Unregistered estate agents don’t qualify for commission: rule out fakes with new digital authentication

Unregistered estate agents don’t qualify for commission: rule out fakes with new digital authentication

Stephen Logan of PrivySeal.

If your estate agent didn’t have a Fidelity Fund Certificate – a valid licence to operate when they sold or rented out your property – they were not legally permitted to receive any remuneration for their services.

More than this, they are not even allowed to operate as an estate agent – much less earn a living from the trade.

According to the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB), about 10 years ago there were about 80 000 registered estate agents whereas today this figure is in the region of 30 000.

From all accounts, many fall outside the realm of legitimate operators, says Stephen Logan, attorney and the inspiration behind PrivySeal, a digital seal of authentication that has been made mandatory by the EAAB.

“PrivySeal only displays if a qualification has been verified as genuine. More than that – it displays the date and time a qualification was last checked,” says Logan.

“Already being used by a wide range of organisations, including the Institute of Directors, Law Societies and the South African Qualifications Authority, the EAAB was the first industry regulator to make the use of  PrivySeals mandatory.

“In a world that’s full of scam artists, consumers must become more savvy to protect themselves. This is particularly true in the case of a property sale where transactions generally involve vast sums of money.

“Believing the EAAB is unlikely to ever catch them some rogue estate flout the law and take chances. What they haven’t counted on is the official industry body putting measures in place to verify the legitimacy of estate agents and that’s exactly what’s happened. A new counter fraud device provided by PrivySeal is now mandatory for all registered estate agents and distinguishes the genuine operators from the fakes.”

“With qualifications digitally checked every few minutes, the process provides real time online verification. By clicking on a PrivySeal, consumers can access details about the qualification holder, including registered contact details which are drawn from the database of the qualification authority.”

Logan says anyone with an EAAB  PrivySeal – an agent or agency – can prove they are properly registered and their current good standing has been verified.

“By working with registered professionals, consumers have greater protection and recourse should anything go wrong.”

EAAB marketing manager, Margie Campbell, says: “Thanks to the support of key industry stakeholders, including SAPOA, IEASA, REBOSA, NAMA and SAIA, all registered estate agents and registered estate agency enterprises must display their EAAB  PrivySeals as a means of countering qualification fraud and protecting the public and legitimate estate agents.

“If your estate agent doesn’t have an EAAB  PrivySeal, they have very likely not been issued with a valid fidelity fund certificate by the EAAB. In terms of the Estate Agency Affairs Act unregistered estate agents are not entitled to any remuneration for estate agency services rendered.

“The EAAB has paid for every registered estate agent to obtain an EAAB  PrivySeal, so there is no valid reason why a properly registered estate agent in good standing with the EAAB should not display one.”

She says EAAB PrivySeals must be displayed by all registered estate agents in their email signature, their online and social media profiles, alongside property listings and in all marketing material.

“If your estate agent isn’t showing off their EAAB  PrivySeal in their email, ask to see it or look for another estate agent because if they aren’t proudly displaying this certification, they could possibly be operating illegally,” says Logan.

“An EAAB  PrivySeal will reflect the current date and time but to further corroborate the information – check that it links to the agent’s hyperlinked EAAB Certificate of Verification on www.privyseal.com. While you could request a copy of their fidelity fund certificate – the strength of a  PrivySeal is the company constantly checks the EAAB database making it more reliable than a printed fidelity fund certificate that could potentially have been withdrawn or doctored.”

Visit www.privyseal.com.