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Real Estate Industry

November 24th 2004

GREEN LIGHT TO CHEAT

Agents thumb their noses at regulators.


Several agents are continuing to thumb their noses at regulatory authorities over the issue of misleading prices.

Despite repeated warnings, some agents are still brazenly advertising false prices of homes for sale. The agents seem to be convinced that the government regulators are, in the words of one agent, "All huff and puff."

"It's going on all the time," said an agent in Brisbane yesterday, adding that he was amazed at the "sheer gall" of many of his industry peers.

Last month, the Queensland Minister for Fair Trading, Margaret Keech, said the current laws were "not explicit enough to effectively target this undesirable practice." The Minister said that the government intends to "enhance the existing provisions."

What this means, of course, is that some agents now feel the Minister has given them the "green light" to use bait pricing to mislead consumers until tougher laws are introduced.

In just one of many blatant examples, a property was advertised at "direct interest from $360,000". It was auctioned last weekend and passed-in at $46,000 above the price advertised.

Last night, the agent, Harcourts Ashgrove, was still displaying the price of $360,000.

Queensland consumer lawyer, Tim O'Dwyer said, "The Minister means well, but she is being taken for a big ride by the real estate industry."

And, sadly, so are the consumers.


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