Sydney-based Rick Otton and his companies We Buy Houses Pty Ltd and Rick Otton.com Pty Ltd have entered into an enforceable undertaking with the state consumer protection agency to refrain from conducting seminars in WA.
Mr Otton has also agreed to stop promoting his real estate business in WA for two years, and to publish information on his websites about how his promoted scheme operates.
Mr Otton and his companies have not admitted any wrongdoing.
The scheme that Mr Otton promotes involves offering a property seller one dollar for an option to buy their property in the future at a fixed price while offering to pay rent in the meantime.
The seller remains the owner of the property but a buyer purchases the option on the condition that they pay instalments greater than the rent in the expectation they can secure finance to exercise the option and buy the property outright.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said she believed WA consumers were being misled by the scheme’s marketing which featured statements such as ‘buy a house for one dollar’ and ‘profit without initial investment’.
In reality, the transaction cannot be completed with one dollar nor without an investment, and the payment of additional rent will not necessarily satisfy a lender to advance the money necessary to finance the purchase.
Ms Driscoll has raised concerns that Mr Otton’s seminars and his companies do not offer anything for free and instead promote training and mentoring courses for a fee.
“They also appear to exaggerate the potential gains from property and other investments by following the promoter’s programs,” Ms Driscoll said.
“We advise those who attend these seminars to resist the pressure to sign any contracts or pay any fees without first getting proper independent advice from financial advisers and property investment professionals.
“Consumers should be wary about any get rich quick claims being made.”
Ms Driscoll says the additional information Mr Otton has agreed to provide has overcome her concerns.
We Buy Houses Pty Ltd operates in Australia, New Zealand, the US, and the UK.
Photo: ‘Outrune’, Wikimedia Commons
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