Estate Agent’s Enormous Claim

Peter Mericka B.A., LL.BOPINION
by Peter Mericka B.A., LL.B
Real Estate Consumer Advocate
Real Estate Lawyer
Qualified Practising Conveyancer Victoria
Director Lawyers Real Estate Pty Ltd
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Pam Treeby is an estate agent who apparently does things on an enormous scale. Her website at states that Pam Treeby has enormous skill and enormous engergy. Pam Treeby also makes a rather enormous claim regarding her services.

In recent times we have had cause to complain about estate agents who claim to offer services they either can’t deliver, or they are not qualified to deliver, so we felt compelled to take Ms. Treeby to task when we saw that she advertises on her website that she provides to vendors and purchasers alike:

“Ongoing support and advice all the way to settlement.”

As it turned out, the task of extracting details of the“Ongoing support and advice all the way to settlement” Ms. Treeby provides to her clients was also enormous!

We contacted Ms. Treeby, and put the following to her:

  • The role of the estate agent ends when a purchaser has been introduced to the property.
  • The estate agent does not represent either party in the sale transaction, as this is the role of the parties’ lawyers.
  • Ms. Treeby does not have the capacity to offer “ongoing support” post contract.
  • Ms. Treeby does not have the capacity to offer “ongoing advice” post contract.
  • The assertion that Ms. Treeby offers “ongoing support and advice all the way to settlement” is quite misleading.

Ms. Treeby responded as follows:

One of the biggest complaints that buyers and sellers have is that they never hear from their agent again once a transaction takes place. I feel that it is wrong to not stay in touch after the deal is done, I don’t want people to think that I have forgotten about them. I stay in touch to see how things are going, if they have any legal questions I refer them to their legal representative.

We noted that one of the reasons why a consumer may think that an estate agent should be maintaining contact is that the estate agent may have led the consumer to believe that estate agents provide “Ongoing support and advice all the way to settlement.”

We also put to Ms. Treeby that estate agents do have a motive for maintaining contact post-settlement, but it has more to do with preventing either party from ending the contract and losing the estate agent’s commission. (We recently had to advise an elderly client to report an estate agent to the police for stalking because he would not leave her alone after she had cancelled the contract.)

Another reason for estate agents “keeping in touch” after the sale is to press for early release of the deposit so that the commission can be deducted from the deposit before it is passed on to the vendor.

Is Ms. Treeby’s advertised “Ongoing support and advice all the way to settlement” no more than misleading spruiking? We put this to her, and we also invited her to provide a concrete example of her “Ongoing support and advice all the way to settlement.”

Ms. Treeby did not respond.

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