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Property Brokers, director fined $1.5m

NZN 10/04/2017 Rebecca Howard

Property Brokers and its director Tim Mordaunt have been ordered to pay penalties totalling $1.5 million.

This was for colluding with other real estate agencies to make vendors foot the bill for advertising property on an auction site, according to a High Court judgement.

In the High Court in Auckland, Justice Murray Gilbert said Property Brokers and Mordaunt admitted they entered an anti-competitive price-fixing agreement with at least 10 other real estate agencies in the Manawatu region.

The agreement was to pass on to vendor clients the costs of listing properties on Trade Me instead of absorbing these costs as overheads, as was the previous practice.

Property Brokers and Mordaunt reached settlements with the Commerce Commission admitting that their conduct breached the prohibition on price fixing in the Commerce Act, the regulator said in a statement.

The court on Monday ordered them to pay penalties of $1.45 million and $50,000 respectively.

Property Brokers and Mordaunt are the final defendants to appear in Court in the Commerce Commission's Manawatu proceedings, which had already seen Unique Realty and Manawatu 1994 fined $1.25m each for their roles in the price-fixing deal.

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