Hockingstuart Yarraville acknowledge underquoting on $2.11 million Footscray home

Hockingstuart Yarraville acknowledge underquoting on $2.11 million Footscray home
Hockingstuart Yarraville acknowledge underquoting on $2.11 million Footscray home

The hockingstuart Yarraville-based estate agency will contribute $45,000 to the Victorian Consumer Law Fund, after it acknowledged contravening Victorian laws relating to the sale of residential properties.

The Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria accepted an undertaking from Hocking Stuart Yarraville and its directors after they acknowledged that the company contravened sections 18 and 30 of the Australian Consumer Law (Vic) and underquoting provisions of the Estate Agents Act 1980.

The worst example was a Footscray property (above) that had sold for more than $1.3 million in March 2014 and then advertised with price guidance in online ads or in emails at "$1,000,000 plus" in November and December of 2015.

It then sold for $2.11 million in December of 2015.

Their trading company L&L Dardha acknowledged:

  • making false and misleading representations about the sale of property, knowing the vendors were not likely to sell the property for the advertised price
  • advertising properties on the realestate.com.au website at prices likely to mislead potential purchasers because they were in a lower price bracket than the agency’s estimated selling price (ESP) or estimated sales range (ESR) on the sale authority
  • advertising a price range online or in emails, which was less than the ESP or ESR on the sale authority.

The contraventions related to six properties in Altona North, Brooklyn, Footscray, West Footscray and Yarraville.

Acting on an initial complaint in December 2015, Consumer Affairs Victoria’s investigation found that, among other things:

  • three of the six properties did not state the agent’s ESP or ESR on the sales authority
  • two of the properties were advertised at a price range that was less than the ESR on the authority.

On a West Footscray property's signed authority, the agent's ESR of $600,000 to $660,000, yet in email correspondence to prospective purchasers, the advertised price range was listed as "$550,000 plus".

As part of the undertaking, the company has also agreed to:

  • display a notice at its place of business acknowledging the contraventions, and
  • implement a compliance program, which includes appointing a compliance officer, establishing a complaints handling system and providing regular training for staff.
Property Law Yarraville

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