UNDERQUOTING TASKFORCE STRIKES AGAIN

A real estate agent has admitted to underquoting more than a dozen properties in Melbourne’s east.

Harcourts Wantirna has offered Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) an enforceable undertaking following investigations by CAV’s underquoting taskforce, Taskforce Vesta.

In relation to 13 properties, the agency:

  • 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
  • Advertised properties on realestate.com.au with a lower price than the Estimated Selling Range

In offering the undertaking, Harcourts Wantirna has agreed to:

  • Contribute $60,000 to the Victorian Consumer Law Fund
  • Implement a compliance program
  • Prominently displaying a notice in their reception and website acknowledging the contraventions

The agency had received 17 complaints, prompting CAV to investigate. Details of the undertaking are available at consumer.vic.gov.au, along with further information on Taskforce Vesta.

This is the fourth enforceable undertaking for underquoting made by a real estate agent in recent months.

It comes as the Andrews Labor Government’s tough new underquoting laws are set to come into effect on May 1.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Consumer Affairs Marlene Kairouz

“Underquoting is not a smart sales tactic – it’s illegal. This undertaking sends a strong message to agents doing the wrong thing.”

“Our home buyers deserve a fair go. There’s nothing clever about deceiving people who are making one of the biggest purchases of their life.”

“We’re toughening up underquoting laws so people don’t spend time and money on properties they cannot afford.”