'Leak' sees deluge of calls to buyers of flats

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 January, 2008, 12:00am

The Estate Agents Authority will try to block a 'leak' that is leading to people who have just bought flats being deluged with calls from agents asking if they want to resell.

Authority chairman Steven Poon Kwok-lim said yesterday that many recent buyers received 'cold calls' about reselling almost as soon as the ink was dry on the deal.

'It is a leak of information,' Mr Poon said. 'Some people might be disturbed by such calls as I know some buyers received more than one call a day.'

The authority will issue a new circular reminding estate agents to take information security measures to protect the privacy of buyers' data.

Mr Poon said that although there was no sure way to stop the nuisance calls, the authority would closely monitor the situation.

Authority chief executive Sandy Chan Pui-shan said the agents should stop calling the buyers if they were told they were unwelcome.

'If a person said he or she is unwilling to receive the call again, the agent should cancel that number from the company's contact list to prevent colleagues from calling,' Ms Chan said.

Last year the authority received 608 complaints about agent malpractice, with 75 cases related to first-hand properties.

The number of substantiated complaints last year was 214, compared with 163 in 2006 - a rise of 31 per cent.

Meanwhile, the authority will arrange two more qualifying examinations this year to meet the increasing demand for real estate agents and salesmen.

It revealed that 8,585 people sat salesman qualifying examinations and real estate agent qualifying examinations, compared with 7,322 in 2006.

Mr Poon said the increase was due to the prosperous property market and the number of hopefuls who want to be agents.

He said he was not worried about the quality of the agents because the breadth and depth of the examination would be reviewed.

'I can guarantee that the examinations will be more difficult,' he said.