me - he obviously does not understand the way blogs operate or the fact that publicity be it good or bad is still publicity!

Just keep on doing what you are doing and let him spend his money on legal teams. You have done all you can to prevent malicious falsehood by removing the offending article. He obviously does not understand the difference between slander and libel either so perhaps he should go and look it up!

Did I say fuck him?

Jools

To be clear this comment is my own personal view and not the expressed or implied view of the author of the original article.

3
Guest Avatar
Paul Helburt 16th March, 2009 @ 12:11

Hey Landlord,

You have nothing to worry about. This whole thing seems ridiculous because it is ridiculous. He'll waste his time and money going after you.

He certainly has no rights to get any information of any of your contributers. He clearly doesn't understand the data protection act legislation. What he said about your disclaimer being useless in the court of law is nonsense.

Case in hand:
http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/03/02/1621228

"The court overturned an earlier ruling that would have required NewsZap.com to turn over the names of anonymous posters who posted negative remarks about the cleanliness of a Centreville Dunkin' Donuts."

Good luck.

To be clear this comment is my own personal view and not the expressed or implied view of the author of the original article.

4
Guest Avatar
darren 17th March, 2009 @ 08:34

lol if his legal team tells him he actually has a case it's because they want his money.
----
To be clear this comment is my own personal view and not the expressed or implied view of the author of the original article.

5
Guest Avatar
Jools 17th March, 2009 @ 09:42

Solicitors wanting money - now thats a unique thought! lol!

6
Guest Avatar
louise butler 17th March, 2009 @ 19:45

I hope he realises he's accusing you of "libel" and not "slander" or "defamation"

Ironic that he sent you the definitions.

7
Guest Avatar
GillsMan 18th March, 2009 @ 01:14

Louise is totally correct, and I only logged on to post that! Grrrr. In laymen's terms, slander is defamation when it's spoken, libel is defamation when it's written. So he should have been accusing you/the other guy of libel, not slander.

Landlord, my advice would be to let it go. Certainly don't hand out anybody's details to him (glad you didn't). He doesn't really have a leg to stand on, and anybody who is emailing you with demands that something be done by the end of the day clearly doesn't understand the law. I think you've nothing to worry about to be honest!

8
Guest Avatar
MuggedUP 20th March, 2009 @ 20:32

Hey Landlord.

Personally I'm a keen blogger and I would be extra vigilant that nobody put anything libel on any of my blogs sites. You have it in your power using Wordpress to stop comments for moderation. I know it's time comsuming to moderate them all but is their any reason why you don't moderate them?

I mean it's not really fair to the individuals whom you and your posters have never even met to give them such a public bashing as this, its worse than the medieval witch hunts(at least they tested if she floated first!)lol.

I know your blog is not exactly a national tabloid newspaper website, but you only have to look at their track record of publishing nonesense crucifying people in the public eye only to back track, pay them out in court and end up printing apologies to them.

Just look at Gerry and Kate McCann's case I quote the guardian Madeleine McCann's father Gerry calls for tighter press regulation

:

"Our family has been the focus of some of the most sensational, untruthful, irresponsible and damaging reporting in the history of the press," McCann told the committee.

"If it were not for the love of our family and friends and the love of the general public this disgraceful conduct, particularly in the tragic circumstances we found ourselves in, may have resulted in the complete destruction of our family."

Why shouldn't a blogger have the same responsibilities as news papers? (ok this site might not have the same coverage as the UK tabloids but it must get a lot of hits if you come up first in Google for "property investment".)

How many daily hits do you get just out of interest?

Just out of interest. When did you publish your disclaimer page?
I'm sure it wasn't there a couple of weeks back?

Also how much did you know about blogging law before this issue your having.?

and finally what are your thoughts on this post? (or any of the other previous posters thoughts for that matter)

9
The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 21st March, 2009 @ 08:05

Hey MuggedUP,

I already briefly mentioned why I don't moderate comments.

