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Inquiry Hearing Cases--A Selection II (Excerpts)

Purchaser misled by false advertisement

The complainant was a purchaser of a residential property. He engaged an estate agency company, Company A, to view the subject property and signed an estate agency agreement. However, the complainant subsequently purchased the property through another agency company, Company B. The complainant was nevertheless still asked by Company A to pay the company his commission.

The complainant alleged that Company A had displayed an a signboard on its shop window containing the words 'exclusive agency'. Because of this, the complainant thought that Company A was the exclusive agent for the subject property. However, the complainant later discovered that Company A had never been appointed as the exclusive agent of the property concerned.

Notwithstanding that the complainant subsequently withdrew his complaint, EAA continued its own investigation into the matter. EAA staff paid several visits to Company A and found that Company A had continued to display the signboard at its shop window. In response to EAA's enquiries, Company A explained that the signboard was meant to say only that it had the exclusive right granted by the owner to run estate agency business in the shopping arcade, but not that it was the exclusive agent of the subject property. Despite the explanation, the Disciplinary Committee, after deliberation, found that the signboard contained misleading and false information and ruled that Company A was in breach of s.9(1) of the Estate Agents Practice (General Duties and Hong Kong Residential Properties) Regulation. The Disciplinary Committee imposed a fine of $100,000 against Company A and ordered the company to remove the signboard within 7 days.


Section 9(1) of the Estate Agents Practice (General Duties and Hong Kong Residential Properties) Regulation
A licensed estate agent shall not cause or permit to be issued an advertisement wholly or partly relating to his estate agency business which includes any statement or particular that is false or misleading in a material particular.

 

 

 
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