Friday, June 27, 2014

The RECBC Investigation into MAC Marketing Solutions misconduct is complete - but something is very, very wrong here. (Updated)

So on the Friday before a four day weekend for many - and with many out of town for the Canada Day holiday - the Real Estate Council of BC (RECBC) has finally issued results of it's investigation into the MAC Marketing Solutions media manipulation scandal.

A presentation suite for the Salt building on Hornby Street was the site of a charade where realtors posed as offspring of wealthy Chinese parents who were going to buy them a condo as part of Chinese New Year celebrations.

Nicolas Hans Jensen, who works for Onni Realty Inc., took part in a charade on February 9, 2013, when some MAC Marketing employees under his control pretended to be waiting for wealthy parents from China to come to help them buy a condominium as part of Chinese New Year celebrations.

Jensen is suspended for the two weeks between July 9 and July 22, must pay the costs related to successfully completing the Real Estate Trading Services Remedial Education Course and pay the RECBC $1,250 for expenses related to its investigation.

MAC’s CEO Cameron McNeill apologized to media immediately following the February 9, 2013 incident and said he would conduct his own investigation.

Jensen resigned from MAC 12 days later.

The day before that resignation, McNeill told BIV that a “senior manager” had left his company.

“Some poor judgments were made and those poor judgments led to unfortunate circumstances,” McNeill said at the time.
Faithful readers will be extremely disappointed with the outcome.  A two week suspension? A lousy $1,250 fine? You can view the RECBC disciplinary decision here.

But whether you find the decision disappointing (or expected, depending on you level of jadedness with the BC Real Estate Industry) there's something a-miss here.

What about the other players?

There were a number of MAC Marketing Solutions employees involved in this media sham. And no one knows the actual extent of their involvement. 

Why is there no reference to the infamous 'Chris Lee' and Amanda Lee?

Chris Lee' was the fake name for the MAC Marketing sales assistant who along with MAC administrative assistant Amanda Lee, presented themselves as house-hunting sisters to both CBC-TV and CTV-BC as part of a condo marketing publicity stunt.

Then there was the MAC employee who quarterbacked the fake couple through the display suite as part of the phoney presentation. She obviously knew these fake buyers were really her co-workers:

All the players in attendance before the TV cameras that day purposefully lied to and deceived the media/public.

And the scandal didn't stop them from plying their trade. In a promotional photo for the MThree development in Coquitlam several months later, the MAC employee we know as the fictitious 'Chris Lee' is shown as a member of the sales team.

Word is the RECBC investigation is now complete and there will be no further disciplinary action.

So why have these other MAC Marketing Solutions employees not been dealt with by the RECBC?

Stay tuned, the answer is very disturbing.

And the more we think about it, the implications may just rock the industry to it's very core.

(Also see: CBC follows up with story on RECBC suspension for MAC Marketing Solutions' fake buyer fiasco)


Email: village_whisperer@live.ca
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  1. Another news article you will never see in the Vancouver Sun...

  2. Behaviour of these companies is ridiculous. There should be much better legislation to stop them from doing it. There are other legal issues that also worry me - spamming, use of fake names, wrong price information etc. It makes RE look like the worst profession, but believe me, there are still people who care, and do it as best as they can...

  3. Lower mainland real estate has become the 21st century version of the Vancouver Stock Exchange. Vancouver has always, and always will be, the scam capital of Canada.

  4. But, but, but.....we were just following orders! :-(

  5. Seeing how this scandal involved faked Chinese buyers, perhaps a Chinese idiom would be appropriate. Nic Jenson was the "carrier of the wok" in this instance.

  6. So nobody loses their licence for this fraud? What a joke that is called "real" estate.

  7. Although without question these type of "actors" bring the Real Estate Profession into disrepute,and I always find the fines light on the breach of ethics side of things, there has been scant reporting as to whether there were any transactions concluded in reliance upon the false impressions generated by the "actors" presence in that real estate office in question.

    Did anybody really buy a unit having been misled as to the velocity of sales by these people? Did they seek to rescind their rights based upon their misapprehensions?

    In many businesses there are often people who say what they must to generate a sale. It happens all of the time and it behooves buyers to research the reputations of the businesses they frequent and the people they engage to represent them before concluding a transaction. The first problem I can see is that buyers are walking into a sales office where only the seller is being represented, not them. It would cost the buyers nothing to get themselves a qualified Realtor as the commissions are coming out of the seller's pockets and they will not be getting a price reduction to not be represented.

    I have noticed a form of delight on these pages in denigrating Realtors. I wonder what damage has been done by perhaps lending credence to the implication that people should buy real estate without representation.

    Just check out this one random situation which occurred on my street in Richmond:

    There are certainly buyers and sellers capable of going it on their own. But I don't bump into them often.