Beware of third party websites offering gifts


In this case the gifts come in the form of easy listings. In this podcast we refer to Open Agent but there are a number of sites that offer similar opportunities to pick up listings in return for a referral fee. But as you will hear it is not all it is painted up to be.

Hear the interviews Kevin did with Mark Dwyer and then Joint CEO of Open Agent, Marta Higuera.

  • Jeff Wright
    Posted at 12:19h, 30 March Reply

    Thank you for this great commentary , which I have been closely watching and become disengaged with these on-line companies. We have assessed with many potential/sellers who have been quite shocked at the referral fee programme. Those sellers have been aware of us agencies and some used us….not aware from those on-line companies that they were charging a 20% fee. The feedback after the event is poor, and they feel disgruntled.
    It remains up to all of us reputable agencies to not engage with the said .com companies. Leave them out to dry and fully abandon any appraisal requests selling or renting. We need to stand strong against this on-line growth taking our commissions and also forcing bad price discounting as well.

    • Reno Romeo
      Posted at 01:30h, 01 April Reply

      I totally agree, one step further would be to make the public aware of this referral fee, which in my view is misleading vendors that they are getting the best choice of agent for that area but in reality the information these companies they have on agents is mostly incomplete or inaccurate so they can’t possibly be referring the best agent for the job especially if the best agent does not register with them because they are competent enough to get their own listing and referrals without paying a third party for them.
      in the end all these companies do is cost the consumers more. if we look at the same practices for insurance, phone and utilities companies they all pay similar comparison companies a fee to be listed and recommended and that fee is passed on to the consumer in the end.
      Don’t support these middle men, in the end they just gouge out profit for themselves and don’t help vendors or agents.

  • Daniel Irvine
    Posted at 13:44h, 30 March Reply

    In NSW under the Property Stock and Business Agents Act 2002 the following applies:
    33 Licensee not to share commission with certain persons

    (1) A licensee must not enter into an arrangement with or act in conjunction with a person that the licensee knows to be an unlicensed person (other than an employee in the licensee’s business as a licensee) whereby the unlicensed person is entitled to a share of the commission, fee, gain or reward payable to the licensee in respect of any transaction by or with him or her as a licensee or generally.
    Maximum penalty:

    (a) 100 penalty units in the case of a corporation, or
    (b) 50 penalty units in any other case.
    (2) In this section:
    corresponding Act means an Act of another State or a Territory that is declared by the regulations to be a corresponding Act for the purposes of this section.

    unlicensed person means a person who is not licensed under this Act or a corresponding Act.

    Does this section have application in the case of these sites where they are not licensed agents?

    Food for thought perhaps?

  • Reno Romeo
    Posted at 16:41h, 30 March Reply

    I have a problem with who ranks agents with incorrect information unless you join them and correct it.
    I also suspect that they will start to charge fees for services once they have you hooked also it’s just another services that needs constant updating.

    I wrote and told them that they had the wrong information and I didn’t want to be ranked by them and to remove me from their ranking lists completely as it was causing clients to question why they had different information to what I provided and why I was ranked so low.
    for example they had me selling no property in an area over the past 12 months where I had sold 2 and this is similar for all the areas I have been actively selling.

    I feel this has the potential to damage my client relationships and referrals from them if they should look me up.

    I don’t just sell property in one particular area of sydney and in the past few years I’m only working at quarter my previous levels due to a medical problem so under their ranking system of volume of sales or value of property sold in the area, I will never get a high ranking even though I provide a professional and high level of service and get great results for my clients in all kinds of markets.

    I feel this will mislead people who view the website about what a good agent and good service is and benefit only agents who only work a specific area and who may work on low commissions just to have a high turnover and keep the ranking. This has to impact on the quality of service provided or compromises prices to get the turnover.

    I wouldn’t be so bothered if I was not included on the sites without my authority and if the information shown was correct without me having to join agree to their terms and correct my information.
    My questions is how can a company just come along and hijack an agent without consent and the industry just stand by and do nothing.
    All these companies and there are many of them are trying to steal our business a bit at a time and somehow we are letting them. If all agents refuses to join and provide details and asked to be removed they would be gone overnight.
    If consumers feel they needed a fair comparison system then an industry body would be the best source of this service not companies that are just blackmailing agents to get a slice of their hard earned commissions.
    I’m mad about what is happening, that after almost 30 years in the industry with an unblemished good reputation with all my clients, companies like this one threaten to damage it.

    I’d like to see this issue of rating agents exposed for what they are a rort for deceiving vendors for their own benefit.

  • Jennifer Castle
    Posted at 02:20h, 19 April Reply

    I am angry too Kevin I rang up One Agent to discuss their false advertising and ask about their terms and conditions. I was cross because they advertised that this was a free service.When I rang up I asked how can I call it a free service when they are charging the agent 20%. Therefore they must know what says the agents are charging. They said they didn’t know this so I asked what is to stop that agent adding a 20% fee on to their commission. They said their agents wouldn’t do that. To test this relationship out between One Agent and their agents I decided to join to see what would happen. I have no hope getting a referral as there are many other agents in my area who have sold a lot more properties than me as I am relatively new. If there is some sort of service they give their agents outside of just joining the site I am yet to receive it. This is such an extravagant display of false advertising on so many levels I am surprised the ACCC isn’t smashing them. I can’t even refer a broker and receive financial gain without disclosing it, even if I think they are the best! Just too frustrating!!

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