Banned agency ‘selling’ in Thailand

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EXCLUSIVE: A real estate firm that is banned from selling overseas properties in Singapore was marketing overseas properties to Thai buyers in Bangkok last week.

Although the ban only applies in the city-state, this latest incident underlines the urgent need for real estate regulation in Thailand.

Late last year Singapore’s Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) sentenced the real estate firm to a fine of S$ 66,000 (THB 1.57 million) and banned it from transacting or marketing foreign properties in Singapore until late November this year.

Last week’s event, which was hosted by a high-profile Thailand property portal, featured speakers from a Thai offshoot of the Singapore agency who were promoting overseas property sales.

On its Thailand website the agency makes many mentions of its Singapore background – with the exception of the CEA banning order.

That website itself was only registered in February 2018, after the Singapore banning order took place.

Although last week’s incident would not appear to contravene any law, the fact that Thais are being marketed to a banned agency is worrying, even if the agency itself claims its Thai entity is different to the Singapore agency.

CEA’s fine was the largest ever imposed on a property agency at the time for failing to abide by its regulations with regard to foreign property sales. It was also the second time the agency was prosecuted for failing to provide information about the risks involved when buying foreign property.

The agency was convicted of a total of six charges under Singapore’s Estate Agents Act that became law in 2010.

A total of 12 other charges were considered when sentencing took place.

Matters that saw the Singapore real estate agency banned related to U.K. property investments, where at seminars in Singapore it was found to have made false representations in advertisements.

CEA noted that throughout the property marketing process, property agents from the banned agency did not provide investors with written advisory messages about conducting their due diligence, highlight the risks involved or that transactions were subject to foreign laws.

Surely now is the time for Thailand’s real estate agencies to understand the importance of regulation?

Allowing a banned agency, in whatever business guise, to conduct business in Thailand cannot be permitted.

3 Comments

  1. Roger, thank you.

    We do not like guaranteed returns either, and back at the end of January we wrote about this topic. Often the guaranteeing company will be recently formed and have nothing in the way of financial security, so some guarantees are effectively worthless.

    Adverts for property DO form part of a contract under Thai Consumer Law, so if something that’s promised (or even implied) to be part of your purchase and is not delivered then it’s a legal issue.

    If you have any examples of false of misleading claims in Thailand property sales do feel free to forward them by email and we will take a look.

    Thanks again,

    Andrew.

  2. False representations and completely misleading adverts are commonplace within the Thai real estate industry.

    Just look at some of the adverts for these condos with an 8% guaranteed yield for 3 years, where the buyer has to pay an additional 25% on the purchase price for the guarantee, which in the event of not getting the rental return from the extra 25% they have paid is not even guaranteed, nor backed by anything in the event of financial difficulties with the guarantor. The same condo units are available without the guarantee at 25% less. Those dodgy schemes should be banned under Thai law. They would be illegal in many developed nations.

  3. A comment from an IP address that has previously been used to attack this website has been received, suggesting this story is not correct. It will not be approved.

    This story is fact. Anyone checking with Singapore’s CEA will be able to confirm the details of the ban, and anyone present at the event in Bangkok last week will know this is the same agency, albeit a Thai version. There is nothing illegal under Thai law about what happened, but it is certainly immoral at best. Anyone working in Thailand’s real estate industry should be concerned and supporting regulation, not launching an attack on the website that exposed this story.

    The agency was given time and the opportunity to contribute to this story but no reply was received. That’s why the decision was taken not to directly name the firm, however anyone familiar with both Thai and Singapore property markets will know the companies involved.

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