Newtownards property broker fined for putting non-existant properties for sale on his website
A Newtownards property broker has been fined £1,000 for putting non-existant properties for sale on his website and copying photographs and descriptions from other estate agents without their permission.
The Trading Standards Service of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment brought the case against Steve Cummings of Motelands, Belfast, for breaches of the Unfair Trading Regulations and the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act.
Mr Cummings is formerly a director of PC Media Solutions Ltd which traded as Emperial Property Brokers before being dissolved in June 2011.
He claimed to be selling 200 properties a year when most of those on his company website were lifted from other estate agents and given new or fake addresses.
The offences came to light after an estate agent complained to Consumerline about the Emperial website featuring properties from other sites .
The complainant further alleged that vendors were being cold-called by Emperial Property Brokers and promised that they would have a better chance of selling their property with them.
Approximately 20 customers paid £300 each to become clients of Emperial – two of them later complaining to TSS.
Kerry McAuley, Enforcement Officer, said the TSS "takes a very dim view of the sharp practice" here. "Mr Cummings set out to deliberately mislead customers with a number of grossly misleading claims," she said.