Property trader Peter Lee and business PWG Limited (PWG), trading as Property Wise and Auckland House Buyers, have been warned by the Commerce Commission for conduct that likely breached the Fair Trading Act.
A Commission investigation found Peter Lee and PWG made claims publicly and on the business’s websites, that in the Commission’s view, were either unsubstantiated or misleading. The claims included:
- the price PWG offered for real estate property was “fair market value” and vendors would be better off selling to PWG rather than through a real estate agent because of savings in agent fees and marketing fees, when PWG’s business was premised on purchasing property for less than fair market value
- PWG trading as Auckland House Buyers had over 14 years of real estate experience, while PWG trading as Property Wise had 20 years of real estate experience, when the business did not exist prior to September 2016
- PWG trading as Property Wise was the recipient of a “Property Professional of the year 2013/2014” award, when the business did not exist at the time the award was bestowed
- endorsements on the business’s websites were from genuine and satisfied customers, when the endorsements related to the previous owner of each brand name.
“In the Commission’s view Mr Lee and PWG did not have reasonable grounds to make any of these claims at the time they were being made, they were misleading and were likely to breach the law,” says Commission Chair Anna Rawlings.
“These claims may have induced members of the public to use PWG’s services and the Commission considers that neither Peter Lee nor the business could credibly back those claims up.”
“Consumers may not have been in a position to verify the accuracy of claims that were made themselves. Businesses must ensure that any claims and representations that they make about their services are accurate, can be supported with reasonable evidence and are not likely to mislead consumers,” says Ms Rawlings.
“Given that the sale and purchase of a house is a major transaction for anyone to enter into we also recommend that consumers take the time to do proper due diligence when selling or purchasing a house and seek independent advice to help them to do that if they feel uncertain about any aspect.”
The Commission understands Peter Lee has taken down both the Property Wise and Auckland House Buyers websites.
Peter Lee is the sole director and shareholder of PWG Limited (PWG), trading as Property Wise and Auckland House Buyers. PWG was incorporated on 15 September 2016.