A Sydney real estate agent is in hot water after a tense exchange on social media resulted in an internal investigation and suspension.
The situation unfolded when Abhnit Kumar from the Ray White Macarthur Group in Campbelltown posted about the recent sale of a $958,000 home to his professional Facebook page.
In the post, the 23-year-old realtor claimed: “The market doesn’t dictate your home’s price, the agent does. If you’re thinking about selling don’t leave money on the table, give me a call & let’s discuss strategy.”
However, this comment did not go down too well with Mr Kumar’s followers, with one person asking, if the market didn’t set the price of a property, why are agents “artificially inflating house prices during a period of high inflation”.
Mr Kumar responded by asking – wouldn’t the commenter like to “maximise on the profits you can make” when selling their “biggest asset”.
“Unless you wouldn’t then feel free to contact me as I have a buyer for your place,” he said.
The commenter then claimed that is “not what your post said”.
“You said you inflate prices, so that the market is over priced. Your words, not mine, I know when I’m in the market for a house I will be staying well away from your agency,” the person wrote. “It’s no wonder real estate agents are one of the least trusted professions.
“But you do you pal!”
But it was the real estate agent’s next comment that really fired commenters up.
“Hey buddy you must clearly be a renter. Please stay away from my agency as we would not like to deal with people like you,” Mr Kumar wrote.
The commenter responded asking how Mr Kumar came to that conclusion, saying it was “interesting” that he didn’t want renters coming into his agency.
Another commenter questioned whether by “people like you” Mr Kumar was referring to renters.
Mr Kumar appeared to delete the post following the backlash, but was confronted about the exchange by another commenter on his Facebook page.
In response, Mr Kumar said “to clarify I didn’t mean renters”, alongside a laughing-crying face emoji.
He explained he instead meant people who “don’t see value in getting the best price for there (sic) asset”, adding that “clearly you guys took it the wrong way”.
The commenter responded that “at a minimum” they would like a real estate agent who treats everyone fairly and “doesn’t discriminate against the ‘poor’ (renters) to ‘wealthy’ (homeowners).”
She added what she didn’t want was an agent who accuses others of “taking it the wrong way” when they are called out for their mistakes, urging Mr Kumar to “do better”.
Mr Kumar responded that she was “100 per cent right”, saying it was his mistake and that is why he deleted the original post.
“I am in the wrong, I should have handled the situation better. It was uncalled for my comments,” he wrote.
In a statement to news.com.au, Mr Kumar said he was “deeply sorry for the offence and upset caused”.
“It was a total error of judgment on my part and I promise it will never happen again. I am very remorseful for my comments,” he said.
“I am 23 year old, and I know I have made a serious mistake.”
It appears Mr Kumar’s Facebook page has since been deleted and his profile also removed from the Ray White website and a number of other real estate pages.
In a statement, the Ray White Macarthur Group apologised to current employees and any members within the community that Mr Kumar’s views offended.
“At Ray White Macarthur Group we pride ourselves on customer service. We respect and value each and every one of our tenants,” the agency said.
“The views of Abhnit Kumar do not align with the values of our group. As a result, we’ve made the business decision to suspend his employment immediately while we conduct an internal investigation.”
This statement was shared to the Ray White Macarthur Group Facebook page, with people branding the real estate agent’s views as “disgraceful”.
“He should be apologising. His views are disgusting,” one person said.
“Good, his behaviour as an agent was absolutely disgraceful. I would never refer ANYONE to him,” another wrote.
Pictures of the exchange were also shared to the tenant Facebook group Don’t Rent Me, sparking even more backlash.
Furious group members were quick to brand Mr Kumar’s comments as “despicable”, “unprofessional” and “shocking”.
“So renters are scum? Not the people that they rely upon to make profits off. Without renters there is no investment,” one person wrote.
“Imagine being the person who bought the property coming across this post and seeing that they paid an inflated price for it. I’d be livid,’ another wrote.
One person branded the behaviour “predatory” and “vicious”, while another person said the conduct was “highly unethical”.