‘Name and shame’ file draws rental agent anger

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Did you know that NSW Fair Trading has started naming and shaming bad operators?  For two months now there has been a list on its website of businesses that have had more than 10 valid complaints made against them.

Not only do real estate agents top the list for both months that this has been running, but four out of the top 10 listings for August are real estate agencies, jumping to 7 out of the top 20 in September.

And it’s when you drill down that you find the truly alarming figures.  Of the 220 registered complaints about estate agents, 156 of them are from tenants.  That’s 71 percent of valid complaints that were made by renters, mostly about bond refunds.

Now, before we get too agitated, the Real Estate Institute of NSW has pointed out that the numbers of complaints are aggregated for all the franchises that come under one banner.

Thus the big real estate companies hit the 10-strike threshold very quickly compared to single outlet businesses.  And they are not happy.

“The register will simply be full of franchises and groups who, due to the popularity of their brand and their sheer size, will almost always have 10 consumer complaints per month,” says REINSW President John Cunningham in a press release.

Saying the NSW consumer watchdog has “poorly executed what is essentially a good idea”, he adds: “This false and misleading information could be used to discredit businesses who demonstrate responsible business practices and innocent parties could be disadvantaged.”

Does this explain why there are no dodgy developers or strata managers listed?  They tend to be smaller concerns – although there are a couple of biggies.  Come on Flatchatters.  You can’t be that happy!

Meanwhile, how do you get a bad operator on to the list?  Call Fair Trading on 13 32 20 or go to their website fairtrading.nsw.gov.au and look for the complaints page.

You have to make a valid complaint about a specific issue and hope enough other people have picked up the phone or gone online about the same firm.

Meanwhile, with strata law changes looming, the Owners Corporation Network is running a two-hour seminar and Q&A in the Mitchell Theatre on October 17. It costs $15 for OCN members and $30 for non-members (including refreshments) and you can book on the OCN website ocn.org.au/events.

There’s more on all of this on flat-chat.com.au.

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