Estate agent fined for underquoting

A Melbourne real estate agent has been fined in Victoria for repeatedly underquoting on house prices in advertisements. Lou Rendina was fined $2,500 and his company $5,000 in the case brought by the Director of Consumer Affairs alleging offences under the Estate Agents Act.

Mr Rendina admitted underquoting on house prices 16 last year with 17 to 40 per cent discrepancies between advertised house prices and eventual selling prices. His case is the first of its kind in the state.

New legislation, currently before the Victorian Parliament, will make agents liable for fines of up to $20,000 for over or underquoting on prices. Auctioneers will be obliged to state the vendors' reserves at all auctions. In May this year, Mr Rendina was fined $10,000 for taking dummy bids of $600,000 over the $1.55 million reserve price for a property in Moonee Ponds.

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