In response to a recent ruling in late 2018 involving our firm, Signature Real Estate, wherein acting Cape Town Judge Diane Davis rules, No FFC, No commission! We wish to inform other Agents that Signature will be appealing the Judgment. The ramifications of this ruling effect every Estate Agent in this country and we cannot simply sit back and let the EAAB get away with this level of incompetence.
In her ruling, which has now become case law Judge Davis writes: “ While I have sympathy for the predicament of a compliant estate agent who has timeously submitted an application for a renewal FFC but has not been issued with one on or before 1 January, it seems to me that the appropriate remedy lies against the Board…Estate Agents should be astute to monitor the Boards progress in issuing FFCs. If the Board is tardy, an application can be made to the Court in terms of a (6)3 of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act 3 of 2000 (“PAJA”) for a mandamus compelling the Board to comply with its statutory duty to issue the necessary FFCs.”
Here is what happened to us:
In 2017 in the prescribed way and manner our firm renewed our FFC’s. We had informed the EAAB at the beginning of 2017 that we had converted from a CC to a PTY LTD, the EAAB confirmed receipt of our request and acknowledged receipt of our payment for the prescribed fee in writing. Nonetheless the EAAB issued our 2018 FFC’s in the name of the CC & not the PTY LTD (an error by their own written admission). We logged 57 “Query’s” via the MyEAAB portal, eventually demanding that the EAAB issue us with FFC’s in the correct name. We escalated it over 10 times and our Office Administrator was calling the EAAB every day. Eventually in May 2018 (nearly 1 year later) the EAAB issued our correct FFC’s. Here is an example of one of the multiple emails we sent:
From: Romy Tarboton Subject: INCOMPETENCE OF THE EAAB Date: 18 April 2018 at 12:57:33 PM SAST To: "email@example.com"
Good Day RE: F137928 – Signature Real Estate. I am writing to express my utmost disappointment in the absolute incompetence of the EAAB!!! My firm, Signature Real Estate has been trying now since October LAST YEAR to find out why you have not issued us with our 2018 FFC. We have called and logged over 17 COMPLAINTS!! Our last 5 reference numbers are: 892651 898855 930938 935786 940093 We have been getting absolutely nowhere, dealing with idiotic staff who change their story every time we speak with them. I think it is high time that your EAAB is investigated and this incompetence is brought to the public eye in a VERY BIG WAY! You receive millions in fees that we have to pay for to keep your staff employed and your organisation afloat and your service delivery is nothing short of disgusting. • First we were told the FFC has been issued. • Then we were told to wait 3-5 days before re-querying. • We waited the days. • We were then told we had not effected payment. • We sent proof of payment. • We heard nothing. • We logged 2 complaints. • We were then told funds were incorrectly allocated and they needed an additional letter from us stating that the payment was made by us. • We supplied it same day. • We were then told that we owed Interest on our Trust account. • We sent proof of payment of trust account interest to the EAAB. • We were then told that the reference number we HAD BEEN SUPPLIED WITH BY YOURSELVES, WAS INCORRECT!!!!!! • The last call resulted in being told that finance department needed to reallocate. • 12 days later we were told there was no news from finance.
I have just called the EAAB again, was told that they don’t know why we do not have it. I was on hold for 35 minutes to be told this.
My portfolio of evidence supporting my claims of blatant incompetence with documented and printed emails, timelines, call logs, call recordings et al is huge.
I will not sit back and tolerate this any longer. I expect my Firm’s FFC certificate to be scanned and emailed to me by close of business TODAY!!!!!! (F137928)
My last call logged was with Amu Maluleke ref 941924 who is due to call me back after speaking to her supervisor.
Romy Tarboton Agency Principal
We reported the inadequacy of the EAAB to every available platform. We wrote to everyone and sundry asking for help. We spent hundreds of thousands of Rands in court. The best the EAAB could do for us prior to Signature appearing in court, was to issue a sworn Affidavit stating they had inspected their membership role and confirmed that we were duly authorised to have been issued an FFC at 1 January 2018 in the correct name and that the mistake was on their side and not ours. Pending the presentation of oral evidence at the High Court we demanded that the EAAB issue our FFCs at date 1 January 2018 as we were rightfully entitled. They furthermore backdated our 2018 FFC’s and re-issued them to reflect the date 1 January 2018 under the premise that we were complaint and fully entitled to have same. Our attorney could not find any provision in Sections 16, 26 and 34(A) of the EAA Act that precludes the EAAB from issuing FFC’s at any time. The court seems to have considered that the word “backdating” connotes something sinister and wrong. If the court had considered that the FFC’s were “belatedly” issued as opposed to having been backdated, it may have come to a different conclusion? Bad choice of words. In our view, the EAAB was perfectly entitled to recognize its own error on 20 August 2018 and issue FCC’s covering the period 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2018. The Judge did not agree.
So where does that leave compliant and entitled Agents who, through no fault of their own, do not receive FFCs by 1 January 2019?
This ruling is going to have very real repercussions for Estate Agents around the country and Signature Real Estate is compelled to champion an appeal to the Judgement on behalf of all Estate Agents and hold the EAAB rightfully responsible and financially accountable for any loss of commission through their own incompetence.
Judge Davis’s suggestion that “If the Board is tardy, an application can be made to the Court in terms of a (6)3 of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act 3 of 2000 (“PAJA”) for a mandamus compelling the Board to comply with its statutory duty to issue the necessary FFCs” would lead to absurd results.
I would like to thank the hundreds of individual Agents for reaching out to us following our last Open Letter. We will be filing our Notice of Intent to Appeal tomorrow.
Romy Tarboton [Mobile 076 455 9450] Principal and Director, Signature Real Estate