If the REN took the booking fee and went missing. How?
Of course, the most direct reflex is the buyer (Third Party) goes to look for the agency firm or seller claiming that he has booked the property. This is a serious matter.
Although the Seller (principal) is held in agency contract with the REA firm, can the seller say: “No, I never received the booking fee, hence I am not selling to you!”?
Well, indeed, he did NOT know the entire story how the booking fee went missing!
I am so sorry! As a buyer, you got cheated! That is it!
IS THIS GOOD ENOUGH?
In law the fraud occurred to Third Party (buyer) in which the booking fee was never received by the Seller. Nonetheless, it is the responsibility of the Seller (principal) to honour a binding contract. This is specified in
S.145 (3) Contracts Act, 1950.
(3) A sub-agent is responsible for his acts to the agent (REA), but NOT to the principal, except in case of fraud or wilful wrong.
In this case, the buyer can bring the complaint to the board. The contract with the principal is still ongoing as it is the Firm and the Principal which went into the agency contract, not the REN. The REA firm has to honour the agency contract with this third party. The run-away REN will be the responsibility of the REA, not the principal.
There can be a complaint lodge with the Board of Valuers, Appraisers, Estate Agents and Property Managers (BoVAEP) for investigation on the misappropriation of booking fee.
If found guilty, indeed the booking fee was misappropriated, the Board will hold disciplinary action against the REA and/or Agency Firm under S.24 of the VAEP Act, 1981.