The Consequences of Non-compliance
Mark Twain said many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising. It can also be said that many a small thing has been made large by the wrong kind of advertising. That is, there may be consequences if your advertisement does not comply with the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 (REBBA 2002) and the Code of Ethics.
According to the 2010-2011 Annual Report of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO), 17 per cent of complaints related to advertising. During that same period, RECO conducted an advertising review of 3,000 randomly selected advertisements from across the province. The review found that a significant number of advertisements did not fully comply with the legislation. The most common advertising violations were incorrect identification of the brokerage or brokerage status, registrant, or lack of proper contact information. Other violations related to awards, claims, and promises.
RECO first investigates the alleged violation when it is discovered. RECO contacts the registrant in writing to identify the non-compliance and request prompt action to bring the advertisement into compliance. Failure to respond to this request may lead to more formal and more serious action, such as:
• sanctions by the Discipline Committee
• a formal compliance order issued by the Superior Court of Justice
• prosecution in the Provincial Offences Court
• civil litigation by those affected by statements in the advertisement that are deemed false, misleading, or deceptive
For More Information
Please note, RECO does not provide compliance review or pre-approval of any form of registrant advertising. To ensure your advertisement (including business cards) complies with REBBA 2002, review RECO’s Advertising Guideline and Advertising Checklist, posted on http://www.reco.on.ca/section-professional/tc-363/sc-369.html.