The media wave may have passed for the launch of the NSW Fair Trading Complaints Register however it's fundamental flaws remain and, as such, its potential to damage our brand in our communities which we work so hard for.
As we know, the power is in the people to lobby against unjust government policies and initiatives and it is you, a local business owner of LJ Hooker, that can make all the difference in influencing the decisions made by officials pertaining to the register.
This is why I ask you to send the below email to your local member, the contact details of which you can find here.
I am writing to you as a member of your electorate, a small business owner in your electorate and a very concerned consumer in your electorate, regarding the NSW Fair Trading Complaints Register.
Firstly, I would like to point out as both a business owner and a consumer, I am totally in support of publicly disclosing details of businesses who consistently fail to service their customers. Ridding our market of rogue operators is to the benefit of all the hard working owners and their staff trying to establish their business around good customer service.
However, what concerns me deeply is the way this register is being run. The current approach is to group complaints against the brand rather than the name of the actual business receiving the complaints. Therefore, for all small businesses that are a part of a franchise network, as I am as the owner of a LJ Hooker real estate agency, we are unfairly being tarred with the same brush. But what is most surprising is this approach actually fails to alert consumers to which business is actually receiving the complaints.
My business is one of 228 LJ Hooker franchisees operating in NSW. The LJ Hooker head office operates very strict customer service standards for all its offices, including a credible, transparent third-party managed customer feedback system (called RealSatisfied).
However, despite such a large network offices, LJ Hooker head office is not at all satisfied even 10 complaints could be received against its offices and, as such, they are proactively working to address this with their NSW offices that collectively employee in excess of 4,000 sales agents and property managers .
As an independent small business I can assure you that my office operates at a very high customer service standard and we have earned the trust and respect from the local community over many years of being in business. But, since this flawed public complaints register has been introduced, I am now having to defend my hard earned reputation because of the unfair manner in which the register is being operated.
Most concerning, I am now also finding competitors unaffiliated to a major brand like myself are using this register to distort the market by misleading my customers by suggesting my business has a problem on customer service, because the LJ Hooker brand is so indiscriminately featured on this register. I know this behaviour is in direct contravention of the Trade Practices Act on misleading and deceptive conduct. It's particularly alarming that the NSW Government, through how it is administering its Public Complaints register, is aiding and abetting this behaviour.
I understand the LJ Hooker head office and the head offices of other major franchise networks, including Harvey Normans and Ray White, have written to the NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rob Stowe requesting their Complaints Register be based around complaints received against the actual business/office not just the brand, which itself is more valuable to consumers. It's disappointing to know that to date they have received no response.
As my local member and representative please can you take this issue up on my behalf. I am a long standing employer of local people and I fear unless this is addressed promptly it will result in my business being severely impacted to the point where I will have no choice but to terminate staff.
LJ Hooker <<<Your Town>>>
If you have any questions or would like to discuss the NSW Fair Trading Complaints Register or would like to discuss managing customer concerns please contact Sean Green in our NSW regional team directly on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0437 716 840.