Victorian Consumer Affairs accusing Hoskins agency of unconscionable incentive commission scheme

Victorian Consumer Affairs accusing Hoskins agency of unconscionable incentive commission scheme
Victorian Consumer Affairs accusing Hoskins agency of unconscionable incentive commission scheme

The Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria has begun civil proceedings against estate agency Hoskins (Maroondah) Pty Ltd (ACN: 095 367 712), in the Federal Court of Australia, for alleged contraventions of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) in relation to property sales on Melbourne's north east outskirts.

Consumer Affairs Victoria will allege that during 2015 and 2016, Hoskins advertised properties for sale at prices much lower than it believed they would actually sell for.

The alleged conduct relates to 26 residential properties located in Croydon, Croydon Hills, Croydon North, Mooroolbark, Park Orchards, Ringwood, Ringwood North, Warranwood and Wonga Park.

Consumer Affairs Victoria will also allege Hoskins misled two vendors it was acting for, by telling them their properties would sell for much less than it believed they would sell for, in order to claim ‘incentive commissions’ from the vendors when the properties sold at a much higher price. Such conduct, it is alleged, was also unconscionable.

The department will allege that, at various times throughout 2015-16, the company:

  • engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct towards potential property purchasers and two vendors who were clients of Hoskins
  • made false or misleading representations to potential property purchasers and two vendors who were clients of Hoskins
  • engaged in unconscionable conduct towards two vendors who were clients of Hoskins.

CAV will allege that Hoskins (Maroondah):

  • advertised 26 properties for sale at prices lower than the company believed they would actually sell for
  • misled two vendors it was acting for, by telling them their properties would sell for much less than the company believed they would - in order to claim ‘incentive commissions’ when the properties sold at a much higher price.

CAV will also allege that the company’s director, Brent Robert Peters, 43, of Croydon Hills, aided and abetted the company’s conduct. With over a decade in real estate, Brent Peters achieved Top 10 salesperson in his first year in real estate in 2001 and was recently named No. 1 salesperson out of the Hoskins network of 55 offices.

With 12 sales, Brent Peters won Croydon Hills Agent of the Year, in the RateMyAgent Agent of the Year Awards 2017. RateMyAgent is the largest independent review site in Australia and claims to be "trusted by agents and customers."

CAV is seeking orders that the company:

  • pays a financial penalty, plus legal costs
  • be restrained from repeating this conduct in the future
  • implements a compliance program to educate its staff about their ACL obligations to ensure no further contraventions of the relevant provisions occur
  • refund two vendors a total of around $25,000
  • publish details of any court orders on its website and display it in its office.
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Melbourne Federal Court

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