The cost of underquoting

October 7, 2016

A Richmond, Victoria, real estate agent has today been fined $330,000 in the Federal Court for the practise of “underquoting” properties it was selling.

The fine was for underquoting on 11 properties in Richmond and Kew during 2014 and 2015. The legal action was the result of an audit of 100 properties by Consumer Affairs Victoria.

Underquoting is the practise of creating an illusion that a property will sell more cheaply than it should; in effect, a bargain. Many prospective buyers are attracted to the property giving an impression to the Vendor that there is more interest in the property than there really would be otherwise.

Justice Middleton said many potential homeowners were likely to have been deceived and disappointed by the conduct of the agency.

“Some [buyers] may have missed the opportunity to buy elsewhere, being lured to a bargain that did not, and was never going to, eventuate.”

Underquoting is a form of misleading and deceptive conduct under the Australian Consumer Law.

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