Real estate agency fined more than $1m for price fixing

by Krizzel Canlas10 Aug 2017
A Hamilton real estate agency has been ordered to pay a penalty of $1.05 million for price fixing.

Online Realty Limited, trading under the Ray White banner, was one of the 13 real estate agencies facing legal action after the Commerce Commission filed proceedings in 2015 for alleged price fixing and competitive behaviour.

According to the latest report from ComCom, Online Realty has admitted to having agreed with the other defendants to pass on the cost of listing on TradeMe to vendors, in response to TradeMe changing its listing fee from a monthly subscription to a per-listing fee. 

Online Realty also admitted unlawful price fixing by agreeing with the others that vendors’ existing listings would be removed from TradeMe.

The court judgment by Justice Patricia Courtney said that while Online Realty was not a ringleader in the case, the conduct has brought a significant and lasting change to the market, with the majority of Hamilton real estate agents continuing to pass on the cost, according to ComCom.

To date the case has seen more than $18.97 million in court-imposed penalties. 

ComCom said the remaining defendants involved are due to go to trial in September. 

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