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New Zealand: Regulator takes 13 real estate firms to High Court for alleged price fixing

 |  December 16, 2015

Thirteen New Zealand real estate firms colluded in agreeing to pass on increased Trade Me Group fees for property listings as part of a response to the auction site’s increasing dominance in the market, the Commerce Commission alleges.

The competition watchdog filed proceedings in the Auckland High Court against realtors including Barfoot and Thompson, Harcourts Group, LJ Hooker New Zealand, Ray White Real Estate and Bayley Corp. It alleges price fixing and anti-competitive behaviour in 2013 and 2014 in response to Trade Me changing from a monthly subscription fee to a per-listing fee for properties advertised for sale, the commission said.

Property Page, owned by a group of major real estate firms, and itself the half owner of Trade Me rival realestate.co.nz, and three individuals are also named in the lawsuit. The commission has also issued warnings to eight Manawatu agencies it considers “likely to have breached the Commerce Act.” Settlements have already been reached with Bayleys and Unique Realty, with the breaches admitted and agreement to pay penalties imposed by the court, it said.

Full content: NZ Advisor

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