Both the Economic Inspectorate of the FPS Economy and the Professional Institute for Real Estate Agents (BIV) are starting an investigation into the real estate office ‘Hans Immo’. That happens after HLN revealed that the office built a comparison website to mislead customers and send them to themselves. “Consumers have a right to correct information,” said Secretary of State for Consumer Protection Alexia Bertrand (Open Vld).
Earlier this editors showed that the website www.vastgoedmakelaarCompareren.com forwards potential customers directly to the real estate office ‘Hans Immo’. That while the website promises a fair comparison between more than 200 brokers. The Economic Inspectorate of the FPS Economy is now opening an investigation in response to these reports. “We have done an initial analysis. There are indications that there could be misleading commercial practices and information obligations, for example missing information on the website such as contact details,” says spokesperson Lien Meurisse.
“We have therefore opened an investigation, but cannot yet draw any conclusions from this,” concludes Meurisse. State Secretary for Consumer Protection Alexia Bertrand (Open Vld) also wants the websites to be investigated. “At first glance, there are indeed a number of things that are not right here. For example, if the promises about the scope of the comparison are false, we are talking about deception and that is forbidden. In addition, there is also a suspicion of false reviews and that practice has recently been banned. It is therefore entirely justified that the Economic Inspectorate has opened an investigation into these questionable practices.”
Consumers have a right to correct information, especially when it comes to such large expenses that you, as a consumer, do not make every day
“Consumers have a right to correct information, especially when it comes to major expenses, such as buying a house,” adds Bertrand. And the Professional Institute for Real Estate Agents (BIV) has also opened a disciplinary investigation into Hans Immo. In doing so, they check whether deontological violations have been committed. The real estate agency can risk a disciplinary sanction. The BIV says that anyone who wants to find a recognized real estate agent in their region can also visit the search engine on the BIV website.
If infringements were found at Hans Immo, the office risks fines between 208 euros and 80,000 euros or up to 4 percent of the total annual turnover in the most recently closed financial year.
Free unlimited access to Showbytes? Which can!
Log in or create an account and don’t miss a thing of the stars.