Go to content Go to menu

The ACCC court case

Chris and the Commonwealth Bank were accused of being in a Scheme together to Sell overpriced properties by the ACCC - the ACCC lost 55 points in the main trial and the remaining 2 on appeal but that was never publicised. Chris did not appeal but it was the exact same points of law. 

So here is Chris side of the Story 

When you take all of the Project Marketing, which is all the Developer and Builder Sales from the major Real Estate Franchise Chains they get upset as they lose Millions of Dollars in Real Estate Commission, but that is easy. Which as of 2017 is about 150,000 Investment property sales every year worth about $6Billion. So you can understand why they want to run a slander campaign to get them back, but the big issue is that property marketers could only make sales because Real Estate Agents are not trusted, according to Roy Morgan Research real estate agents only have a 12% trust rating whereas nurses have a 90% trust rating. See the attached article

 When you take Millions of Dollars away from the NewsPapers, NEWS Corp and Fairfax Ltd because you help people to Buy property in a better manner, they try and kill your business and destroy your reputation and that led to a test case from the ACCC as well as battles against the Qld OFT. Chris won them all but, he got destroyed in the process, talk about a David and Goliath battle, he got destroyed, perhaps fighting just one or two and he would have triumphed, but to fight the Media as well as the State and Federal government at the same time was perhaps too much for anyone. Chris suggests that he would have been able to handle the State and Federal government, but the media was what really destroyed him. People say that public speaking is their greatest fear, a fear greater than death. But in reality it is not public speaking they fear, it is public humiliation that they really fear and Chris suffered public humiliation on a national scale that drove him very close to suicide. 

What happened with the Valuations?

We all expect that the Government will be honest and be fair, but I think that is like expecting that Politicians will all tell the truth.

The ACCC used what they described as the most accredited Valuer in the country, he was a Sydney Valuer that flew up from Sydney and spent a couple of weeks ensuring he knew the property market and the Value of the property in Question, we know this because he told the court so and it is in the transcripts.

The Valuation given to the court was for $135,000, which made Chris side look pretty bad, as the property had been sold for $164,900, but this is where it all gets interesting. Under discovery the respondents got access to the Valuers file and then the QC’s started to attack. There were 2 other Valuations, one at just above $165,000 and when asked about that the expert Valuer said, “Yes that was the first valuation I done”. What about this other Valuation here for $150,000? “Yes that was the second Valuation that I done”. So what number Valuation is the Valuation presented to the court? “That was the third Valuation”. So why did you change the Valuations? “Because the ACCC case officer asked me to lower my Valuation”. Now the question any person with common sense - would have to ask themselves, is why would an expert witness change his opinion as to what a property was worth? Secondly, wouldn’t the first Valuation be the most accurate, after all he had been doing his research for two weeks?

Well I guess the Federal Court Judge asked herself similar questions and obviously Chris won the case. The interesting part was that if he had manipulated a Valuation like the ACCC had done he would have been put in jail for trying to pervert the course of justice.

Anyway the court agreed with Chris and the CBA that the property was worth $164,900 and there was no evidence to suggest we had sold over priced property or two tier marketing. 

Now you would think that the Queensland Government would have had the sense to look into the Valuations and their accuracy, especially when they had a Tribunal hearing about this exact same property and the same purchaser with the same people involved, but No, they added new meaning to incompetence. But no, the State Government excepted Herriot valuation for $90,000 and gave 8 purchasers back about $125,000 each, insanity.  

The General Public has been led to believe that Valuations are accurate and precise. But how can this be the case when Valuations are regularly 35% apart between different Valuation professionals. Now that does not come from just Chris where he held Valuations where they changed from $147,000 to $132,000, which is only 13% and another, where the Valuation changed from $220,000 to $170,000 overnight, which was 30%. But this came from the head of one of Australia’s Mortgage Insurers in 2014 after I spoke to him about the Valuations. The point is that the Valuers need to get their act together and start being more accurate, because 2 drunks at the local pub can be closer than 35%, that is one at $500,000 and one at $325,000, Accuracy anyone?