Consumer watchdog nets another agent

A Western Australian agent has been fined by Consumer Protection after failing to present the highest offer for a Perth property to the vendor.

Consumer Protection took disciplinary action against Dane Stephen Rawlings after an investigation into the sale found he had breached the Code of Conduct for Agents and Sales Representatives.

Mr Rawlings faced two charges and was fined $1,500 and $2,000 on each by the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) on 30 July 2014, and ordered to pay $1,000 in costs.

While acting as the sales representative for the Warnbro property, Mr Rawlings had received two offers of $410,000 and $400,000, both subject to finance.

The higher offer was not presented to the seller of the property. 

If it had been presented to and accepted by the seller then it may have resulted in Mr Rawlings sharing the commission from the sale of the property with the sales representative for the people who made the higher offer on a ‘conjunctional’ basis.

Only the lower offer, which resulted in him receiving full sales commission, was presented to the seller and later accepted.

Mr Rawlings had told the sales representative for the people who made the higher offer that their offer had been rejected in favour of a full price cash offer, which was false.

Before imposing the fines, the SAT took into account that Mr Rawlings’ failure to communicate this higher offer to the seller was a serious matter, which involved concealment that was very difficult to detect.

They also noted this type of misconduct undermines the property sales process and the trust that the general public has in the real estate industry.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said that real estate agents and sales representatives must always act in the best interests of their clients.

“Honesty and integrity is at the heart of the code of conduct and those in the real estate industry who do not adhere to the rules may be subject to disciplinary action, and ultimately could lose their licence to operate,” Ms Driscoll said.

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