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Case Studies

Case Study 1

Strategic advice helps homeowner escape agency contract

Marlene* was armed by the HHPF with the knowledge and confidence to terminate an unfair selling agreement. She describes her experience with a real estate agency as a "nightmare" from which she felt "helpless" to escape.

She said she initially resisted signing up to sell her home but the agent kept visiting and eventually caught her on a day when she was distressed over her mother’s illness.

Marlene said: "He was like a vulture. All I could think about was Mum and he swarmed in for the kill. I guess I finally succumbed just so that he wouldn’t visit again tomorrow."

The agent recommended auction and set an auction date. She discovered, belatedly, that the listing contract continued for two months after the auction date.

"He hadn’t made me aware of the extra months... While I was initialling every page he was busy asking me questions, questions that needed replies, ensuring that I didn’t get any time to read each page. A sly and cunning technique."

After attending an Inside Secrets of Real Estate seminar, Marlene got in touch with Craig Lean of the HHPF. He encouraged her to go to the agent’s office and demand a termination of the contract.

After being left waiting for over an hour, she handed the agent a letter which officially terminated the company’s agency; declared that she would not pay any commission, marketing or advertising costs; and demanded a formal release from the agency contract.

Marlene insisted she would not leave the office without his signature on the release letter. "If it took all day, all week, I wasn’t budging," she says.

The agent resisted, demanding to know "Who put you up to this?" and complaining: "I’m losing a commission here!!"

Eventually he relented and signed. Marlene insisted he date the signature. She then demanded that he bring out the master copy of the contract and formally cancel it.


*Fictitious names are used for privacy reasons


Homeseller sued for marketing fees for unsold property

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