McAnthony Real Estate censured for misleading business practices

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Brendan Burgess

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The National Federation of Property Professionals held a disciplinary hearing into MacAnthony and have found as follows. Thanks to the Overseas Café for the link.


The Tribunal were appalled to hear of the Company’s misleading business practices, including unfulfilled promises of guaranteed rental returns and misleading descriptions of the facilities that would be available to owners. The Company accepted deposits for unbuilt and unidentified properties. In some cases a purchase price was not included in the documentation provided to buyers. These problems were compounded by the Company’s poor service, including their reluctance to resolve grievances after sales had been agreed.
Despite these omissions, the Company’s position is that there is no right of cancellation by buyers, and therefore their deposits have not been returned to them. As a result members of the public have lost considerable sums of money resulting from false and enticing statements made by the Company.


THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF PROPERTY PROFESSIONALS
The Determination by the Disciplinary Sub-Committee of Case No. 52346
The Determination is dated: 2 September 2008
The Respondent: The Complainants:
Mr D MacAnthony
MacAnthony Realty International
C/Jancito Benavente S/N
Marbella
Malaga
Costa del Sol
Spain
The Hearing
1.1 The NFOPP Disciplinary Sub-Committee sitting as a Tribunal met at Arbon House on Wednesday 20 August 2008.
1.2 The Tribunal was chaired by Mr J F Atkins assisted by Mr I Lumbard and Mr M Hayward.
1.3 In attendance were Mr M D K Jones, the Business Practices Officer, Mr D Oliver, the Compliance Officer and Mr P Bolton King, the Federation’s Chief Executive.
1.4 The Complainant was in attendance at the hearing.
2. The Business Practices Officer alleged the following, breaches:
Rule 2(2) No member shall do any act (whether in the business of estate agency or otherwise) which:
- (h) involves unprofessional practice or practice that is unfair to members of the public.
Rule 2(3) A member who is a principal shall be responsible for the proper supervision of his partners, fellow directors and staff in the conduct of his business and shall be liable under these Rules of Conduct for any breaches as if such breaches had been committed by him.
Rule 6 Duty to abide by the aims and rules of the Association.
Rule 7(1) A member shall not seek business by methods which arc oppressive or involve dishonesty, deceit, or misrepresentation. Members shall not use any business term, name or initials which could cause contusion between their own business term, name or initials which could cause confusion between their own business and that of the Association. In pat Ocular, the word ‘HomeLink’ or the initials `NASA’ may only be used in their correct context with reference to the Association.
Rule 12 Duty to applicants and others.
The Federation’s Chief Executive entered a plea of not guilty on behalf of the Respondent.
The Tribunal’s Decision
After hearing the evidence and after deliberation the Tribunal’s findings were:
Rule 2(2)(b) - Proven
Rule 2(3) - Proven
Rule 6 - Proven
Rule 7(1) - Proven
Rule 12 Proven
The Business Practices Officer advised that the member had no previous disciplinary record prior to the date of the hearing.
The Federation’s Chief Executive advised that no plea in mitigation had been received from the member, however; he did refer the Tribunal to previous correspondence received from the member and his legal representatives.
Penalties
Rule 2(2)(b) - £1000
Rule 2(3) - £1000
Rule 6 - £1000
Rule 7(1) - £1000
Rule 12 - £1000
Costs - £163
The Tribunal made the following statement:
“We have today heard a number of complaints concerning the practices arid service of MRI International (the Company). Mr D MacAnthony is Chairman of the Company and he was a member of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) when the relevant breaches occurred. Rule 2(3) of the NAEA’s Rules of Conduct confirms that members are responsible for the conduct of their staff.
A number of the complainants attended the hearings to represent their cases and were questioned by the Disciplinary Sub-Committee (the Tribunal). The Tribunal were disappointed that despite a previous adjournment of the hearings at Mr MacAnthony’s request, neither Mr MacAnthony, nor a representative from the Company, nor a legal representative of the Company, were present at the hearings.
The Tribunal were appalled to hear of the Company’s misleading business practices, including unfulfilled promises of guaranteed rental returns and misleading descriptions of the facilities that would be available to owners. The Company accepted deposits for unbuilt and unidentified properties. In some cases a purchase price was not included in the documentation provided to buyers. These problems were compounded by the Company’s poor service, including their reluctance to resolve grievances after sales had been agreed.
Despite these omissions, the Company’s position is that there is no right of cancellation by buyers, and therefore their deposits have not been returned to them. As a result members of the public have lost considerable sums of money resulting from false and enticing statements made by the Company.
In all of the cases considered by the Tribunal the complainants were represented by Legal Independence/Martin Echevarria, who were recommended by the Company. Although the Tribunal’s considerations related to the Company and not the professional conduct of Legal Independence/Martin Echevarria, the Tribunal cannot emphasize too strongly the particular importance of independent legal advice when purchasers are considering purchasing overseas properties. The Tribunal is currently considering whether to take this matter further with the Law Societies /Bar Associations in the relevant countries
The complaints heard today were a sample of many more complaints received by the NAEA about the Company.
The irresponsible practices brought to light by these cases risk damaging consumer confidence and the reputation of estate agents working in the UK and overseas. The NAEA expects the highest standards of practice and ethics from its members. The level of the fines imposed reflect the seriousness with which the Tribunal views the behaviour of the Company, and therefore of Mr MacAnthony.
The NAEA has received a resignation of membership from the Company. As membership is individual and personal, the Tribunal understands the NAEA has presumed that Mr D MacAnthony has resigned. The Tribunal welcomes this development as they would have had no hesitation in terminating his membership in addition to the financial penalties imposed.”
Signed
Mr. J F Atkins FNAEA (Honoured)
Chairman - Disciplinary Sub-Committee
 