I think you're wrong by labelling this as a public bashing (because it's not), and I don't think the way I handled the situation is unfair. I didn't bash Mark or his company. I'm being honest by telling people that Mark has threatened to take legal action against me. What, do you think my honesty about the situation is cruel and vulgar?

What I do think is unfair is someone threatening me with legal action and demanding me to make unnecessary changes to my website. If you think otherwise, that's cool.

No, my website isn't a national tabloid. And unlike a national tabloid, I removed every aspect of the page Mark had a problem with, all with in 24 hours of Mark specifically pointing out what he considered to be problematic to himself. I'd like to see a national tabloid do that (since you like comparing my site to one). And for the record, Mark knew about the page well before he threatened me with legal action. Since we're quoting, this is something Mark said, "I’m happy for him to maintain this page as long as he includes my reply to unfair attack." So I didn't actually have to modify the actual blog post at all (even though I did anyways, because he asked me to later on).

Not entirely sure how comparing the McCann's situation is even relevant or accurate. As mentioned, I've never made any negative comments about Mark or his company, and I don't think the McCann's ever gave approval to the tabloids, like Mark did about my page.

So, in short, I can't really say I agree with your comments.

Kind regards

10
Guest Avatar
Jools 21st March, 2009 @ 09:08

What the McCanns are asking for is censorship.

I have no objection for free speech via blogs or anywhere else - only to have fair representation if and when I have a complaint.I have no objection to being called anything but make it creative!

I have no idea what was in the original article as, as The Landlord states, the page was removed in a timely manner. Comparing this blog to the McCanns case is ridiculous. At least The Landlord did not make the story up!

11
Guest Avatar
Aunty P 22nd March, 2009 @ 10:12

You've got my full support and I hope he backs off. I hate bully boy tactics.

ATB

12
Guest Avatar
MuggedUP 22nd March, 2009 @ 13:04

@Jools.

Jools it's comments like yours that I personally would remove from my blog. As you state...

"I have no idea what was in the original article" and yet your initial blog post leads off with "Fuck him! What an arrogant little arse"

You've never met him nor done any research into his background yourself. These comments are sheep like, you're following the opinions of this blog owners post and you risk making yourself look silly.
I mean have you even contemplated the thought that the Landlord (even though he professes that this is just a hobby blog.) is making a tidy sum of money through the high paying Google Adsense adverts he is hosting on this site?

If you have any knowledge of Google Adsense you'll also be aware that what is even more lucrative than 'property' adverts (that the site is mainly displaying) is Law adverts. This is probably why the Landlord never answered my other questions and just focused on getting his law based keywords onto this post and therefore raising its relevancy.

He's a smart cookie, I'll give him that!

But much like with controvertial newspaper headlines that sell more papers, this blog post is allowing him to get better profits from his adsense accounts.

I mean Landlord you can't look all hard done to and saintly with this post, when you post things like this on other areas of your blog:

"Firstly, here is John’s email address: removed.
I get a lot of spammers scraping my site, so hopefully his email address will now be piled up amongst the millions of others in the animal-porn mailing list."

I mean that's just not responsible now is it?

You also are very happy to quote how other bloggers have impending legal action in the pipe lines, however you must not liken yourself to them.

They are transparent. They post their pictures up and everyone knows exactly who they are.

Whereas you state in your 'About Me' page that you're too scared to put your picture up. I mean that doesn't exactly profess a trustworthy individual now does it?

If you want this site to be a trusted source of property investment advice, I think you need to be a bit more open as to who you are and be a little bit more responsible with the data you collect.

Just my opinion.

(Oh and if you are making a killing on Google Adsense read the rules on excessive expletives as they might close your account and you'd loose all that money.)

To be clear this comment is my own personal view and not the expressed or implied view of the author of the original article.

13
The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 22nd March, 2009 @ 13:37

I removed my pictures because I bitch about my tenants- that's just how it is. I'm honest about my feelings/emotions. That's the kind of honesty I provide. What I look like and who I am has no relation to what this blog has to offer. I'm not asking people to trust me. It doesn't matter if they trust me or not. I'm not a stock broker.

