Cracking Down On Underquoting To Protect Home Buyers

The Andrews Labor Government’s crackdown on underquoting is bearing fruit, with more real estate agents prosecuted for misleading home buyers.

Minister for Consumer Affairs Marlene Kairouz said the Labor Government’s tough stance on underquoting was protecting Victorian homebuyers, and ensuring the price advertised for a house is a true reflection of its value.

In 2015 the Labor Government established ‘Taskforce Vesta’ to investigate and prosecute real estate agents deliberately misleading prospective homeowners.

Since then, Taskforce Vesta has inspected the offices of more than 30 selling agents, examined 1,400 sales files, and launched 14 major investigations into underquoting.

This work has resulted in six court cases and more than $285,000 in enforceable undertakings from real estate agents caught breaking the law and underquoting the price of properties they are selling.

Most recently, two real estate agents were forced to pay $120,000 to the Victorian Consumer Law Fund for engaging in misleading and deceptive price advertising of 13 properties in Melbourne’s outer-east and north-west.

Both companies were required to implement a compliance program and display a public notice at their respective company offices, and on their websites.

Taskforce Vesta will ramp up again in the coming months, ahead of the real estate market’s busy spring period – to ensure agents are doing the right thing, and Victorians have confidence in the housing market.

Consumer Affairs Victoria will also launch a campaign in the coming months, to educate consumers about their rights under new underquoting laws that came into effect on 1 May, 2017.

For further information, visit consumer.vic.gov.au.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Consumer Affairs Marlene Kairouz

“Underquoting is dishonest, misleading and against the law – and we’re cracking down on it.”

“Buying a house is a huge investment and Victorians deserve to have accurate, transparent and reliable information to base their decisions on.”

“We’ll continue to investigate, expose and punish agents who break the law and underquote the value of the properties they are selling.”