Today the ACCC announced that the Federal Court has ordered We Buy Houses Pty Ltd and its sole director, Rick Otton , pay record penalties totalling $18 million on for making false or misleading representations about ways that investors could create wealth by buying and selling real estate. The Federal Court had previously found that We Buy Houses and Mr Otton had breached the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) by claiming that investors could, amongst other things, ‘buy a house for $1’.
The $12 million penalty imposed against We Buy Houses and the $6 million penalty imposed against Mr Otton are respectively the highest ever imposed for breaches of the ACL by a company and an individual. The Federal Court’s decision to impose record penalties not only reflects the trend of higher penalties for ACL breaches, it also serves as a useful reminder that big fines can be imposed not only on large national or multinational companies, but also on smaller companies such as We Buy Houses, where there is a high level of harm to consumers and significant financial gain by the offender. Read the ACCC Media Release here for further details: https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/property-spruiker-rick-otton-and-we-buy-houses-fined-record-18-million