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Court clears SME of deceitful advertising

Adam Zuchetti
Adam Zuchetti
07 March 2018 1 minute readShare
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A boutique real estate agency has been cleared in court of using misleading advertising to market residential land in a series of newspaper advertisements.

Adelaide-based Cocks Auld Real Estate had been accused by South Australia’s Consumer and Business Services Commissioner, which oversees issues of fair trading and consumer affairs, of advertising residential land for sale in local newspapers and The Advertiser for $550,000.

This allegedly went against the vendor’s accepted minimum price of $600,000.

The commissioner announced back in June 2017 of impending court action against Cocks Auld, alleging four breaches each of Australian Consumer Law and the South Australian Land and Business (Sale and Conveyancing) Act, by making false or misleading representations about the land and its price expectations.

However in court last week, Magistrate Paul Bennett cleared the agency of any wrongdoing. In doing so, he said that the documentary evidence did not prove beyond reasonable doubt that the vendor had wanted a $600,000 sale price before the advertisements were placed.

The judge ordered the Consumer Affairs Commissioner to pay Cocks Auld’s costs in defending the case.

Cocks Auld Real Estate was acquired last year by another small firm, Harris Real Estate, prior to the legal action being announced.

Its managing director, Phil Harris, declined to comment, given the issue pre-dated the acquisition.


Court clears SME of deceitful advertising
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Adam Zuchetti
Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti is the former editor of MyBusiness and a senior freelance media professional, specialising in the fields of business, personal finance and property. In 2020, he also embarked on his own business journey – inspired in part by the entrepreneurs and founders he had met through his journalistic work – with the launch of customised pet gifting and subscription service Paws N’ All.

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