ÎLE-DES-SOEURS, QC, Dec. 2, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - The law firm of McMillan S.E.N.C.R.L. has filed an application for authorization to institute class action on behalf of the Québec Federation of Real Estate Boards (QFREB) against DuProprio for misleading advertising and unfair competition. The QFREB alleges that DuProprio has been systematically engaging in deceptive advertising campaigns for years, misleading Québec consumers about the so-called savings associated with DuProprio's services, and about the supposed advantages of its real estate services compared to those of brokers. Among other issues, DuProprio presents real estate brokers in a negative manner, systematically denigrates them and questions their competence and integrity.
Exaggerated Savings and an Unenforceable Guarantee
DuProprio emphasizes to potential sellers that they will "save them thousands of dollars", and its website contains many testimonials about these so-called savings compared to the presumed cost of using a real estate broker. The company even offers sellers an explicit guarantee: "there will be more money left in your pocket by selling your property with DuProprio as opposed to paying a commission."
The QFREB alleges that DuProprio's claims are false and misleading. To enhance its product, DuProprio deliberately ignores the variation in real estate brokers' rates. It uses an arbitrary comparison rate (benefiting DuProprio) that is presented to consumers as an industry standard. The comparative calculator on its website does not allow consumers to change this artificially standardized and inflated rate. The guarantee of savings, by its nature, is completely ineffective; according to the QFREB, it is nothing more than a commercial "gimmick" to mislead consumers.
Guarantees Offered by Real Estate Brokers
The QFREB also alleges that DuProprio lies to Québec consumers about several other aspects of the real estate broker profession. For example, it falsely states that brokers do not offer any guarantees against hidden defects. In doing so, DuProprio disregards all of the legal protections provided by the legal insurance programs offered by many real estate agencies. These insurance programs offer a multitude of additional legal protections to clients of real estate brokers.
Mtre Éric Vallières, lawyer at the McMillan law firm in Montréal, says: "In Québec, the legislator has ruled that real estate brokers should have received professional training and hold a licence issued by the OACIQ. They are also subject to strict requirements and high standards of service." According to the QFREB, DuProprio's false and
malicious advertising campaigns denigrate brokers and tempt Québec consumers with exaggerated savings, often causing them to deprive themselves – without reason – of professional services that they may often need. Because of its illegal conduct, DuProprio misleads consumers and undermines real estate brokers.
About the Québec Federation of Real Estate Boards
The Québec Federation of Real Estate Boards is a non-profit organization composed of Québec's 12 real estate boards and the more than 13,000 real estate brokers who are their members. Its mission is to promote and protect the interests of Québec's real estate industry so that the boards and their members can successfully meet their business objectives.
SOURCE: Fédération des chambres immobilières du Québec
For further information: Source: Québec Federation of Real Estate Boards, 600 chemin du Golf, Montréal, Québec, Canada H3E 1A8; For more information: Mtre Éric Vallières, McMillan S.E.N.C.R.L., 514-987-5068