Liza was threatened with legal
action unless she paid her agents $2,024 in marketing fees.
Her property had not sold.
Liza says the agency quoted her a likely selling price of
$330,000 to $340,000 before she signed the agency agreement.
Later, however, the agency said the apartment was likely to
fetch only $290,000.
Liza says she was told, both orally and in writing, that "no
fees would be payable unless the property was sold".
Advertising fees were to be deducted from the sale proceeds
and were not separate to the selling fees.
The unit failed to sell at the recommended auction or subsequently.
The listing agreement expired and Liza received a demand for
Liza contacted the HHPF who wrote to the agency on 28 June
2002 to advise "it appears that there has been unethical
conduct and also breaches of the Trade Practices Act and Contracts
The letter says: "Your agency was aware that the property
owner’s first language was Cantonese and that her understanding
of English is poor. Your agency failed to ensure that the
property owner was able to read and understand the written
agreement you encouraged her to sign."
Liza has been given approval to use the HHPF if there is any
disputation or litigation from the agency. The agency has
been advised that any litigation "will be vigorously
defended and appropriate counter-claims for damages initiated".
It has been advised that details of their conduct will be
forwarded to the Consumer Trade and Tenancy Tribunal and reported
also to the ACCC.
There has been no response from the agency, which appears
to have dropped the matter.