If you want to read more into my reasoning for how I run this blog, that's up to you.

Google adsense has no reflection AT ALL on what I write. I don't even know how much law related ads pays. It seems ridiculous that you even thought of that, especially since the only worlds related to "law" I used were "legal", and merely twice at that. I'd go back to the drawing board with your ridiculous theory. Half of what you asked didn't have anything to do with the issue at hand. That's why I ignored your questions. SO WHAT IF I MAKE MONEY FROM THIS SITE? It's not a secret.

"LAW, LAW, ONLINE LAW, ONLINE LAW, LEGAL, LEGAL, ONLINE LAW, BEING BEING ONLINE, LEGAL ADVICE, I'M GETTING SUED, LAW, LAW,LAW, LAW, ONLINE LAW, ONLINE LAW, LEGAL, LEGAL, ONLINE LAW, BEING BEING ONLINE, LEGAL ADVICE, I'M GETTING SUED, LAW, LAW,LAW, LAW, ONLINE LAW, ONLINE LAW, LEGAL, LEGAL, ONLINE LAW, BEING BEING ONLINE, LEGAL ADVICE, I'M GETTING SUED, LAW, LAW"

There, let's see if any law related adverts popup. I hope you're right and my earnings shoot up!

I don't care how you run your blogs. The last thing I would do is tell people how to run their blog, so spare me, please. Wait, unless you want me to have a look at your blogs and tell you how to trebble your traffic, and where you're going wrong?

Thanks :)

P.s Comments like Jools are exactly what make my blog REAL! If you want to hand pick comments, that's your own problem.

14
The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 22nd March, 2009 @ 13:45

Aunty P@

Many thanks for the support. I appreciate it!

15
Guest Avatar
Sapna 22nd March, 2009 @ 14:54

I understand to an extent what MuggedUp is saying. Censorship should definitely be considered when it comes to blogs etc.
However everyone has their own method of dealing with things though, and it makes absolutely no sense to impose their way of doing shit on others.

But I don't understand why muggedup is talking about google adsense or whatever. It has nothing to do with anything, and I agree with landlord that the questions he asked were off beat.

The situation has been handled, and whatever comments were found to be offensive, no longer exist.
Everyone should be happy now.
Good luck Landlord.

16
Guest Avatar
Jools 22nd March, 2009 @ 16:09

Dear Muggedup. How many properties do you own? just asking because you seem to have appeared on this site and have made some fairly sweeping assumptions about people and their lielihoods without atcually giving aninsight as to whether you are actually walking the walk or just speaking complete bollocks.

You dont know me so whilst I appreciate your concern about me looking silly - I really dont give a flying fuck! This blog is an excellent way for us over regulated landlords who strive to, hopefully, provide exceptional levels of accomodation and if I offend a few people then so be it. They can always stop visiting the site. I am sure it will make The Landlords life easier by reducing the amount of bollocks he has to trawl through.

Do I give a damn about The Landlord making a bit of cash with ads? Last time I looked this was a free market economy and not a communist state (yet)so no I do not. Have you heard the saying that opinions are like arseholes - everyones got one? I have actually done some research into the person concerned but will not go further in a public forum, and on someone elses blog.

The whole point of this is anonymity. I have hundreds of thousands of pounds invested in my properties and I am doing very well thank you. The majority of my clients - yes I have clients - are excellent but issues do occur that sometimes need a vent that only other landlords will understand. If you don't like my attitude then don't come back OR go any buy some properties yourself and see what kind of crap we have to deal with on a daily basis - then I will have a modicum of respect for you.

Are you going to give us the address of your blog then? Just for fairness and a comparison or is that a figment of your imagination too?

Jools

17
Guest Avatar
Jools 22nd March, 2009 @ 16:10

Sorry - should have read livlihoods!

