MFAA warns brokers against Whittingham

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The MFAA has finally come out to warn brokers specifically about the activities of Buy a Trail and its director Mark Whittingham, following a warning issued by the Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria.

Following long-running coverage by Australian Broker that detailed multiple accounts of brokers left out of pocket by Whittingham's business Buy A Trail, the MFAA has come out and named the business for its membership following a public warning from Consumer Affairs Victoria.

Previously, the association had published multiple warnings to brokers who were looking to purchase trail books asking them to beware in these transactions, but failed to name the specific business for legal reasons. Aggregators were also reluctant to name the business.

A public warning issued by Consumer Affairs Victoria in September and republished by the MFAA in Mortgage and Finance Brief indicated that brokers should steer clear of Buy A Trail.

"The company and Mr Whittingham sent unsolicited emails to brokers regarding the sale of loan trail books," the warning from Consumer Affairs Victoria read.

"Consumer Affairs Victoria has received information that Mr Whittingham asks for a deposit from interested brokers and has received deposits ranging from less than $10,000 up to $60,000.

"Information packs provided by Mr Whittingham to brokers specify that the deposit is fully refundable if the prospective purchaser decides not to buy the loan trail book."

Consumer Affairs Victoria added that Buy A Trail director Mark Whittingham also regularly makes representations to prospective buyers that he will place their deposit money in a trust account.

"Despite these representations a number of brokers have reported that the deposits have not been returned in full, or at all, despite many requests," the statement read.

Buy A Trail is now in liquidation, after the Federal Court in NSW ordered that the company by wound up in August. Clients of the company may submit claims against the company with the liquidator for consideration.

  • Thewest on 6/11/2012 11:21:58 PM

    Anyone considering buying trail books should be doing due diligence on the seller and/or the middle man. A google search of Whittingham would be enough to scare most people away.

  • BJ on 5/11/2012 1:25:25 PM

    Karm
    I for one had lengthy conversation with various industry players, legal firms including the Victorian Fraud department. They have been active and finally results.
    Ben Abbott has written several articles warning brokers and I personally have received over 60 calls from brokers who have lost significant funds as a result of Ben’s reports. For my part Broker Magazine has been very active and congratulations to Ben Abbott as this is a good result.
    What is disappointing, I agree, is the lack of industry resolve to take on the likes of Whittingham. However short of a “Black List” I am unsure how the industry i.e. MFAA can tackle the problem without becoming embroiled in a costly defamation dispute and using member funds in the process.

  • Karm Gilespie on 5/11/2012 12:13:02 PM

    I have a VCAT ruling stating that this guy owes my company $6000 for a pre-paid package of Mortgage LEADS that never arrived. My legal advise is that due to "that" company being shut down that there's no point chasing it as I'll get nothing.

    This was indeed one of several reasons that lead me to decide to leave the industry. Meaning, non of the industry groups that I was paying membership to were willing to help me find "the others" being ripped off so we could band together ........

    At least the industry now can feel confident that he is NAMED and all others beware.

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