on 11-03-2021 01:55 AM
A private lender has requested for information of a transaction that has taken place where the lawyer has committed fraud. The lawyer who was in disputes with their client at the time was able to discharge the mortgage without their knowledge.
Although Pexa was able to verify this private lender as a party to the transaction, they would not disclose the information to the affected party. Allowing for the lawyer to defraud the private lender over $450,000 whilst suggesting it was part of their policy without being able to produce this policy.
Is this is the approach Pexa is taking towards fraud, how can parties to these transactions have confidence in Pexa's platform to protect them from such fraud? What assurance does Pexa give these consumers who are putting their money and properties on the line?
Lawyers and conveyancers usually are the participants when a settlement takes place but if Pexa are helping these participants by covering up their fraud then is it time for the public to look elsewhere for a better, more secure platform?
on 11-03-2021 09:56 AM
The points raised in your post are very concerning, and we would encourage you to raise these with the relevant practitioner regulator, which I am guessing might be the Victorian Legal Services Board if the transaction took place in Victoria, and you were represented by a Victorian lawyer.
The way that econveyancing works is that PEXA (and other parties to a conveyancing transaction) rely on lawyers accurately verifying the identity of their clients, ensuring they are authorised to act on behalf of their clients, and accurately entering their clients’ instructions into the PEXA platform. PEXA never engages directly with a lawyer’s client – it is that lawyer that does so. The system depends on lawyers doing their job, and observing their professional obligations.
I will connect with you on private message to discuss your particular matter further.
on 11-03-2021 03:39 PM
It makes no sense for a client to engage with their lawyer who has defrauded them. The fact that Pexa is able to verify that the affected party yet not be willing to share relevant information which can assist with the resolution of the matter is very concerning within itself.
Parties like buyers, vendors and private lenders should not only be relying on their lawyers or conveyancers to act ethical but also need protection from the platform these professionals are using to prevent lawyers and conveyancers from acting unethically. How is it expected that these consumers who are made to use your system through these professionals to have confidence in their transaction if the platform can't even provide assurance to these consumers?
Pexa holds relevant information about these parties and although in most cases they will not participants in the settlement transaction (given the rules in place to access your platform) this should not mean that the relevant information that has affected them should not be provided. It is not the case where the consumer is wanting to take Pexa to court for their actions but simply requesting information that has impacted them in this case the removal of their mortgage interest without the party's knowledge. I can not see how this is an issue given that Pexa has verified them as a party to the transaction.
The comments you make relating to Pexa relying on the representatives of these clients to act ethically and honestly and disregarding the consumer's interest is a major concern. This said unless Pexa is covering up an unethical activity they have committed then it should be the duty of care from Pexa to the consumer to ensure transparency and protective measures are in place. After all, it is not the lawyer or the conveyancer that is putting their money or property on the line is generally the buyers, vendors and/or private lenders who do, so why not disclose such information to a verified party without having them go through the court system to obtain such information?
Where in Pexa's policy does it make mention of this or what laws stop Pexa from disclosing such information to a verified party?
At this point, Pexa has proven to lack transparency, protection and integrity to these consumers and I believe the matter should be brought to the attention of these consumers in order to change such flawed decision which goes against the protection of the consumer and questions the confidence consumers should have with such a platform. Instead of making this information readily available for the consumer, you'd rather create additional issues such as court orders and what not to be able to obtain such information. Pexa's process in obtaining the relevant information is through the courts which causes further delays, anguish and financial loss to the consumer whilst the party in this instance had suffered already. This says to me that the protection is there for the lawyers and conveyancers but not for the consumers.
Given the way, technology is being driven in today's world and more cybersecurity is happening, it is another reason why consumers should be concerned especially where they have no other choice but to use your platform through lawyers and conveyancers in property transactions. Hence why I will be raising the matter outside this forum to raise awareness and feedback from the general public as I feel it is a morally incorrect rule posed on consumer rights.
FYI the Legal Service Board have been notified of this and have been aware of the misconduct of this lawyer for over 4 years via multiple consumer complaints yet after the experiences we have had with the VLSBC is has become apparent that their role is to protect the lawyer and not the consumer.
12-03-2021 08:42 AM - edited 06-04-2021 09:08 AM
While we are sympathetic to your current situation, we are unfortunately bound by our contractual and regulatory framework, which only permits us to disclose transaction-related information to the lawyer or conveyancer for the buyer and seller or mortgagor in a transaction.
I understand you’ve had several responses from PEXA about this, and I’m conscious of not discussing the details of a specific transaction here, which is contrary to our Community Rules. If you have any additional questions, I’d be happy to answer them via private message if I am able.
on 03-04-2021 02:44 PM
So this information is readily available to the lawyer/conveyancer who has misused your system to defraud a verified party to a transaction but for the verified party to obtain such information that has directly affected them, they are required to obtain a subpoena?
Where are PEXA's duties to all parties in the transaction which demonstrates transparency and fairness across the board? And how do you expect consumers of these lawyers/conveyancers have confidence in your platform if PEXA lacks these important duties when it comes to transacting with high-valued assets?
I can't help but feel as though the general public should have some serious concerns with PEXA given that this is their position especially when the government has made it compulsory to use your platform for e-conveyancing transactions. Also, another issue is how PEXA has been set up to avoid obvious issues arising from conflict of interest.
Nonetheless, PEXA takes no responsibility nor accountability should fraud occur as they rely on the lawyer/conveyancer to act honestly and with integrity, and yet PEXA fails to lead by example which it comes to releasing information to a verified party to a transaction in which there are claims that the lawyer has misused their platform to defraud that party. Where are PEXA's duties to investigate such serious claims instead of dismissing them or handball them? And how is PEXA able to gain public trust if they can't even disclose simply information that affects the public?