Wednesday, August 6, 2014

TICA's excessive fees are not excessive, says TICA

TICA is a database operator, as defined in the Residential Tenancies Act. It is in the business of courting landlords and real estate agents for information about 'bad tenants', and selling it on to other landlords and real estate agents. As we discussed earlier in the year, TICA also sells its information to tenants. You can find out what TICA says about you by paying them $5.45 per minute over the phone, $19.80 by mail, $33.00 by fax, or $55.00 for an online subscription.

Real estate agents and landlords who use TICA's 'services' are required to provide the same information to tenants for free. Database operators are entitled to charge for it - provided their fees are not excessive.

We wrote to the compliance unit at Fair Trading NSW in July, to see what they think of TICA's fees. We pointed out that TICA's fees appear to be excessive, putting them in contravention of section 216 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010. We suggested this warrants an investigation into TICA's compliance with the law. Here's what Fair Trading said in reply:
"The issues you've raised have been brought to the attention of TICA's CEO. In answer, documentation was provided setting out the basis on which fees are charged. The explanation was determined to be acceptable. We do not propose to take any further action."
Seriously. Fair Trading asked TICA whether their fees are excessive. TICA said no. Fair Trading said 'that concludes our investigation'.

We're not entirely comfortable with this, and we urge anyone who has concerns with TICA's excessive fees to drop Fair Trading NSW a quick note, just to let them know. This can be done quickly and easily, by cutting and pasting the following text into a letter:
I am concerned that the tenancy database operator, TICA Pty Ltd, is charging excessive fees to provide interested parties with copies of ‘personal listed information’. 
Under section 216 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010, landlords and agents must provide copies of personal listed information, without the payment of a fee, when the listed person requests it. Section 216 also requires that database operators provide copies of personal listed information upon request, but it allows them to charge a fee. The qualifying proviso is that the “fee must not be excessive” (s216(3)(a)).
TICA Pty Ltd offers copies of personal information at the following excessive rates:
- By telephone, charged at $5.45 per minute;
- By mail, charged at $19.80;
- By facsimile, charged at $33.00; and
- By an online subscription, charged at $55.00 annually.
Please investigate TICA's fees and take whatever action is necessary to ensure they are brought into compliance with the law.
If you have any further information you'd like to add - such as details of how and when you've been caught by TICA's excessive fees - please do.

Send your complaint to the Director of Compliance, Fair Trading, at PO Box 972 Parramatta 2124.

1 comment:

  1. If anyone has concerns about TICA and the fee's they charge you can contact them on 02 9743 1800 or send a letter to PO Box 120 Concord NSW 2137 or visit them at their office, Unit 34, 11-21 Underwood Rd, Homebush 2140.


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