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Hocking Stuart & O’Brien RE Underquoting Fine

hocking stuart obrien re underquoting fine

Hocking Stuart & O’Brien RE Underquoting Fine

Two more Melbourne real estate agents have been caught underquoting, as Consumer Affairs Victoria’s crackdown on the practice continues. Both real estate agencies have received a fine.

 “Underquoting is not a smart sales tactic – it’s illegal. These undertakings serve as a serious warning to agents doing the wrong thing.” – Acting Minister for Consumer Affairs Lisa Neville

Hocking Stuart (Yarraville) and O’Brien Real Estate (Croydon) have each offered Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) enforceable undertakings following investigations by CAV’s underquoting taskforce, Taskforce Vesta.

Hocking Stuart (Yarraville) and O’Brien Real Estate (Croydon) admitted to:

  • Engaging in false and misleading conduct by underquoting property prices to prospective buyers
  • Listing a price range in online advertisements or in email correspondence which was less than the estimated selling price on the sales authority.

Hocking Stuart (Yarraville) also admitted to misleading potential buyers by using a ‘blind price’ on realestate.com.au that caused properties to be advertised in a lower price bracket than the agency’s estimated selling price.

“Victorian home buyers deserve a fair go. There’s nothing clever about deceiving people who are making one of the biggest purchases of their life.” – Acting Minister for Consumer Affairs Lisa Neville

In offering the enforceable undertakings, both agencies have agreed to:

  • Pay $45,000 to the Victorian Consumer Law Fund
  • Implement a compliance program which includes the appointment of a compliance officer, regular and practical staff training, and the development of a complaints handling system
  • Prominently displaying a notice in their reception acknowledging the contraventions.

In August 2016, the Andrews Labor Government announced tough new laws targeting underquoting in the real estate industry, set to come into effect this year.

  • Sell your home privately. Avoid paying agents their ripoff commissions. Use a conveyancer and a online agency both parties only charge you a flat fee. The seller and buyer both benefit. Seller avoids agents commission. Buyer avoids underquoting trick by agents.

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