The Real Estate Institute of South Australia's (REISA) decision to charge people $200 to make a complaint about code of conduct breaches by member agents has come at the same time the state government's complaints service has come under fire, a report has said.
"We acknowledge it is not in line with the Customer Service Institute or even Australian Standards, but we want people to have skin in the game and it lets us know they are serious about their complaint," REISA chief executive Greg Troughton told The Advertiser. "I would like to think the formality we have around the process isn't a barrier to entry. I would argue it shows how serious it is."
The Advertiser reported that REISA’s move came at the same time that concerns had been raised about the performance of the state government-run Office and Consumer and Business Affairs (OCBA) department, which is the alternative avenue for real estate complaints.
The newspaper said that Minister Gail Gago had received complaints about the OCBA’s performance, including one in which the OCBA had advised the person that they do "not have sufficient resources", "we will get to it when we have time" and the matter was "not really progressing".
The Advertiser reported that opposition consumer affairs spokeswoman Michelle Lensink said REISA's decision would be problematic for some people although it was better than not having an alternative.
"It (buying a home) is the biggest purchase anyone would make so it is good they (REISA) have an official complaints mechanism - the government isn't doing it," she told the newspaper.
"OCBA is now less likely to take action rather than to take action. It is a big thing for them to do and given they are understaffed, they are probably looking for things (to cut back on)."