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Misleading claims over its success at auctions


Media Release

Issued 7 November 2001/109

Misleading claims over its success at auctions costs Harveys Estate Agents $3,000

Misleading the public over its success with auctions recently cost John Coxhead Realty Limited, trading as Harveys Estate Agents-Auctioneers, $3,000 in the Morrinsville District Court.

Harveys placed advertisements in the Piako Post last year claiming a 100% success rate at auctions. The advertisement listed eight properties with tick marks against their names, indicating they were sold by auction. In fact, only one of the properties listed was sold by auction.

"This company advertised auctions as a strength of its business based on misleading information," says Commerce Commission's Director of Fair Trading Deb Battell.

"Most consumers understand an auction to mean a sale under the hammer, which is the definition under the Auctioneers Act. "Harveys claimed the advertisement intended to convey to consumers that its auction and marketing programme worked. However the advertisements did not mention anything about the company's marketing programme and concentrated only on its auctions.

"Consumers generally pay extra to hold an auction when selling a property. It is therefore important that they are not misled about the success rate of a particular agent."

The company was found guilty of breaching section 11 of the Fair Trading Act, which covers misleading conduct in relation to goods.

Media contact: Director of Fair Trading Deb Battell Phone work (04) 498 0908, cellphone 025 208 0841

Senior Advisor Communications Jackie Maitland Phone work (04) 498 0920, cellphone (025) 249 3407

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