Consumers protected in WA
by Neil Jenman
One of Australia’s biggest property spruikers, Rick Otton, has been banned from promoting his get-rich-quick scheme in Western Australia. The WA Commissioner for Consumer Protection, Anne Driscoll, believed that Otton had been misleading consumers with the promotion of his rent-to-buy scheme.
Otton has been widely promoting his claim that it is possible to “buy a house for a dollar” and has even written a book with the same name. He also describes himself as a “consumer advocate” and makes the claim that “he regularly meets with leading government officials who seek his advice on solving the housing affordability crisis.”
This time, however, Otton’s meeting with government officials was to prevent him from holding his get-rich seminars in WA and to undertake to make statements on his websites to the effect that property cannot be bought, as he claims, for one dollar and that the full purchase price must be paid for a property.
For several years, Rick Otton has toured Australia urging people to pay thousands of dollars to come to his get-rich property seminars. Otton’s method of getting rich through property is by using rent-to-buy schemes for properties to be sold under vendor finance. This method of selling property is both unethical and dangerous. It’s unethical because it preys upon people who can least afford to buy homes and charges them excessive amounts for a high rent and a high purchase price. The scheme is dangerous because the so-called buyers of properties under these schemes are not given title to the homes they have supposedly purchased.
A spokesperson for Community Law Australia, Carolyn Bond, said, “It’s a pity other state regulators aren’t looking more closely at Otton.”