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Discussion Starter #1
I hope I'm posting this in the right area.

I now find myself in a dispute with a realtor who is trying to reneg on the terms of our agreement. I am very upset.

This person has sent me several emails indicating she is not going to honour our agreement as it was agreed to prior to me listing with her. She says it's my word vs hers.

I'll spare you the details, but I still have several of the emails I exchanged with this realtor during the negotiation that are pretty clear.

I am quite sure this could get messy, and this person will just deny the emails were from her, or claim that I fabricated them.

Is it easy to verify the authenticity of emails and who they were sent by?
 

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Viewing the message headers is one way to get an idea where an email originated. Each mail program is different but you should be able to find the option to view message headers under the View menu.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I know the police use computer forensic experts to dig up erased data off of computers, and they can trace emails.

I'm just wondering if there are services who can be hired to do this for a reasonable price privately, or if there is a simpler method.
 

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I would say it is not easy. Email addresses can be spoofed/faked. You would likely need a professional to analyze.

I am not sure what your agreement was, but if it is not in a written contract, you probably won't get far unless you have deep pockets to pursue it. Even then, is the agreement worth far more than any costs to fight it?
 

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Is it easy to verify the authenticity of emails and who they were sent by?
The only sure way is if they used digital signatures and that's assuming others didn't have access to their computer. Otherwise you can examine the message headers (press CTRL-U in Thunderbird or Seamonkey), which will show the source info.
 

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Why do you think she might deny the messages? Not a very good strategy sending an email and then denying it later. You could sit down with her with a copy of the emails and try to come to an arrangement. Remind her that if she denies the emails (if that is what she said) she risks perjuring herself and or losing her license. In fact, why not call the appropriate Realtor association and see if they can resolve it for you.

I doubt you want to obtain a search warrant and hire a reputable computer forensic analyst. I don't even know if that is possible in a civil case. ISP logs will not contain the contents of the message, just that a message was sent from her account.
 

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On your own the best you could do is figure out which ISP the email originated from by checking the IP address of the sender. ISPs won't divulge which account had that IP address assigned to it without a court order.
 

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Short answer: Yes.
Can you DIY? Yes (look at the headers), but as said, those are easy to spoof. However, I doubt a realtor would be in that practice.

If you use webmail, the original message is probably intact on the server.

If you use outlook to download emails and then delete them from the server, it's not as strong of evidence as you could have modified the message locally.

As said, you'd need to subpoena the name associated with the IP address, as part of your proof.
 

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Is it easy to verify the authenticity of emails and who they were sent by?
Depending on your email client, turn View Headers "ON" then print out copies of the emails complete with the headers.

Unless the Realtor was spoofing from the outset, the headers will trace directly back to her computer.

Send her copies and tell you that these technical details comprise evidence of her sending the emails. If she is a typical real estate ditz that ought to be enough to shake her tree. :cool:
 

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Legally, if not signed and in the agreement, how would you plan to enforce this. She sounds like she has no ethics but knows the legalese. Probably done this before.
 

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Legally, if not signed and in the agreement, how would you plan to enforce this ...
That is not strictly true. Emails are generally considered to be contractual. The OP should spend the first "free" half-hour that lawyers offer.
 

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That is not strictly true. Emails are generally considered to be contractual. The OP should spend the first "free" half-hour that lawyers offer.
Are they?

If she sent the emails from her business address, it's likely the IT dept for that realtor would be able to dig up the emails or provide some info to show they originated from her account. She may be able to delete the emails from her mailbox, but any proper system admin will have a backup and logging system in-place. That's something you'd have to get your lawyer on.

That said, whether or not the emails would hold up in court... I have no idea.
 

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If it's a small realtor, the chances that they have an IT department of any kind is just about nil. They probably have a small peer to peer network with no server, or at the most just a small file server.

As others have posted, look at the header and see what info you can get from there. If you're lucky, you can trace it back to their IP address and ISP but that's about as far as you will get without legal help.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Update

I am sharing this info to hopefully help anyone out there who may be selling a home in the near future. I apologise if it takes the thread OT, but I feel it is an important warning. I will try to summarize:

Essentially what happened is this woman (my realtor) presented an offer to purchase my house. I rejected the offer, and told her the minimum price I will accept. She came back to me with another offer that was still several thousand dollars below my price. I rejected the offer. She then called back again and said that she, along with the buyer's agent, were willing to make up the difference from their commission in order to close the deal.

I explained to her that our employer was covering our moving expenses as part of a relocation package, and therefore a commission reduction would not meet our expectation for net proceeds in our pocket. I told her the offer needs to be higher.

She then said that the realtors would be willing to make up the shortfall in the form of a "cashback". Essentially they would write me a cheque on closing for the difference. I thought about this, and accepted.

She then emailed me the offer to purchase with an addendum attached that said the realtors agree to __ thousand dollars commission reduction. I emailed her and said this is not what we agreed to. She said to just go ahead and change the wording on the addendum and initial the change. My spouse crossed out the words "commission reduction" and wrote in the words "cash back". We both initialed the change and signed to accept the offer.

The realtor came to our house, looked briefly at the forms, said "Fantastic. Congratulations", shook my hand and left to present it to the buyer's agent.

Ten days went by. The financing was approved, the home inspection passed, and conditions were removed. The deal was official. I email the realtor to arrange pick up of the 'cash back' and she emails me back saying, "you will get my part of the money, but I can't guarantee the other realtor will pay"

From there things got worse. I severed telephone contact with her and communicated soley by email to have a record of our communications. There were a series of emails where she acknowledged our cash back agreement, but she also became very nasty (strange how the attitude changes once they have your money:)) She then informed me she wasn't going to honour the cash back because it was going to cause her tax implications.

I cut off all communications with her after she sent me an email saying I was just going to have to accept a commission reduction, and warned me not to "try any strong arm tactics" because she had the original copy of the cash back agreement and she could make it go away and then I would have nothing. She also said that she never initialed the changes we had made to the addendum, therefore it was not valid.

The stupid idiot was saying all of this via email. We kept our employer up to date during all of this, his response was "f-ing realtors!"

I resolved this problem by having a face to face meeting with the broker of record , who is basically the owner of the brokerage. I explained the details and showed him the emails. I also provided a letter stating our employer was aware of all this.

It took a few days of back and forth, but he eventually honoured the agreement that his realtor had made with me. I also wanted to file a complaint with the Alberta Real Estate Council over the misconduct of this realtor, but I was told she had "retired from the business" and the council would not open an investigation of an ex-agent.
 
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