What Supra / MetroList iBoxes Won’t Tell You Until It’s Too Late

How to remove a defective MetroList iBox in Sacramento, made by Supra.

How to remove a defective MetroList iBox in Sacramento, made by Supra.

If it wasn’t bad enough that real estate agents were royally screwed last year during the famous two-for-one Supra iBox exchange — which means exactly what you think, trade in two lockboxes and get one in return — now those brand new, fancy schmancy bluetooth iBoxes are failing to function, what we call a malfunction; and the icing on top is it’s a malfunction without resolution. It’s a case of bend over and drop the soap because here in MetroList prison, they want to drive home the point hard and fast once again.

Sure, MetroList finally backed down and agreed that agents were NOT required to exchange MetroList lockboxes and we could continue to use our old infrared lockboxes. Except, many of the buyer’s agents in the field do not realize that many Sacramento listing agents did not switch to the new iBoxes. If an agent is a top producer, for example, she is not trading in dozens of perfectly good lockboxes with 75% of power remaining in the battery. Not unless she is a knucklehead. This means if a buyer’s agent trots out the door with just a Bluetooth cellphone App on his iPhone, he’s not opening many of the lockboxes in use throughout Sacramento, because those infrared lockboxes require a FOB along with the cellphone App.

No FOB, no openy lockbox.

It’s that simple. I would not say, though, that this is the #MetroListMess that is happening, although it could be. Because I know agents and many of us don’t have time to understand all of the intricacies involved with new technology, we just expect it to work. Tip #1, bring your FOB, people.

The more important issues are why do the Bluetooth Supra-manufactured iBoxes malfunction and why doesn’t MetroList have a solution? We had four Sacramento real estate agents attempt to open a MetroList iBox a couple of days ago. Two of them used a cellphone app with a FOB and two agents tried using the display key. The results showed up on the SUPRA website as an attempt to open the box, but the box refused to release the key much less the shackle. In talking with other agents, I am not alone.

Warning: Not every iBox will open nowadays.

Try calling Supra today. You will be placed on hold for 30 minutes and advised to call back After Hours, presumably when they are closed. Why is that? Why are so many agents calling Supra today? I wonder if it is related to the #MetroListMess. Dunno. After I finally connected, I was advised to contact member services at the Sacramento Association of REALTORS. Wait until you hear the member service advice.

First, they make it clear they do not trust their own members by stating we must pay them a $100 refundable deposit to rent a bolt cutters. They want to make sure they get the bolt cutters back. As further proof that they do not trust us, they ask that we give them, which we have already given them, our prized possession, the reference number from Supra. With trusty bolt cutters in the hands of a person like me, for example, who just had rotator cuff surgery and is still a recovering patient, I am required to then drive back to the property where the bad lockbox resides, cut it off with the bolt cutters, which is not as easy as it sounds, and then drive to MetroList to exchange the bad lockbox for another iBox, which could be just like the last one, defective.

I wrote to SAR and offered to give them $100 to forget that I once had this leased lockbox in my possession. Because you know, in the tradition of bend over and drop the soap, MetroList will probably find a way to make Sacramento REALTORS pay for the defective product they leased to us and seem to now take zero responsibility for, especially when we don’t return it at the end of the lease because it’s still attached to a home, in dead status. Except I failed miserably to make SAR understand that I was trying to give it cash to free me from MetroList prison. Just take the money and write off the loss of this lockbox, I pleaded.

SAR responded: “The $100.00 you would give us would be a deposit for you to check out the bolt cutters from us. That covers our cost of the bolt cutters in the event you don’t return them to us. It has nothing to do with MetroList being able to forget about the your lockbox.”

I explained again that I want to give them $100 to make this go away, but it still wasn’t sinking in. SAR wrote back: “The $100 I’m referencing is only to rent our bolt cutters.”

Words, just words on a page. Floating away into space.

What about the poor seller who has the defective lockbox on her railing, and the buyer who will have to deal with it after escrow closes? I asked SAR what happens to the lockbox, and who will cut it off since it’s not me and apparently it’s not SAR. The fellow working in member services at SAR responded: “If you are not cutting off the lockbox, then it’s not being cut off.”

I called SUPRA back, even though I did not want to sit on hold for another 30 minutes while SUPRA deals with all of the other iBox issues it must be facing, but I wanted to find out first-hand how to remove the lockbox. I felt I owed it to the seller since I was receiving little assistance from SAR, and MetroList wasn’t responding either to the email I cc’d. I asked SUPRA how can they expect a little old lady, especially one who is recovering from rotator cuff surgery, to use a bolt cutters?

Where can I buy a pair of overalls and work boots? I did not realize that trade attire was required to be a member of MetroList. I’ve never worked in the trades before. I’m just a Sacramento REALTOR, for crying out loud. I did not see this clause in the fine print of our MetroList lockbox lease agreement.

SUPRA said, and I kid you not, you can’t make up this stuff: “You should find a big burly gorilla of a guy” to go over to the home in Land Park and cut off the lockbox. My jaw dropped. Is this 1970? I ask: How Is This Still a Thing, John Oliver?

Tip #2: If you have a fully functioning infrared lockbox, you should probably use it.

Tip #3: Don’t put a MetroList iBox on a listing, say, in Lincoln, when you live in Land Park.

Tip #4: If you are a hoodlum looking for a way to swipe lockboxes, you still can’t get the key out even after you cut off the lockbox. But give me a jingle because this Sacramento REALTOR could use your services.

FOLLOWUP 3/1/15: MetroList, bless their hearts, has come to my rescue and will deal with the lockbox on the home in Land Park and has directed SAR to give me a replacement!

What Supra / MetroList iBoxes Won’t Tell You Until It’s Too Late

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