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Hong Kong courts

Mainland property buyers sue Hong Kong law firm for HK$5.45 million over lost rebates

In a writ filed to the High Court, they said claim forms were submitted late

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 December, 2017, 11:26am
UPDATED : Friday, 01 December, 2017, 12:00pm

Two mainland property buyers on Wednesday sued a law firm in Hong Kong for costing them more than HK$5 million in cash rebates after their lawyers failed to submit papers on time.

Du Guangdi and Chu Chen said in a High Court writ that they entrusted the firm Ong & Chung in 2014 to handle the conveyancing of their HK$45.4 million property at the Upton building in Sai Wan.

But because the firm only filed claim forms three weeks after the 30-day deadline passed, the property vendor refused to pay the cash rebate.

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The rebate amounted to HK$5.45 million, or 12 per cent of the property’s purchase price. Du and Chu said they would not have bought the property if the rebate was not available.

They stated: “The defendant owes a duty of care and skill to the plaintiffs as inexperienced purchasers in Hong Kong both in contract and tort.”

The writ said the buyers were entitled to “stamp duty cash rebate” and “early settlement cash rebate” offered by the vendor, if the application was made 30 days after settling the balance of the purchase price.

Du and Chu paid the full purchase price around January 21, 2015, and they reminded the firm about the rebate on February 10.

But they said the firm did not contact them and did not file the claim forms until March 13.

The writ also stated that the firm had initially advised them to sue the vendor and property agents instead, before admitting in a meeting on September 29 that year that it was negligent and failed to submit the forms on time.

The buyers said they suffered direct financial loss as a result of the firm’s negligence and breach of the retainer.

They are now demanding HK$5.45 million in damages plus interest and costs.

No hearing has been scheduled yet.