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Shady photography tactics lands agent in hot water

An Australian realtor may be facing legal trouble and fines for misrepresenting one of the properties he was selling – regardless of whether or not he used photo editing software.

An Australian realtor may be facing legal trouble and fines for misrepresenting one of the properties he was selling – regardless of whether or not he used photo editing software.

According to DIY Photography, the house was listed online, accompanied by a picture of the front of the house. However, the picture managed to obscure a prominent feature that anyone standing in front of the house would have seen – a large, ugly water tower located directly behind the house.

False advertising

Ray White, the real estate agent selling the property, claims that the owner gave him the photograph, which he had taken for a previous realtor. White’s agency checked out the situation, reporting that from their own “investigations” it appears “that the photos have not been photoshopped and are instead simply taken from an angle from which the house obscures the water tank.”

If White had used Photoshop or other photo editing software to alter the appearance of the property, he would have easily been handed a $22,000 fine for false advertising. However, because he technically did not edit the photograph, he may be able to weasel his way out of this one – even though he was clearly being dishonest.

May still be fined

Photoshop or not, the photograph is clearly an inaccurate depiction of the appearance of the property. According to Neville Sanders, president of the Real Estate Institute of Australia, false advertising is false, whether you edited the photo or just strategically placed the camera.

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He argues that using the picture without the water tower “would be against the law throughout the country… This kind of behavior falls under the broad umbrella that is the Australian Consumer Law. That states that a product cannot be inappropriately misrepresented in advertising material.”

The misleading photograph has been removed from the website of White’s agency. Whether or not White will be fined remains to be seen.


Ellen Vessels, a Staff Writer at The American Genius, is respected for their wide range of work, with a focus on generational marketing and business trends. Ellen is also a performance artist when not writing, and has a passion for sustainability, social justice, and the arts.


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