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Realtors take Competition Bureau head on

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guest | 14 Mar 2012, 01:27 PM Agree 0

The problem, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board, is that homesellers would effectively be put at risk with requirements their Realtors include their telephone contact information, along with details about how much they paid for their properties.
“Easy access to information online is a huge safety issue,” Von Palmer, the real estate board’s chief privacy officer, told The Globe and Mail. “There is a real possibility of break-ins and assaults; you only have to read the headlines to imagine what might happen. You hear stories about realtors getting attacked and killed. Can you imagine if we put that information out there about consumers? You can only imagine the headlines.”
The comments come well ahead of a competition tribunal set for this fall and expected to see the Competition Bureau argue for direct consumer access to seller information without having to go through Realtors. Those details would also be made available online to homebuyers.
TREB is fighting that call for greater disclosure, with the competition bureau suggesting that the information is already being made available to clients by Realtors.
TREB isn't waiting on that hearing and has already hired Angus Reid Vision Critical to conduct a phone survey. The goal is to back up its members' assertion that  Ontarians want their personal information kept off line and out of the hands of sellers, increasingly bypassing Realtors and searching for homes on their own.
“TREB is trying to have it both ways as the identical information is routinely provided today by real estate agents to consumers," Greg Scott, spokesman for the Competition Bureau, said this week.
  • Susan Meckiffe | 15 Mar 2012, 09:37 PM Agree 0
    I have a been a Realtor for 27 years and I do not give out anyon'es personal and private information. We are bound by the privacy act and I adhere to it.
  • Jay | 15 Mar 2012, 10:43 PM Agree 0
    competition commission should really give realtors a rest.
    This seems like personal war against reators to me. They are doing everything to destroy real estate proffessionals in Ontario. What mess would that be? People are already fed up with "sell it yourself" on mls thing.

    Why are we realtors paying to have access to mls then, if everyone can access the same info?
    Absolute nonsense
  • judy castle | 15 Mar 2012, 11:13 PM Agree 0
    I have been a realtor since 1991, and feel very strongly about these comments made by Greg Scott. I personally have not in the past and will not in the future disclose private information to buyers or anyone for that matter, routinely or otherwise. As Susan Meckiffe stated to do so would be in violation of the privacy act and I for one consider myself to be an upstanding and ethical agent. Mr. Scott you need to take your statement and rotate on it as not everyone is painted with the same brush as you would like the public to believe.
  • Sandra Sheffield | 15 Mar 2012, 11:30 PM Agree 0
    How can the competition bureau justify allowing the public access to information realtors aren't allowed to provide under privacy laws? Where is the Privacy Commissioner in all of this?
  • Carol Selinger | 15 Mar 2012, 11:38 PM Agree 0
    My vendors phone numbers are never put on the listing information-I book the appointments only-then I know whom the agent is,what company they are from, and what time they should be arriving-My vendors are protected-I can't imagine leaving their private phone information open to the public.
  • Steven Porter | 16 Mar 2012, 12:30 AM Agree 0
    Let's start putting in perspective. If home buyers/seller info on the MLS is made public, let's start demanding car deals etc. start making information on what they're selling cars for, who bought it, etc. you get my drift. All industries with a web presence should have their eye on this matter. If the real estate industry info is all made Public it will set a precedent for the Competion Bureau to come afte other industries.

    I am a Realtor of 26 years. Personally, I feel the best way to resolve this whole issue is to take (MLS.ca) Realtor.ca off line. After all who's paying for this any way???? The Realtors!
  • Simone Rioux | 16 Mar 2012, 02:03 AM Agree 0
    ...so let me get this strait - the Competition Bureau is making their case based on the fact that there happens to be 'a lot' of Realtors out there breaking the privacy act, so therefor they are trying to mandate that the privacy act should not be required to be followed in the practice of Real Estate sales?! THIS IS COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS!! How dare they!

    Tisk tisk on those Realtors that do give out seller information...as I have seen it myself with the full brokers MLS listing stacked as 'feature sheets' at a home for the taking by buyers. However I believe more than not that these realtors have made an honest mistake and should be reminded about the privacy act! as this IS the kind of conduct that does give us Realtors a bad reputation. But definitely not a basis to change the privacy act.

    I am appalled by the Competition Bureau and their witch hunt and the entire mess they have created from the beginning!!!

    (just had to get my thoughts out there!)
  • Lynne | 16 Mar 2012, 04:19 AM Agree 0
    why doesn't the competition bureau go after the province of BC where you can "only buy" car insurance from a government agency. what's that about!!!

    realtors stop putting private info on tour listings!
  • elsie anderson | 16 Mar 2012, 04:35 AM Agree 0
    If we can't even advertise a home has sold without the written consent of the seller, how can all this nonsense that the competition bureau is suggesting we do be legal??

    Professional agents do not give out information about any sellers. If they do they can be dealt with for it once someone reports this.
    Just as they can be fined, suspended, etc etc...there is way too much liability resting on a sales reps shoulders...lets get with it here..

    They are not going to do stupid things and if they do they are dealt with on these issues.

    We paid for authenticators to be able to log into our board mls system , so that our info is private, yet the competition bureau is willing to give out all this info ....what kind of mess is this ?

    real estate board staff monitor these authenticators and fine agents if codes are given out....does the competition bureau know all this??

    The competition bureau needs to sit down and study any real estate boards millions of rules and regulations that have to be adhered to on a daily basis by a real estate agent....then they need to sit down with RECO and see how many rules come from that end.....

