Chief Editor March 08 2024

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Property agent fined $14000 and suspended for fake property listings and advertisements

In the bustling world of real estate, where the stakes are high and competition is fierce, maintaining ethical standards is paramount. The Code of Ethics and Professional Client Care (CEPCC) serves as a beacon guiding real estate agents and salespersons towards ethical conduct and professionalism. However, as exemplified in the case of Abel Ang Pei Xiong, a real estate salesperson (RES) registered with ERA, deviations from these standards can have serious consequences.

Paragraph 12(4)(a) of the CEPCC explicitly mandates that estate agents and salespersons refrain from disseminating any inaccurate, false, or misleading information in their advertisements. This provision is not just a legal requirement but also a moral obligation to uphold transparency and fairness in the real estate industry.

Abel Ang's case, which unfolded between December 2021 and February 2022, underscores the repercussions of flouting these ethical guidelines. Ang, in his capacity as an RES, posted online advertisements for three new property developments – Properties A, B, and C. However, instead of adhering to the accurate prices provided by the developers, Ang advertised significantly lower prices, ranging from $260,000 to over one million dollars less than the developers' asking prices.

The ensuing disciplinary proceedings revealed the gravity of Ang's actions. The CEA Disciplinary Committee (DC) found him guilty of three breaches of Paragraph 12(4)(a) of the CEPCC. The DC's ruling emphasized that Ang's misleading advertisements were not mere oversights but deliberate attempts to deceive potential buyers. Such practices not only tarnish the integrity of the profession but also unjustly disadvantage other RESs adhering to ethical standards.

The repercussions for Abel Ang were severe. Convicted on three charges, he faced fines totaling $14,000 and a five-month suspension starting from October 2023. Beyond the financial penalties, the suspension serves as a reminder of the consequences of ethical misconduct in the real estate industry.

Ang's actions had broader implications beyond his individual misconduct. Misleading advertisements not only deceive consumers but also cast doubt on the transparency and credibility of developers and the real estate profession as a whole. Discrepancies between advertised prices and actual selling prices erode trust and undermine the integrity of the market.

Moreover, Ang's conduct highlights the ethical dilemma faced by RESs in a competitive market environment. The temptation to attract clients through deceptive means can be alluring, but it comes at the cost of professional integrity and long-term trust.

To prevent such ethical lapses in the future, stringent enforcement of ethical guidelines and regular training programs are essential. Real estate agencies must foster a culture of integrity and accountability, where RESs understand the importance of honesty and transparency in all their dealings.

In conclusion, Ang's case serves as a cautionary tale for real estate professionals, underscoring the imperative of upholding ethical standards in advertising practices. By adhering to the principles outlined in the CEPCC, RESs not only fulfill their legal obligations but also contribute to a fair, transparent, and trustworthy real estate industry.