Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Ray White agency to pay $1.05M for Trade Me price fixing

Hamilton's Ray White agency to pay $1.05M for Trade Me price fixing

By Sophie Boot

Aug. 9 (BusinessDesk) - Hamilton real estate agency Online Realty, which trades as Ray White Hamilton City, has been fined $1.05 million for its part in a nationwide price fixing case after a group of realtors agreed to pass on increased Trade Me Group fees for property listings as part of a response to the auction site's increasing dominance in the market

The real estate agents breached the Commerce Act by agreeing a planned nationwide industry response to Trade Me’s changed pricing model at a board meeting for Property Page (NZ), which is owned by major real estate firms Barfoot & Thompson, Harcourts, LJ Hooker, Ray White, and Bayleys.

In December 2015, the Commerce Commission filed proceedings in the High Court for alleged price fixing and anti-competitive behaviour by 13 national and regional real estate agencies, a company owned by a number of national real estate agencies, and three individuals. The commission also issued warnings to an additional eight agencies for their role in the conduct.

The courts have imposed nearly $19 million in penalties so far, with the head offices of Barfoot, Harcourts, LJ Hooker and Ray White fined $9.8 million collectively while Bayleys was fined $2.2 million.

Online Realty admitted to agreeing with other agents to pass on the cost of Trade Me listing to vendors, and to unlawful price fixing by agreeing with the others that vendors’ existing listings would be removed from Trade Me.

High Court Justice Patricia Courtney said that the Hamilton agency wasn't the ringleader but the conduct had made a significant and lasting change to the market, with the majority of Hamilton real estate agents continuing to pass on the cost.

Two Hamilton-based real estate agencies are defending the claims against them and will go to court in September. They are Lodge, its director Jeremy O'Rourke, and Monarch, trading as Harcourts Hamilton, and its director Brian King.



© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Water: Farming Leaders Pledge To Help Make Rivers Swimmable

In a first for the country, farming leaders have pledged to work together to help make New Zealand’s rivers swimmable for future generations. More>>


Unintended Consequences: Liquor Change For Grocery Stores On Tobacco Tax

Changes in the law made to enable grocery stores to continue holding liquor licences to sell alcohol despite increases in tobacco taxes will take effect on 15 September 2017. More>>

Back Again: Government Approves TPP11 Mandate

Trade Minister Todd McClay says New Zealand will be pushing for the minimal number of changes possible to the original TPP agreement, something that the remaining TPP11 countries have agreed on. More>>


By May 2018: Wider, Earlier Microbead Ban

The sale and manufacture of wash-off products containing plastic microbeads will be banned in New Zealand earlier than previously expected, Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson announced today. More>>


Snail-ier Mail: NZ Post To Ditch FastPost

New Zealand Post customers will see a change to how they can send priority mail from 1 January 2018. The FastPost service will no longer be available from this date. More>>


Property Institute: English Backs Of Debt To Income Plan

Property Institute of New Zealand Chief Executive Ashley Church is applauding today’s decision, by Prime Minister Bill English, to take Debt-to-income ratios off the table as a tool available to the Reserve Bank. More>>