Who is a bogus agent?
Bogus means “not genuine or true (used in a disapproving manner when deception has been attempted).” So, bogus agent can just mean “fake agent”.
Why is it dangerous to deal with a fake agent?
When a fake agent collects money from you, the money might not be recovered. That is simple. He can be gone missing forever. You can try contacting him, but he might just disconnect his phone, change to another name, or just tell you he is unable to return you the money.
Indeed, the biggest risk of dealing in property is money lost! Prospect buyers and tenants pay their hard earned money in order to secure their target properties. Yet the ownership (legal or otherwise) is yet to be delivered to them. Why? Because legal procedures require time in land office and loan facilities are time consuming as well.
In between, the intermediary runs away disappearing with the money and the ownership transfer process or tenancy come to a stand still – kind of half cooked! At times, even the booking fee is collected, the acceptance to the offer has NOT been registered in a legal document (Sale and Purchase Agreement) which needs to be duly stamped.
Read the news articles about bogus agent and the risk of being cheated below:
- 105 fraud cases related to illegal agents reported last year
- Bogus Estate Agents raking in billions – NST 31/1/2016
- Beware of unlicensed real estate agents
- Beware of illegal property agents
It is still okie if you manage to transact the property. BUT, in cases you fail to transact (buy or rent) the house, you will lose money. There is no place you can get back against the bogus agent apart from lodging a police report. In many occasions, he might not be the person he said he is. He evaporates in the air.
How to ensure he who says he is an agent – is indeed a legitimate agent?
Search his name and registration number in the government website – http://search.lppeh.gov.my
If he is a legitimate agent, he should be one of the three below:
- REA – Registered Estate Agent (Rare as only about 2000 in the whole country)
- PEA – Probationary Estate Agent (Rare as only about 1,000 of them)
- REN – Real Estate Negotiator (Juru-runding) These are the common people you will meet – about 35,000 of them.
Please read here if you want to know how to become an Estate Agent.
If any of the people named above were to disappear with your money, you can lodge a report with the Board of Valuers, Appraisers, Estate Agents and Property Managers, Malaysia. The government (Board is under Finance Ministry), will investigate your complaint and in serious matters like absconding money, disciplinary action will be taken against the agency. You money will be recovered and returned to you. In matter of cheating the public, prosecution can be brought against the agency person (license holder) under Valuers, Appraisers, Estate Agents and Property Managers Act, 1981, in particular S.24 of the Law.
You can read about fees, commission and charges here.