Underquoting Agency Fined by Federal Court
Underquoting agency Hocking Stuart Richmond has been fined $330,000 by the Federal Court.
The real estate agency admitted it had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct, and making false and misleading representations about the sale of land.
This rogue practice in the real estate industry is known as underquoting.
What is underquoting in real estate?
Underquoting is a nasty little trick some real estate agents use to lure you to a property – the whole ‘quote ‘em low, watch ‘em go’ philosophy.
Just to make the definition clear, underquoting happens when a real estate agent ‘advertises or advises a prospective buyer that a property is available for sale at an amount that is less than the vendor’s asking price or auction reserve price.’
What was the case against Hocking Stuart Richmond?
Consumer Affairs Victoria took action against Hocking Stuart Richmond in the Federal Court of Australia, after CAV’s investigation revealed the agency had advertised price ranges lower than the expected selling price in the marketing of 11 properties in Richmond and Kew.
The company must also implement a compliance program aimed at educating its agents about their legal obligations under the Australian Consumer Law.
This program will include the appointment of a compliance officer to ensure that the program is effectively designed, delivered and maintained. The officer will be required to submit documents used in the program to CAV, and to act on recommendations made by CAV’s Director and staff.
Hocking Stuart Richmond must also issue a notice acknowledging their contraventions in the Domain lift out of The Age newspaper, and display the notice in their office for six months.
The company must pay the penalty into the Victorian Consumer Law Fund.
Hocking Stuart Richmond is now in the top 10 most accurate real estate agents.
Court fine serves as warning to real estate industry against price underquoting – The World Today, ABC Radio
Melbourne real estate agency Hocking Stuart fined $330,000 for underquoting – Financial Review
— Consumer Affairs Vic (@consumervic) October 6, 2016
— Nine News Melbourne (@9NewsMelb) October 6, 2016
— Ten News Melbourne (@tennewsmelb) October 6, 2016
— 7 News Melbourne (@7NewsMelbourne) October 6, 2016
— ABC News Melbourne (@abcnewsMelb) October 5, 2016
— Karen Collier (@KarenCollierHS) October 5, 2016
— Emily Power (@_emilypower) October 5, 2016