Buyers, it’s your fault if you believe agents.
Article originally published DECEMBER 4, 2004 –Reviewed and approved.
by Denise Brailey
Legal cases can take years and prove very costly. Just ask LJ Hooker principal, Lachlan Elder who, last week, successfully defended himself against unhappy customers.
Way back in 1997, when Elder handed a prospective buyer his L J Hooker brochure, he never dreamed he would be fighting court battles for the next seven years.
The buyers discovered, after they had signed-up to buy the home, that part of the swimming pool fell outside the property boundary. The information contained in the brochure was misleading and deceptive.
We won’t even start to quibble about who owns the water bill.
Elder found himself arguing that information in the L J Hooker brochure cannot be relied upon and that consumers must take some responsibility for verifying the truthfulness of that information.
No songs of praise from the buyer in this case. No joyous tune of “Thank you Mr Hooker, you’re the best….”
After a seven-year legal marathon, The High Court decided in Elder’s favour. A brochure is “merely an assertion.” Two judges dissented, stating that “the survey diagram (in the brochure) had been included to influence purchasers.”
It appears that an agent who publishes and distributes a brochure about a property being sold is not liable for the false information contained in the brochure. It was the owner’s fault. Of course.
The argument that seems to have swayed the Court is that the buyers had 12 days before they bought the home in which to check out the details in the brochure. In other words, how remiss of the buyers to believe the agent.
The moral of the story is that despite all our laws to protect consumers, it is still “buyer beware” in the real estate jungle.
So, homebuyers, next time an agent says: “It’s right there in the brochure,” ask the obvious question: “Yes but is that the truth?”
PLEASE NOTE: Our focus is upon helping consumers. Abuse from agents on our web site or Facebook page will be deleted, ignored or well publicised – it depends on our mood.
But one thing will never vary: We will never stop doing what we love most – helping polite and honest consumers get the best deal possible in real estate. And, of course, if any agents are serious about taking care of consumers, we’ll help you too. Thank you.