Underquoting is a significant problem for Victorian home buyers, the state regulator has warned, as a real estate agency in the blue ribbon suburb of Richmond was handed a record fine for duping customers.

Hocking Stuart Richmond was ordered to pay $330,000 for manipulating 11 house price estimates to deceive home buyers with “the illusion of a bargain” and drive up its profits. The Richmond-based franchise created an “enticing but illusory and misleading marketing web” that inconvenienced, disappointed and deceived customers, a Federal Court…