Competition Bureau Seeks To Expose Consumers…

Melanie Aitken, Commissioner of Competition, issued a press release on February 8, 2010, that falsely stated, the Canadian Real Estate Association’s Rules restrict consumer choice and prevent innovative business models:

The National media has been fed misleading information, which is seriously tarnishing hard-working the reputation of Canadian REALTORS® and the REALTOR® brand which we have built over the years.

There are more than 98,000 REALTORS® operating independently across the country and openly competing for business, offering a wide array of services, and pricing structures. About 9.8 percent of these REALTORS® are professionally licensed members of the local Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.

CREA does not tell REALTORS® how to run their businesses or what fees or commissions to charge.

The public chooses with whom they want to work (or not at all), and negotiates the terms (services and fees) of the relationship with their REALTOR®.  Consumers are able to choose which services they want to buy in order to facilitate their real estate transaction, including lower-cost options.

There are many innovative models for consumers to choose from if they wish, and many of you will remember for two years I worked with a smaller brokerage offering consumers , low-cost options, à la carte services and an almost unlimited choice.

REALTORS® comply to a stringent code of ethics and their ultimate interest is to, ensure consumers have choice, that they are protected during one of the most significant transactions they will undertake, and that the integrity of the MLS® system is preserved for the benefit of and the Canadian public, as well as REALTORS®.

Through CREA, REALTORS® have invested millions of dollars over the years in building and developing the MLS®.  Canadians have come to trust MLS® and the accuracy, quality and reliability, of the information that protects their interests.

The overwhelming majority of real estate transactions in Canada make use of MLS®, because it helps ensure the general public is protected from scams and other unscrupulous dealings such as money-laundering and funding of terrorism. After all, selling a home is one of the largest financial transactions that most Canadians make in their lifetime.

I have decided it is important to make my local Member of Parliament (in Port Moody) aware of what is shaping up to be a colossal bureaucratic mistake with serious implications for consumer protection. The Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, responsible for the Competition Bureau, needs to put an immediate halt to this ill-founded action.

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