by Peter Mericka B.A., LL.B
Real Estate Lawyer
Qualified Practising Conveyancer Victoria
Director Lawyers Real Estate Pty Ltd
In my last blog posting I wrote about Consumer Affairs Victoria’s failure to address bribe induced corruption in the real estate and conveyancing industry. I concluded that posting by saying that I had written to Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) again, drawing attention to my blog posting, and promising that I would publish CAV’s response. The response that I received confirms the moribund state of CAV’s policy on corruption in the real estate and conveyancing industries it supposedly regulates.
CAV’s failure to act on the corrupting effects of bribes
In my blog posting “Why Corruption Flourishes Under Consumer Affairs Victoria” I outlined the problem of bribe payments made by licensed conveyancers to real estate agents, and how this has a detrimental effect on both industries and on the consumers CAV is charged with protecting.
I had made a formal written complaint to CAV, providing full details including the names of two licensed conveyancers who openly advertise the fact that they offer bribe payments to real estate agents, together with the name of a real estate agent who had admitted to receiving bribe payments, and requesting that the problem be investigated. I received an arrogant and dismissive response which stated,
“In order for Consumer Affairs Victoria to determine if any breach of the relevant legislation has occurred, Consumer Affairs Victoria would require evidence that a conveyancer has not disclosed the payment or receipt of a commission in relation to a conveyancing transaction to his or her client.”
CAV completely ignored the role of the real estate agent, and the failure of real estate agents to disclose the bribe payment to the party being referred, and the fact that such failure constitutes a serious criminal offence to which the licensed conveyancer becomes a party.