With the rise in inner city auction sales, NSW Fair Trading investigators have been actively targeting the conduct of real estate auctions in inner Sydney since April this year as part of a new campaign to crack down on under-quoting and dummy bidding.
In the first quarter of 2010, the number of auctions in NSW grew by 58 per cent on the corresponding quarter in 2009 to 5,080.
Between 1 January 2009 and 31 March 2010, Fair Trading received 41 complaints related to allegations of dummy bidding, under-quoting, collusive practices, harassment or an agent's conduct.
Fair Trading minister Virginia Judge said the latest investigation, called ‘Operation Bidder’, aims to ensure consumer confidence in the integrity of the property auction process.
“Operation Bidder puts the industry on notice that the NSW Government will not hesitate to enforce our tough laws.”
“We will not wait for a jump in complaints to make sure the industry is doing the right thing.”
Ms Judge said it was essential that prospective buyers and vendors are assured that auctioneers and agents are conducting their business in a fair and ethical manner.
Fair Trading investigators can issue on-the-spot penalty notices of up to $2,200 for breaches of the Property Stock and Business Agents Act 2002. Serious breaches will be prosecuted.