26 September 2023

Consumer Affairs overrates underquoting

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Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) has launched a dedicated taskforce to crack down unfair practices in the property market, including underquoting.

Welcoming the initiative, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, Melissa Horne said the taskforce would ensure Victorians had the accurate pricing information they needed to decide how best to spend their money when house hunting.

“At a time when every dollar counts for households, the dedicated taskforce will begin work immediately with a blitz to ensure property prices are being fairly and honestly advertised – to protect buyers’ time and money when it’s needed most,” Ms Horne said.

“The taskforce will boost monitoring of sales campaigns, collection and analysis of market intelligence such as complaints from the public and conduct targeted inspections to seize documents and data to ensure compliance with underquoting laws,” she said.

“The taskforce is embedded in CAV and will include existing and additional officers with a range of skills and experience – including inspectors, investigators, information analysts, and legal officers.”

Ms Horne said the creation of the taskforce built on significant regulatory activity undertaken in May last year, when inspectors made unannounced visits to 29 metropolitan and regional estate agents’ offices to monitor their compliance with underquoting laws.

She said that since 2015, CAV had taken court action and accepted enforceable undertakings from 13 real estate agencies – with fines and court costs totalling more than $3 million.

“The taskforce will continue with Consumer Affairs Victoria’s underquoting compliance activities, which include auction monitoring, inspections, and investigations,” the Minister said.

Ms Horne said underquoting was identified as a key concern by the Victorian Property Market Review.

“The Government is considering the findings of the Review alongside changing market conditions and will have more to say about this work soon,” she said.

“Victorians are encouraged to report suspected instances of underquoting to CAV.”

Further information on property market underquoting can be accessed at this PS News link.

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