Despite a crackdown announced in September 2022, underquoting is still widespread in Melbourne. This is despite Consumer Affairs (CAV) having issued fines of over $1 million over the 15 months since they activated a taskforce to target offenders. At $11,000 per offence, the 47 agents fined over this time have averaged just two offences per agency. This may go some way to explaining why the industry has largely shrugged it off and continue to thumb their collective noses at CAV and consumers.
Last crackdown in 2017, fines were $40,000 per offence and resulted in fines of up to $880,000 per agency. The prosecutions and fines were well publicised and resulted in dramatically improved behaviour for a long time. But memories fade and agents have felt safe to go back to their bad old ways. If CAV minister, Gabrielle Williams really wants to change the industry, maybe bigger fines and more publicity for offenders should be considered.
For the record, the CAV definition:
Underquoting can occur when a property is advertised at a price that:
- is less than the estimated selling price
- is less than the seller’s asking price
- has already been rejected by the seller.