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TAS Real Estate Agents - Illegal to Change Contract After Signing?

Discussion in 'Australian Consumer Law Forum' started by Grant_tas, 24 April 2015.

  1. Grant_tas

    Grant_tas Member

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    I signed a contract to sell my house and we agreed on 3% sales commission and it was wrote in the contract. The real estate agents then had photos and a video take of the house and two days after I received a copy of the contract and someone had changed the 3% to 3.3% without our knowledge. I want to know if this voids the contract and can I get out of the contract now because I do not trust them. Also would I still have to pay for the photos that were taken?
     
  2. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Hi Grant,

    One party cannot unilaterally change a signed contract. Do you have a copy of the original contract you signed? Or, is the amendment on the original contract you signed? If the terms you agreed to was 3%, then it is reasonable to have the agent honour the 3% commission rate. If they did unilaterally change the contract, you can lodge a complaint against them as this would possibly violate the agency profession's code of conduct. Is the agent (or company) a member of a professional body? If so, you can lodge a complaint against the agent (if they refuse to honour the original 3%) with the professional body (e.g. Property Agents Board, see also: Ombudsman Tasmania).

    But first, you should:
    • Find a copy of the original terms you signed (or any indirect evidence than can support your claim that the original commission rate was 3%)
    • Write a letter to the agent (or email) informing them that the terms you agreed to was 3% commission, not 3.3%, and that this was reflected in the original contract, and ask them to honour the 3% commission rate
    • Keep a copy of any correspondences made with the agent (or third parties) in relation to this matter.
     
    Tim W likes this.
  3. Grant_tas

    Grant_tas Member

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    Thanks for getting back I to me Sarah. They are a national real estate company and I actually rang the agent back and said why was it changed and he replied the the 3% didn't include gst which I had to pay on top of the commission. But on the contract under where he wrote 3% it states that the commission payable is gst inclusive. Even though it's a photocopy it is quite easy to see that the 3. Has been added to the front of the signal 3% I signed. It makes me very suspicious of there ethics and standards if they would do this to a contract what else would they do. I do not want to have them selling my house now but I'm afraid they will try hit me up for more fees.
     
  4. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Hi Grant,

    That is understandable. Give the Property Agents Board a call and see if you have a ground to terminate the contract on this basis. Under contract law, you may have grounds under bad faith, however, it is unclear whether Tasmanian courts are willing to accept this. Your easiest option would still be to negotiate with the estate agent for them to release you from the contract given the relationship breakdown.
     

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