A Sunbury real estate agent has been fined $22,000 for underquoting and running ‘misleading advertising’.
Christine Parsons, a former director of Professionals Sunbury, was found by the Melbourne Magistrates Court to have breached the Estate Agents Act 1980, after she engaged in misleading price advertising in relation to the sale of two properties.
According to a statement by Consumers Affairs Victoria, Ms Parsons was commissioned to sell three lots of land in Sunbury in December 2010, which were subsequently purchased by Du Pont Sung Asia Pacific Pty Ltd, a company that Ms Parsons was a director and shareholder.
Because Ms Parsons was a member of that company under the Estate Agents Act 1980 she was deemed to have a beneficial interest in the purchase.
Ms Parsons was also found guilty of two breaches of s47C of the Estate Agents Act 1980 in relation to the marketing of two Sunbury properties in May and December 2010.
Ms Parsons was fined $5000 for the breach of section 55 and a total of $7000 for the two breaches of s47C of the Act.
The court also found the Du Pont Sung International Properties Pty Ltd guilty of two breaches of s47C and imposed fines of $5000 on each charge.
The company and Ms Parsons were ordered to pay court costs of $800 each.
“Legislation is in place to protect consumers from any unscrupulous conduct by real estate agents or those purporting to be real estate agents,” Consumer Affairs Victoria director Claire Noone said.
“Misleading and deceptive behaviour, such as in this case, is an unlawful practice that frustrates and disheartens buyers.
“This case shows that Consumer Affairs Victoria takes breaches of the Act seriously and will take action against estate agents who engage in misleading and deceptive behaviour. Licensed estate agents should be aware of their obligations under the Australian Consumer Law in relation to advertising properties.”
Speaking to Real Estate Business, a spokesperson from The professionals was quick to confirm that Ms Parsons was no longer with the company.
"Ms Parsons relationship with The Professionals was terminated on 30 December 2010. She no longer has anything to do with the company," the spokesperson said.