jmayo

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Am I missing something but did they only get fined £5,163 ?
They made that much in a minute at some of their seminars.

It shows how much they think of the whole process when they don't bother showing up.
As I mentioned before there hard sell approach left a lot to be desired, but I guess they knew how to play to people's greed.
I wonder how they are now fairing seeing as there great sales flipping speil is now defunct ?
 
Z

z109

Guest
I'm not a legal person, but is there any way in which "unfulfilled promises of guaranteed rental returns and misleading descriptions of the facilities that would be available to owners" is not fraud? :confused:

The fine is as reprehensible as the crimes; is it any wonder the perception is that self-regulation is a sham designed to protect the incumbent players?
 

ubiquitous

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The fine is as reprehensible as the crimes; is it any wonder the perception is that self-regulation is a sham designed to protect the incumbent players?
How does it protect them? If there are "crimes" involved, surely the law of the land applies regardless?
 
Z

z109

Guest
How does it protect them?
By not adequately policing them, either through a lack of proactive policing or through sufficiently deterrent penalties once misdemeanours have been uncovered.

I'd like self-regulating shop-lifting laws please. Oops, I took on deposit a million euros worth of clobber. I think I'll fine myself a grand... sorry, those deposits are non-refundable...
 

ubiquitous

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By not adequately policing them, either through a lack of proactive policing or through sufficiently deterrent penalties once misdemeanours have been uncovered.

I'd like self-regulating shop-lifting laws please. Oops, I took on deposit a million euros worth of clobber. I think I'll fine myself a grand... sorry, those deposits are non-refundable...
Sorry I don't see your point. If you shoplift from my store, I can take a civil case against you. However that does not stop the State from also bringing criminal proceedings against you.

The actions of the NFOPP do not stop the State from taking action if they are satisfied that a crime has been committed.
 
I

izzie

Guest
I agree that the laws of the land should apply here and that there it may possibly be a case of fraud. It is now up to the relevant authorities to look into this and take any action they see as appropriate.
Because the company are appealing the decisions, this is holding up any further action at the moment, but their dealings can obviously be looked into as to whether there is a case to answer.
 
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