Man Tien Hsia Advertising Corp. alleged to have violated the Fair Trade Law in its real estate sales transactions

Chinese Taipei


Case:

Man Tien Hsia Advertising Corp. alleged to have violated the Fair Trade Law in its real estate sales transactions

Key Words:

real estate, real estate brokerage business, intermediation fees, offer form

Reference:

Fair Trade Commission Decision of August 23, 2001 (the 511th Commissioners' Meeting); Disposition (90) Kung Ch'u Tzu No. 115

Industry:

Real Estate Agencies (6612)

Relevant Law:

Article 24 of the Fair Trade Law

Summary:

1. When engaging in real estate brokerage business, Man Tien Hsia Advertising Corp. requested intermediation fees from clients. Man Tien Hsia Advertising Corp. failed to inform home buyers of the discrepancies between the company's intermediation fee contract and the standard offer form published by the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) and the alternative to use the intermediation fee contract supplanted the option to use the MOI standard offer form. The deceptive practice was found sufficient to affect the trading order in violation of Article 24 of the Fair Trade Law and Man Tien Hsia Advertising Corp. was imposed an administrative fine of NT$250,000.

2. According to a complaint by a member of the general public (the complainant), the complainant wished to purchase a property for NT$13.6 million. Because of the difference between the complainant's offered price and the property owner's asking price, however, Man Tien Hsia Advertising Corp. (the respondent) informed the complainant that the complainant's offered price would first need to be approved by the property owner before the sale could be finalized. The respondent then collected a deposit from the complainant and the two sides executed a "Temporary Proof of Property Purchase (Form)," with each side receiving a copy, both of which were imprinted with the notation: "The client has submitted an offering price of NT$13.6 million. Property owner's approval of the offering price must be secured prior to actual sale. In the event agreement cannot be reached, the deposit of NT$100,000 (NT$1 million) shall be returned without interest."

The term "deposit" here, however, is used differently from its usage in common market practice or in civil law, and in fact is actually in the nature of an "intermediation fee." Also, the "Temporary Proof of Property Purchase (Form)" used by the respondent failed to explain the content of the alternative MOI offer form or to provide a copy for the complainant's examination, so the complainant was not made aware of the substitutability of the MOI offer form for the respondent's form or of its right to choose between the two. The respondent's failure to provide the specific information to the complainant with regard to the MOI offer form constituted a deceptive act of concealing material trading information as a means to cause a trading counterpart (the complainant) to trade with it, in violation of the provisions of Article 24 of the Fair Trade Law. After thorough consideration of the respondent's motivations behind its illegal practices, its market scale, and the degree to which its practices harmed the trading order, the Fair Trade Commission decided to impose a fine accordingly.

Appendix:

Man Tien Hsia Advertising Corp.'s Uniform Invoice Number: 84948401

Summarized by Lin,Yi-Chau;

Supervised by Chen,Yuhn-Shan


ĄŻĄŻ:For information of translation, click here

˙