Like the Whitesnake classic, ‘Here I go again’, Dominique Grubisa has made up her mind, ain’t wasting no more time again and goes again, as David Donovan reports.
SELF-PROFESSED property maven Dominique Grubisa has taken to the internet to launch the latest version of her “Fast Property” platform. While marketing for DG Institute's Real Estate Rescue program refers to the inclusion of National Property Group's platform, the Fast Tracker product is derived from a different company — Stash Property.
Grubisa says the platform does everything but wash your car. It also involves gross invasion of the privacy of vulnerable people.
Grubisa’s arrangements with National Property Group came about after Archistar and Domain Group cut ties with Grubisa’s business, DG Institute.
In April, Archistar told the Financial Review it had restricted the ability of DG Institute and its customers to upload data sets to its platform. This came about after Archistar became aware that DG Institute was encouraging subscribers to ‘use property data in an inappropriate manner’. Archistar went as far as to say that it deplored the use of property data in a predatory manner.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) had already called out Grubisa for misuse of data for improper purposes in a statement banning her from financial and credit services.
At that stage, Grubisa’s students were accessing data supplied by Domain Group via Archistar. Data was sourced via Domain Group after CoreLogic cut Grubisa off. She repaid the long relationship that she had with CoreLogic by having her company sue them.
After an investigation into the use of its platform, Archistar cut ties with DG Institute. Grubisa then turned to National Property Group.
The data sets that Grubisa uploaded to the Archistar platform included the names and addresses of owners of properties who faced repossession of their homes, people who were parties to Family Court proceedings, deceased estates and so on. They also included people over the age of 70.
Grubisa’s new platform includes data sets of vulnerable people again. In a video promoting the new platform Grubisa says: “Look at this layering, how good is this?”
You can see in the legend below a reference to off-market distressed property. These are the homes of people that Grubisa has matched up from court lists.
Grubisa is still at it well over two years after a spokesperson for the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court of Australia told IA:
“Going through the process of divorce and other family law proceedings is a particularly stressful period for all separating couples and it would be of serious concern if any court material, such as court lists, were to be used inappropriately and for commercial gain.”
Grubisa also boasts in the video how the platform will facilitate automated bulk letter writing.
“Guess what. It even posts them. No need to print now or get a stamp or anything. Just press a button. This is an absolute game-changer. It’s a must-have.”
She encourages her students to target and write to distressed homeowners in the hope of convincing them to sell their property on the cheap.
In September, we reported on privacy issues regarding the collection of, use and distribution of personal information by Grubisa’s business and suggested that the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) should join the other organisations investigating Grubisa and her business.
We can now confirm that the OAIC was made aware of Grubisa’s activities in mid-2020 and that Senator David Shoebridge has committed to following up with the OAIC regarding their inaction about Grubisa’s activities.
What are the rules regarding the use of information derived from state and territory property records?
When someone purchases a property in Australia, information is collected by the relevant state and territory government. This data is used for the purpose of assessment of state taxes and also used by local authorities for rates. Jurisdictions are bound by their own privacy legislation. For example, in Queensland, the use of personal information by government agencies is regulated by the Information Privacy Act 2009.
Generally, personal information may be disclosed where authorised or required by law. Policy documents such as this one in relation to the use of personal information collected under the Queensland Land Valuation Act provide guidance on the circumstances in which personal information is made available.
Grubisa trawls court lists each week searching out parties who face repossession of their homes, bankruptcy applications, winding up applications and people who are parties to family law proceedings. She then searches for properties owned by these people through property records.
At present, only three states make bulk valuation data that includes personal information (names and addresses of homeowners) available to information brokers such as CoreLogic, Domain Group and National Property Group. Those states are Queensland, NSW and WA.
In Queensland, personal information is made available on terms that prohibit being used for direct marketing. The prohibition is in the terms of contracts entered into by the information brokers and in the code of conduct to which the brokers are bound.
In NSW, personal information has historically been made available on similar terms to that in Queensland. Responsibility for the arrangements with information brokers has sat with the Office of the Valuer General.
In July last year, in answers to questions regarding privacy raised by the Joint Standing Committee on the Office of the Valuer General, the NSW Valuer General, Dr David Parker, indicated that new agreements were to be developed which would ensure owner names would not be included, although they were yet to be put in place.
In WA, personal information is made available to information brokers but subject to contractual terms which prohibit the use of that data for direct marketing.
For Grubisa to now search for properties by owners' names in WA (something she could have done through CoreLogic and Domain Group’s platforms) she has to undertake searches through a title broker licenced by the Western Australia Land Information Authority (Landgate). That licence and end user terms (such as these from Infotrack — see section 1.7) contain numerous restrictions which prohibit the information being used in the way Grubisa’s business does.
In Victoria and South Australia, personal information is not provided in bulk to companies such as CoreLogic or Domain. In Victoria, the only way to search for property owners by name is via an individual owner name search through title brokers licenced to provide such information.
It is a condition of being able to do such a search that the user signs a confidentiality deed with the State of Victoria. The terms of that deed prohibit disclosure of information other than for Authorised Purposes. Authorised Purposes specifically exclude data matching, direct marketing and list brokering.
Grubisa told her students (Day one, session two at 39 mins in) in a seminar in August this year (when utilising data through Domain Group’s Pricefinder platform)
You can’t in Victoria do search names on Pricefinder. Victoria is a bit of a nanny state, guys. It’s perfectly legal; land titles have the records of property ownership... it’s public record but they just won’t let it – let Pricefinder – have that data.
So for mortgagees in Victoria, what you will do is you will go to your website... um... DG Institute website... and you will go to your programs – so, Real Estate Rescue – and what you will see there is... what you want is property searches, Victoria and South Australia. South Australia, as well, you can’t search names and match them to property. We have done those searches for you. Perfectly legal to have it — it’s public record. Then you will search for the properties that that person owns...
Grubisa’s claims are not accurate. Because in order to search by owner's name you must sign the confidentiality deed and by doing so, you agree not to use the data for the purposes Grubisa does. A broker who discovers a user is using information for other than an Authorised Purpose is required to immediately prevent the user’s access (as set out in clause 19 of the extract shown on Citec Confirm’s website).
In South Australia, the company that operates the land registry, Land Services SA, has sublicence agreements in place with value-added resellers. The terms of those agreements (see clause 7.1) prohibit the use of data to compile contact lists or to facilitate any person contacting any other person, whether for marketing purposes or for any other purpose commercial or otherwise. Licensees, namely those who facilitate searches by end users, must also not permit any other person to do these things.
Grubisa loves to tell people she is a ready, fire, aim sort of person. Perhaps before pulling the trigger, she might wish to read the terms and conditions upon which data is provided. Like her mentor, Donald Trump, Grubisa will not stop with her half-truths and lies.
IA understands there are now investigations in five states.
With apologies to Whitesnake:
“And here I go again on my own.
Going down the only road I've ever known.
Like a grifter, I was born to walk alone.”
Follow IA founder David G Donovan on Twitter @davrosz. Also, follow Independent Australia on Twitter @independentaus, on Facebook HERE and on Instagram HERE.
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- Dominique Grubisa doubles down despite fraud allegations
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