Monday, February 09, 2015

Is This Realtor for Real?

In her article entitled, “Homelife Superstars realtor accused of duping homebuyer of $12K,” Rosa Marchitelli outlines the sad but true story of a homebuyer, Mr. Bains.  In a nutshell, after closing on the purchase of a home, the courts state that Mr. Bains must dole out about $12,000 to another realtor, Mr. Dhaliwal, with whom he had previously signed a representation contract.  Mr. Bains says that he does not recall having signed such an agreement.

The Canadian immigrant, who speaks predominantly Punjabi, has comprehension and vocabulary skills in the English language at a Grade 3/4 level.  It was his 17-year-old son who acted as translator during the transaction with Mr. Dhaliwal.  It is reported that Mr. Bains had made written offers on two homes in Apr. 2011, but they had fallen through, and it was at this point that the relationship between he and Mr. Dhaliwal changed.  When Mr. Bains contacted Mr. Dhaliwal afterwards, the realtor became “too busy” to show him more houses.  Eventually, there was no contact at all.  In Aug. 2011, Mr. Bains contacted another realtor, made an offer on a home, and finally purchased that home.  Because of the “contract,” he now owes Mr. Dhaliwal commission on that home.  Conveniently, the seller’s agent also worked for the same real estate office as Mr. Dhaliwal.

The issue did go to small claims court in Jan. 2013 and the transcripts outline how Mr. Dhaliwal stated that he had explained the agreement to Bains in English, not Punjabi.  Mr. Dhaliwal also stated that he and Mr. Bains were the only ones present in the room when the papers were signed.  The judge, Marvin Kurz, awarded Mr. Dhaliwal and Homelife Superstars Real Estate the money, saying that he had “no reason to believe that fraud was committed on Mr. Bains by Mr. Dhaliwal. Nor [did he] have reason to believe that he misrepresented anything.  The document was there for [Bains] to read and sign.”  Mr. Bains then turned to the Real Estate Council of Ontario, filing a complaint with RECO in early 2014.  It also proved unsuccessful.  Essentially, the deputy registrar, regulatory compliance with RECO, outlined that the onus is solely on buyers when it comes to real estate deals.

Everything points toward the realtor taking advantage of Mr. Bains’ difficulty with the English language.  In court, Mr. Dhaliwal admitted to explaining things in English and without Mr. Bains’ son present, and the courts still ruled in favour of Mr. Dhaliwal!  Then RECO has the balls to say that the onus is on the buyer!  Wow!  To add insult to injury, the real estate office common to Mr. Dhaliwal and the seller’s agent washes its hands of everything!  All I can say is: What is this world coming to?!

In one sense, it is plainly and painfully clear: The courts and other organizations are not there to protect the rights of “regular Joes”; they are there to see that businesses make money.  They ensure that they uphold laws that favor those with all of the money and power.  “Why,” you ask?  It is likely to have some type of privilege in the future.  You know the “scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” approach to things!  And they are padding each other’s pockets in the process!

All we can do is throw up our hands and…blame it on fast foods!

- B. J. T. Pepin