Fair Trading slammed over ‘ineffective’ underquoting policy

The regulator has been urged to admit its underquoting policy is flawed and to work with the industry to fix it.

Real Estate Institute of New South Wales president Malcolm Gunning said NSW Fair Trading has failed to comprehend or address the issue since the state introduced underquoting legislation in 2002.

“Fair Trading has been completely and totally ineffective in its approach and policing of underquoting for the last 13 years,” Mr Gunning said.

“The industry has been tarnished by Fair Trading’s failure to properly understand and address the problem.”

Underquoting recently returned to the news after Fairfax Media raised allegations of underquoting against McGrath Estate Agents Hornsby and BresicWhitney decided to challenge the regulator in court.

Mr Gunning said Fair Trading’s approach to underquoting has been to favour grabbing headlines over pursuing serious reform.

The regulator’s persistence with these “tired strategies” is detrimental to both agents and consumers, according to Mr Gunning.

“The greatest challenge is for the Fair Trading to admit its failings to date and commence a constructive and cooperative dialogue with industry,” he said.

“REINSW is ready for this change in direction and we would welcome the opportunity to work together to develop strategies to address underquoting, which is a blemish on our industry and damages consumer confidence.”

A Fair Trading spokesperson told REB that the regulator meets regularly with property industry figures, most recently with the REINSW and others on 8 July.

“The meeting included a discussion on underquoting and progress towards implementing the government’s election commitment in this area,” the spokesperson said.

“The 8 July meeting also discussed Fair Trading’s compliance priorities in the industry, training standards and Fair Trading’s plans to collaborate more closely with stakeholders to raise standards in the industry.”

Another meeting is scheduled for July 21, according to the spokesperson.

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