The price to be paid for cheating

2015-04

Estate agents must not make any misrepresentation – including information on the transaction prices of other properties – which may mislead their clients.

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

An estate agent acted for both parties in a shop transaction. The vendor told the agent that according to his neighbor, a shop near his had sold for more than HK$10 million. The agent denied this, claiming the selling price was just over HK$8 million, as she had handled the deal.

Later, the agent brought the vendor an offer of HK$9 million for his shop, then arranged for both parties to sign the Provisional Agreement for Sale and Purchase.

Shortly thereafter, the vendor found out the nearby shop did in fact sell for HK$10 million – more than the price the agent had previously claimed. Feeling aggrieved, the vendor lodged a complaint with the EAA.

The authority was of the view that the agent had misrepresented the price of the other property to the vendor, thus failing to comply with the Code of Ethics issued by the authority.

The code states that estate agents and salespersons, in engaging and accepting an appointment as an agent, should protect and promote the interests of their clients, carry out the instructions of their clients in accordance with the estate agency agreement, and act in an impartial and just manner to all parties involved in the transaction.

For this violation, the agent’s license was suspended for 14 days, and she was required to obtain 12 points in the core subjects of the Continuing Professional Development Scheme in 12 months.