Undercover campaign nabs agents

A blitz of undercover real estate agents are attending weekend auctions throughout NSW in order to nab dummy bidders, underquoters and estate agents involved in ‘deceptive conduct’.

In August and September two taskforces were set up by state police to check licences and gather intelligence to ensure fair and legal competition.

To date, some 440 real estate businesses have been inspected, generating a total of 111 fines amounting to $121,000. Amongst others, fines were issued for contravening the rules of conduct, working or advertising without a licence and failing to supervise staff and the business.

NSW Fair Trading Minister Matthew Mason-Cox said the market is very strong at the moment, which is why NSW Fair Trading is committed to being out in the field to ensure it is a fair and competitive one for everyone.

“Make no mistake, NSW Fair Trading is watching and rogue operators will be held accountable,” Mr Mason-Cox said.

“NSW Fair Trading offices attended open days, posing as young couples wanting to buy a property. They recorded the sale price information provided by the selling agent, while other offices conducted overt inspections of the real estate business to determine if underquoting had taken place.

“The practice of underquoting is shameful and cheats innocent prospective buyers of purchasing their dream home.”

Operation Kuban was run in Sydney’s northern beaches throughout August. Mr Mason-cox said officers visited 74 agencies, inspected the licences or certificates of 450 agents and reviewed sales records of some 285 properties with 21 penalty infringement notices issued to a total of $18,150.

In September, Operation Gavel began in Sydney’s north west, an operation that involved overt and covert surveillance of agents and real estate businesses. Sydney’s inner west is the next area the department will investigate.

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