Not all advertisements make for good publicity

2015-12

ESTATE AGENTS MUST not issue any advertisements with misleading or wrong information.

Otherwise, they may be subject to disciplinary action by the Estate Agents Authority.

An estate agent had issued several advertisements of various firsthand residential properties on her personal blog with information including the gross floor area, the salable floor area and the selling price before the developers of those properties uploaded the sales brochures to the website of the Sales of First-hand Residential Properties Authority.

The Estate Agents Authority received a report and conducted an investigation.

The agent admitted that the information was retrieved earlier from the developers’ websites before the Residential Properties (First-hand Sales) Ordinance took effect. After the ordinance had taken effect, she neither made amendments nor removed the outdated information from her personal blog.

Moreover, she issued those advertisements without seeking approval from the estate agency company she worked for.

The EAA disciplinary committee was of the view that the agent had failed to comply with the guidelines set out in the Practice Circular 13-04 (CR) issued by the authority, which stipulates that an advertisement for a firsthand residential property must not give information on the size or unit price other than by reference to the salable area of the property.

In addition, no advertisement or promotional material shall be issued by estate agents other than estate agency companies.

The estate agent was reprimanded and fined HK$6,000