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Phantom bidding slammed

Phantom bidding at house auctions hit the headlines across the ditch last week when a Melbourne magistrate slammed the practice as "evil, deceitful and misleading."

Tuesday, July 17th 2001, 9:05AM

by Jenny Ruth

Phantom bidding at house auctions hit the headlines across the ditch last week when a Melbourne magistrate slammed the practice as "evil, deceitful and misleading."

Prominent Melbourne real estate agent Tim Fletcher was suing buyer’s advocate Justin Dunne for defamation, alleging Dunne called him an idiot and threatened to report him to the fraud squad after an auction in May last year.

Fletcher had been bidding on behalf of the vendor at that auction and Dunne failed to secure the property for his client.

The practice of agents bidding up to the vendor’s reserve price is common on both sides of the Tasman and made the headlines here last year after high profile Auckland real estate agent Michael Boulgaris conducted an auction on television show Location Location Location.

Last week, Melbourne magistrate Colin Maclead, who dismissed the defamation claim, said that ``pulling bids out of the air ... in my view, amounts to a fraud," The Age newspaper reported.

"I find that Mr Fletcher, in using what on evidence, sadly, is a common practice, was indulging in a deceitful, misleading and fraudulent stratagem to boost bids.’’

Macleod found Dunne had been "duped’’ and "put off and misled’’ by Fletcher’s "clever use’’ of fictitious bids at the auction.

Dunne "could not keep track of where and when honest bids were made,’’ Macleod said.

Outside the court, Fletcher said it was "a sad day for the vendors of Australia,’’ that the practice was not deceptive and that he would appeal against the decision.

"It's a vendor's right to bid at a figure they're not prepared to sell at ... and it's made often through the auctioneer,’’Fletcher said.

New Zealand’s Real Estate Institute shares Fletcher’s view.

Real estate agents "are entitled’’ to made vendor bids, says REINZ president Rex Hadley. "A judge is entitled to his opinion, but it’s not dishonest. The conditions of an auction are read out to the public prior to a public auction,’’ he says. "I can’t have it at all that it’s underhand.’’

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Mortgage Rates Table

Full Rates Table | Compare Rates

Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
ANZ 5.74 4.89 5.05 5.10
ANZ Special - 4.39 4.49 -
ASB Bank 5.75 4.85 4.99 5.25
ASB Bank Special - 4.39 4.49 4.75
BankDirect 5.75 4.85 4.99 5.25
BankDirect Special - 4.39 4.49 4.75
BNZ - Mortgage One 6.40 - - -
BNZ - Rapid Repay 5.85 - - -
BNZ - Special - 4.39 4.39 4.49
BNZ - Std, FlyBuys 5.79 4.85 5.09 5.25
BNZ - TotalMoney 5.79 - - -
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Credit Union Auckland 6.70 - - -
Credit Union Baywide 5.95 5.25 5.15 -
Credit Union North 6.45 - - -
Credit Union South 6.45 - - -
Finance Direct 6.10 6.45 6.69 7.10
First Credit Union 5.85 - - -
Heartland 6.70 7.00 7.25 7.85
Heretaunga Building Society 5.75 4.85 5.05 -
Housing NZ Corp 5.74 4.85 4.99 5.10
HSBC Premier 6.10 4.25 4.49 4.99
HSBC Premier LVR > 80% - - - -
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
HSBC Special - 4.25 4.25 -
ICBC 5.60 4.69 4.69 4.99
Kiwibank 5.65 4.85 5.00 5.25
Kiwibank - Capped - - - -
Kiwibank - Offset 5.65 - - -
Kiwibank Special - 4.39 4.49 4.85
Liberty - - - -
Napier Building Society 6.50 5.80 6.70 -
Nelson Building Society 6.35 5.20 5.40 -
NZ Home Loans 5.85 4.85 4.99 5.25
Perpetual Trust 7.70 - - -
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Resimac 5.59 5.24 5.29 5.39
SBS Bank 5.74 4.85 4.99 5.10
SBS Bank Special - 4.35 4.35 4.65
Sovereign 5.85 4.85 4.99 5.25
Sovereign Special - 4.39 4.49 4.75
The Co-operative Bank 5.70 4.39 4.49 4.75
TSB Bank 5.74 4.85 4.95 5.25
TSB Special - 4.35 4.29 4.79
Wairarapa Building Society 6.20 5.75 5.95 -
Westpac 5.85 4.85 5.05 5.10
Westpac - Capped rates - 6.15 6.15 -
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Westpac - Offset 5.85 - - -
Westpac Special - 4.39 4.39 4.65
Median 5.85 4.85 4.99 5.10

Last updated: 10 February 2016 10:11am

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