Mar 12 2015

Otton vs ACCC

WE BUY HOUSES TO FIGHT ACCC ACTION

Property educator, Rick Otton, says he will vigorously fight any action taken against him by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to ban his book, “How to Buy A House for A Dollar”.

Mr Otton said strategies contained in the book (known as the “We Buy Houses” technique), are actually consistent with the Federal Government’s own advice to homeowners who experience mortgage repayment issues and are a better alternative to a distressed sale.

“The allegation that the “We Buy Houses For A Dollar” title is in any way misleading to the public, is hard to understand,” Mr Otton said today.

“It seems that the ACCC thinks that the public are fools, that that they will take the title literally and think that they only need a dollar to buy a house. It’s a sad day when the ACCC thinks the Australian public is that foolish that they don’t understand that the dollar is just the start of the process. That you need to make payments along the way to pay for a house.  People know that the expression is often used in business: to buy a business for $1, that is, for the value of the debt owed by the business.

“Put simply, what if the loan repayments on a house are creating hardship for the owner, and the loan amount is so high that the owner cannot sell the house for enough money to pay out the loan? Why wouldn’t the owner welcome someone new who can step in, agree to buy the house and pay out the loan down the track? That someone new lifts the loan repayment burden by taking responsibility for the mortgage repayments, Council rates and all the other expenses such as utilities and repairs. 

“In the National Consumer Credit Code, there is an information statement which advises people who cannot afford mortgage repayments to do just that! To give the property to someone who may take over the repayments, provided that the credit provider gives permission. That’s exactly what the “We Buy Houses” technique is all about.

“The ACCC is taking a literal interpretation of the title, it’s like saying the book Fifty Shades of Grey is misleading because it’s not about paint colours, or that David Niven’s memoirs, The Moon’s A Balloon, isn’t about the moon. Or that a sign for a weekend garage sale is misleading because the garage is actually for sale. Where does it stop?

“My book gives people alternate ways of owing their own home, by changing how they can creatively buy and sell property. Is it a good thing that too many Australians are still locked out of the market at a time when prices continue to rise? We aim to empower them with the knowledge that there is another, better way.”

rotton