A real estate agency in Melbourne’s east will pay $160,000 after it admitted to engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct and making false and misleading representations about the sale of land.
Manningham Property Group Pty Ltd (ACN: 162 330 994) – trading as Hocking Stuart Doncaster – will pay the penalty into the Victorian Consumer Law Fund, and also pay $10,000 towards Consumer Affairs Victoria’s legal costs.
Our investigation revealed the agency had marketed and negotiated the sale of nine residential properties, knowing:
- the vendors would not sell for a price within the listed range, or
- that the properties were unlikely to sell for the price listed.
The properties were in Doncaster, Doncaster East, Donvale and Templestowe. The penalty exceeds the total commissions of $113,790 that the agency received for selling them.
The company has also committed to implement a compliance program to educate its agents about their legal obligations under the Australian Consumer Law and the Estate Agents Act 1980.
Under the compliance program, the agency must appoint a compliance officer to ensure it is effectively designed, delivered and maintained. The company will also have to submit documents used in the program to us, and to act on recommendations made by the Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria and his staff.
Manningham Property Group must also issue a notice acknowledging their contraventions in the local newspaper in which they advertise, and display the notice in their office for six months. The company must also do its best to ensure the notice is published on realestate.com.au and domain.com.au.