Agent fined by authority
Sale contract alteration was ‘unsatisfactory conduct’
A former Ashburton real estate agent, now working in Wanaka, has been found guilty of unsatisfactory conduct after altering a sale and purchase agreement which led a buyer to believe they could claim over $36,000 in GST from a sale. Margaret Tayler Wilson was ordered to pay $2500 to the Real Estate Agents Authority after the Complaints Assessment Committee found she breached the authority’s code of conduct. A complaint was made to the authority in 2012 after Mrs Wilson, following the execution of an agreement for sale and purchase by the complainants, altered part of that agreement without consent and without notifying them of that action. The incident related to the agreement saying the vendors were not GST registered, and then Mrs Wilson amending it later to say that they were. It was believed the sale took place in Ashburton while she was working for First National. It was further alleged that the licensee’s principal allowed the change to the agreement to be made. Settlement of the sale and purchase took place on May 30, 2012. On the basis that the vendor was not GST registered the complainants could have, following settlement, claimed GST of $36,521.74. However, the version of the agreement document, that the seller was GST registered, meant the GST sum the complainants were hoping for would not be recoverable. A six page submission on behalf on Mrs Wilson to the committee said the issue appeared to be ‘‘of little importance’’ as the contract was GST inclusive and the complainants were never entitled to claim the GST. It also said ‘‘there was substantial contributory fault on the part of the complainants and their lawyer.’’ However, it found the complainants should have been notified. The decision, made by the committee on May 6 last year, was released last week. An authority member said the decision made not been released earlier because of backlog of complaint decisions. Mrs Wilson now works for Ray White Wanaka.