    And where is RECO in all this mess ??? How come they are not coming forth here and speaking up ???

    So if the competition bureau is willing to allow any public joe blow all this information, are they willing to monitor it and all the problems that are assocated with it, just like all real estate agents are on a daily basis???

    Does the pubic have MANDATORY insurance? They better get some .....or why should we as agents have to have it and be told every year that the price is up again etc etc

    The comments on getting rid of the realtor.ca site ( although that would be going backwards for the whole industry) is getting to be a valid comment.....just so we can get back to being an industry that worked well all these years without this interference...

    I think all agents should get together and forbid any further nonsense about all this free public information....and if the public wants info that we work all our hard lives to put together...then they need to PAY for it just like we do.....

    Just having to take time to defend our positions by commenting here is even ridiculous.....we are not paid for all this time consuming stuff....we should be out taking care of our clients needs in our hard earned industry...not having to justify our existence...

    Lets have the competition bureau meet with the everyday real estate agents on any matter that affects our everyday lives instead of us all getting this handed down from who knows where.....
  • yousef haditalab | 16 Mar 2012, 01:25 PM Agree 0
    well, well, well! Competition Bureau, Lawyers, ...do not care about the privacy of consumers, all they care about, is how to stop realtors to make a living! Question: Who forced TREB to come up with the form allowing realtors to put the Sellers private info on MLS, under the excuse of giving the homeowners to avoid paying commission?! the answer is: Competition Bureau! This is called"Abusing of public 's lack of information"! The true canadians value and appreciate the professionalism and will sell their peace of mind and privacy for the Realtors' commission. remember: A professional job should be done by a specialist...and a homepwner or a buyer , do not become a realtore just because they have sold or bought before!
  • Robert Atknson | 16 Mar 2012, 01:30 PM Agree 0
    Simple to fix. Turn of the public site and leave the info in the hands of the real estate agents only. Sorta like the old days with hard copy info being delivered to the brokerages.

    People want to find a home, call us and we will help. You want to be nosey and find out peoples personal info, knock their door and ask them yourself.

    Some of the other posters have it right where the compare this to buying a car. Does the dealer tell you what they paid and then allow you to negotiate from there? Does anybody??
  • Pat Pelletier | 16 Mar 2012, 03:03 PM Agree 0
    Jim, is this of interest to you?
  • Dan | 16 Mar 2012, 05:20 PM Agree 0
    What I find interesting is the lack of comments from consumers. As a consumer I'll add my comments and listen to the replies:
    1) Over 90% of the people I've spoken with feel that commissions are too high. How much advertising would it cost to sell a house compared to the 5% fee? The majority of real estate professionals don't advertise unless the property owner complains. Proof? The growth in the FSBO services market.
    2) Consumers are advised by real estate professionals that if they don't list at the same commission rate as everybody else their property won't get shown by other real estate professionals. This statement is hard to prove but is supported in theory by the length of time it takes for some properties to sell when they offered by reduced rate real estate companies.
    3) Most of the consumers I spoke to feel if putting their information on MLS will get them a better price and save them money then they would do it.
    4) Putting a sign in the front yard is the same as putting your contact info on the MLS. If someone wants to track you down they will.

    I know these comments won't win me any friends.
  • Drew | 17 Mar 2012, 03:17 AM Agree 0
    One doesn't have to look further than these comments to see what the industries problem is. Realtors feel they are ENTITLED to a system that PROTECTS their right to make a comfortable living. Whereas other brokerage based industries - from travel to boats - has to compete on price vs. value to the customer. The commenters in this article seem to think that a customer having the ability to list their own contact information is a threat to their margin - and it will be, if you actually believe that you don't add enough value to a transaction that your business will suffer because a customer WANTS to field the calls.

    You're positioning Realtors as overpaid secretaries.
  • Gerald T. | 17 Mar 2012, 03:14 PM Agree 0
    Notwithstanding the fact that the CB has no business demanding that we give away information from a system that we own, and
    Notwithstanding the fact that the CB doesn't have the guts to go after the many real anti-competitive industries because those industries stand together and fight back, and
    Notwithstanding the fact that as consumers, we all think that the price of everything is too high, not just commissions, and
    Notwithstanding the fact that consumers are realizing that discount brokers charge less but offer less,
    I'm glad for all this CB stuff. As a REALTOR we can join NAR as international members. NAR has great articles and statitistics, and down there where the DOJ is ahead of our CB by a few years, more and more people are using agents. 88% of sellers and 89% of buyers last year. It didn't take me long to figure out why. With the mess the CB has created in their narrowsightedness (all that matters is competition, the rest can be anarchy), people are realizing they need a professional more than ever to guide them through the havoc.
    Go CB. But go more TREB, fight.
  • Nadia | 18 Mar 2012, 04:00 PM Agree 0
    Is this happening all over ontario or just for the Toronto Board? Regardless, I think it is a disaster especially when safety is concerned.
  • nelson goncalves | 19 Mar 2012, 07:04 PM Agree 0
    Aitkens
    is looking for a job and then keeping it !! If she can pull this off the private legal industry will seek her out.
    sometimes we need a bit of *&^%$ to discredit the individual. similar to what they do in a cout setting attempting to assissinate one's character.
  • Martha | 22 Mar 2012, 01:22 PM Agree 0
    Hmmmm...wonder what the Title Insurance folks think about all this. You can bet they're watching this drama closely. Mortgage fraud is already a HUGE problem in Canada and is the highest in Ontario. So let's just open the doors and make it easier for criminals to get our personal information.
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