Misleading Consumer Education Advertisements on RES

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Dear CEA,

We are appealing to you with regards to your recent advertising campaign - "Happy Consumer" on bus stop posters, Property Guru and YouTube to “educate” consumers about errant RES. We would like CEA to remove these advertisements and relook into better ways to achieve its goals.

We note that your mission is “To raise the professionalism of the real estate agency industry and safeguard consumer interest”. However, we object to the way you have made it your campaign to protect consumers and portray RES in a very negative light. For example, in a bus stop poster, it says “You do not need an agent if you know how to handle property transactions on your own”. Why not phrase it as such: “You need an agent if you do not know how to handle property transactions on your own”?

We admit there were more rogue agents in the past sullying the image of our industry, but with the onset of the new RES syllabus in 2012 and the CPD classes we are required to attend, the level of professionalism has indeed been raised. If it was so easy to handle property transactions, then why do we have to undergo such rigorous training hours, and why are we held to such impossibly high standards when it comes to making mistakes with misrepresentation and ethics etc? Consumers and the general public reading your advertisements will get the impression that agents are out to cheat them and that we are an industry to be wary of.

We feel that since CEA is supposed to raise professionalism, it should not perpetuate the bad image of agents by going all out in its campaign to make light of the work we do, and the value we add to our clients by offering them right advice. Many of the agents of this modern age have invested in many voluntary training hours of education and equipped ourselves with technological tools in order that we may perform our jobs at an optimal level. We constantly update ourselves about news and changes in the market so that we can be effective agents. We seek to safeguard our clients’ interest and to help them achieve their desired price - all lofty aims that we take pride in.

Even though there is still a number of complaints against agents, there are an equal number of complaints against consumers, which CEA refuse to address. Agents have been cheated of commission, or wronged with no association to address their woes. Isn’t it time for CEA to realise that times have changed and that creating a bad image of agents only damages the industry and does not encourage agents to live up to the professional image CEA wishes for?

We are professionals in our own rights and just as doctors and lawyers and engineers have their own legislative bodies to protect them, we hope that CEA will seek to have a deeper understanding of agents and stand on the side of agents through positive reinforcement instead of publishing advertisements with negative connotations.



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