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Misrepresentation on development costs QLD agent $10,800

Coronis Caloundra real estate agency has been fined $10,800 by the Office of Fair Trading after misleading a buyer about the future development potential of a Kings Beach property.

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Coronis Caloundra claimed in an advertisement that development applications would be accepted to a height of seven stories, subject to Council approval. Sunshine Coast Regional Council development guidelines, however, prohibited heights above three stories.

A consumer purchased the property, based on the misrepresentation, in the belief that it had significant development potential and would provide good investment returns.

Fair Trading Acting Executive Director Sharon Simmers said real estate agents needed to pay close attention to their advertising to ensure they were not misleading consumers.

“Like all businesses, real estate agents cannot rely on disclaimers, caveats, fineprint, or terms and conditions in their advertising to moderate or discount a headline claim,” Ms Simmers said.

“The OFT encourages real estate agents to familiarise themselves with the ACL, especially their legal obligations when advertising property.”

The OFT has been conducting state-wide spot-checks throughout 2016 to ensure representations made in property advertising are accurate, with a particular focus on properties with claims about size, location or views.

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