A NEW Zealand couple that sold investment properties to Queensland residents has been hit with fines totalling $100,000 after being found guilty of misleading consumers in the Mackay Magistrates Court this week.
Tone Susann Munro, 60, was convicted and fined $60,000 and Dennis Leslie Munro, 58, was convicted and fined $40,000 on Tuesday.
The court was told the pair sold house and land packages to unsuspecting investors in Mackay during 2007 and 2008, targeting residents through a display stand at a local shopping centre.
The court also heard the duo deliberately misled potential buyers to make as many sales as they could.
This included telling investors that pools and air-conditioning units were included in their building contracts when they weren't.
To induce buyers to sign contracts, it was falsely represented that the buyers would receive rebates from the builders of up to $10,000.
The builders had given no authority for these representations to be made.
Buyers also were told that the houses would be completed within six weeks when the actual construction time was about four months.
The Munros also falsely claimed they were licensed with the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ).
Real estate agent licences are issued by the Office of Fair Trading, not the REIQ.
Minister for Fair Trading Peter Lawlor said it was important consumers dealt with a licensed real estate agent when looking at purchasing or selling property.
“Consumers and businesses can conduct a free search online at www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au to check if a particular agent is licensed,” Mr Lawlor said.
“Queenslanders deserve to know they are dealing with reputable and licensed agents,” he said.
To check if a real estate agent is licensed, or for more information about breaches of fair trading law, consumers should contact Fair Trading on 137468 or visiting the website, www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au.
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