Property

Court of Appeal for price fixing charges

The Commerce Commission today confirmed it will be appealing the High Court’s decision to dismiss price fixing charges against two real estate agencies and their directors.

Friday, November 24th 2017

The Commission has been pursuing charges relating to three separate price fixing and anti-competitive agreements among 13 national real estate agencies, Hamilton real estate agencies and Manawatu real estate agencies for many years.

Proceedings on the charges, which relate to conduct in 2013 and 2014 that occurred in response to Trade Me changing its property listing fees, have been wending their way through the courts since December 2015.

Eleven of the firms pled guilty to the charges and settled, paying total penalties of more than $18.97 million.

But Lodge Real Estate and its director Jeremy O’Rourke and Monarch Real Estate (trading as Harcourts Hamilton) and its director Brian King decided to fight the charges.

Last month, the High Court dismissed the Commission’s case against Lodge and Monarch (and its director Brian King.

However, Commission Chair Dr Mark Berry said the High Court judgment raises significant legal issues that merit an appeal in this case.

The Notice of Appeal will be filed in the Court of Appeal in Wellington.

The Commission said it is unable to comment further while the appeal is before the Court.

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