The Department of Real Estate has obtained a stipulated judgment requiring Electronic Realty Associates Inc. (ERA) to disclose in all advertising that homeowners must pay a fee to participate in ERA's "Seller Security Plan," that the homeowner had to buy another house, that the house had to meet certain requirements and that ERA had sole discretion to determine the price offered for the homeowner's house.
In connection with settling the suit, ERA agreed to dismiss its lawsuit against James A. Edmonds Jr., real estate commissioner, and the department. Edmonds said that he will resist any efforts to use the courts to prevent the department from "exercising its statutory duty to protect the public."
Edmonds said that because there were so many significant conditions and limitations which had to be met by a homeowner to qualify for the plan, he issued desist and refrain orders to a number of California-based ERA franchisees in connection with their advertising of the plan. These orders alleged that the advertising was false and misleading in that it did not disclose all of the conditions for qualifying for participation in the plan, Edmonds said.
The real estate department and the Business & Tax Section of the Attorney General's office, which represented Edmonds in the suit, brought the seller security plan to the attention of the Attorney General's Consumer Fraud Unit. The unit filed suit against ERA.