18
Guest Avatar
lee 24th March, 2009 @ 07:50

The guy is acting like a 6yr old. I can't imagine his company is doing well so he probably has a lot of time on his hands.

best of luck

To be clear this comment is my own personal view and not the expressed or implied view of the author of the original article.

19
Guest Avatar
MikeC 27th March, 2009 @ 17:49

Only a court can compel you to hand over potentially identifiable data held on your database (prolly IP address and email, if available and true).

Many people fake email addresses so he (the plaintiff) would then need to approach the commentor's ISP to release account details containing name and address - again, via court orders.

Expensive.

As a publisher, you are responsible, to a degree, for the content, including that of your contributors. So you could, therefore, find yourself cited as a culpable party.

If the commentor (or yourself) has a reasonable and just cause to make a disagreeable comment - and is willing to substantiate it in court, if need be - then you don't have to remove it (unless a court orders).

Courts are hesitant to subvert free speech without a very good cause.

Note: I'm not a lawyer, nor is the above an exhaustive statement of law, so the above should not be relied upon. I manage a busy forum which has received its fair share of legal threats - hence my unwilling knowledge.

As a rule, if the commentor is not willing to substantiate their statements when challenged, we tend to remove them, unless we believe there is a significant public interest (which is a defence in law).

Good luck.

20
Guest Avatar
Renthusiast 31st May, 2009 @ 17:45

Hey Landlord, your making this Mark Sawyer guy a lot bigger than he really is. you know the 'no such thing as bad publicity' saying is probably what he's trying to capitalize on. If he had any kind of sense or was a decent professional, he would have responded in a more professional manner. all the more reason to follow the advice in your original article and to be leery of people like MS and the business they try to operate

21
Guest Avatar
Investment Property Rumours 26th June, 2009 @ 15:30

We blog about the darker side of the overseas property industry and go to extensive lengths to remain anonymous, so much so that one particular company has thrown legal threats at all and sundry in a bid to have us remove content about them. As Google states in it's Blogger platform, if you have a problem with what someone writes, contact them directly. (One would suggest also as you do, better with honey than vinegar!)

A fantastic blog - Keep up the good work!

22
Guest Avatar
Phil 20th July, 2009 @ 08:17

Mr Sawyer is involved in yet another scam, go to

http://www.singingpig.co.uk/forums/6/788233/ShowThread.aspx

Quote from site below:

I am also I victim of Mr Sawyer's tricks. This also includes his son Austen Sawyer, for whom lying comes as second nature. As I wrote on the other site, the Sawyers are swanning around living a somewhat champagne lifestyle. This is all brought about by other peoples hard earnt money ofcourse. People like these need to be stopped. We all need to act together, and sooner rather than later.

23
Guest Avatar
Russell Holmes 20th July, 2009 @ 22:02

Mark Sawyer and his company must be starting to feel the heat. He claimed to be a victim of 'the currency Plan' like all of his clients but since the FSA got involved and his association with Darren Upton has been revealed he is responding with some venom.
I was induced by Mark Sawyer's company to invest in the currency plan. I am waiting for the FSA to give their decision before I embark on my own retribution.

24
Guest Avatar
phil 1st June, 2010 @ 17:56

The latest news from the FSA is that they expect to recover just 72% of the money put in by investors of 'The Currency Plan"

The latest scheme from the team that brought you The Property Association is here:

http://www.land2build.co.uk

I wouldn't really want to give them any free publicity, but the testimonials page does make amusing reading, quote:-

"I have worked with the L2B management team for many years and I have always found them to be helpful, trust worthy and dedicated to their business. I have no hesitation recommending them to others.

MB Cheshire"

Some of your contributors may disagree with MB !

25

Please leave a comment...

Nobody

Nobody

Landlord

Landlord

Tenant

Tenant

Agent

Agent

Legal

Legal

Buyer

Buyer

Developer

Developer

Enthusiast

Enthusiast


Popular Landlord Categories