Real Estate Agents in Australia - Can you trust them?

Real Estate Agents in Australia - Can you trust them?

In Australia, the number of real estate agents that had complaints against them, fell significantly during 2004-05. Only 2% (889 complaints) of the total 43,827 complaints received by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) during 2004-05 were made against real estate agents. This was 42% lower than the previous year, and the lowest number in the last four years.

During 2004-05 just 0.045% (or one in every 2,222) of real estate agent assisted property transactions (sales and property management) resulted in a complaint being made to the ACCC. There were approximately 585,200 property sales and 1,377,709 properties under management in 2004-05.

Complaints were distributed proportionally across all States and Territories, and were generally related to misleading or deceptive conduct relating to advertising or price under the Trade Practices Act (TPA). The Real Estate Institute Association guidelines on the TPA issued in August 2004 appear to have had a positive impact in helping to reduce complaint levels.

The following Trade Practices Act guidelines are do's and don'ts for Australian real estate agents.

DON'T be involved in:

1. making statements that are untrue
2. making predictions about trends in property values that you can’t substantiate
3. making unrealistic valuations or market appraisals
4. claiming non-existent sponsorship, approval or affi liation with another company
5. offering gifts, prizes or items that you do not intend to supply
6. offering gifts or items when their cost is disguised in the selling price
7. advertising goods or services at a discount price, without intending to supply them at this price (Bait advertising)
8. being involved in dummy bidding
9. offering goods or services that aren’t available in reasonable quantities
10. staying silent when you have a duty to disclose something


AVOID:
1. harassment and high-pressure sales techniques
2. taking advantage of vulnerable or disadvantaged consumers
3. taking advantage of weaker businesses
4. not giving prospective franchisees enough necessary information to help them make an informed decision
5. making false or misleading statements about the interest in the land
6. making vague statements about the location of the land
7 advertising or promoting the land in any way that is misleading
8. not quoting all mandatory price components including any GST
9. not stating the amount of the deposit and repayments if you are providing finance on
terms
10. not giving realistic average prices


DON'T agree with other agents to:
1. exclude or limit the dealings of one business with another or;
2. fix or maintain fees for services

An individual, another business, the ACCC or the minister can bring an action against Australian real estate agents for breaching the Act

For conduct prohibited under Part IV (restrictive trade practices) of the Act, they personally face a maximum penalty of $500 000—and their company
$10 million—for each breach. So tough laws in Australia are making an impact on real estate agents and complaint levels certainly are reducing as a result. This has had a very positive effect on the industry and the reputable agents are happy as Larry about the restraints in the legislation.  See http://www.bestrealestate.com.au for more Australian real estate articles


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