Vendors face fines for underquoting

People selling their homes and their real estate agents have been warned by Graeme Samuel, the chairman of the competition regulator, the ACCC, and the consumer affairs minister Craig Emerson, not to understate the the estimated selling price of their home.

Vendors face fines of up to $220,000 and agents face fines of up to $1.1 million for underquoting the expected auction price of their property under new laws that will come into effect from the first of January 2010.

Unsuccessful bidders will be able to claim back their pre-purchase costs from sellers if the agent and or vendor can be shown to have underquoted.

“The new law will allow the courts to order the offender to pay restitution and penalise the offender,” said Samuel.

The changes to the Trade Practices Act will be voted on by the senate in August.

A spokesperson for the minister said the bill had enjoyed bi-partison support ‘so far'.

Source: Sunday Herald Sun