Flat Chat Strata Forum The Professionals Current Page

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      Our Body Corporate Manager (BCM) is one of the biggest in QLD, and also operates in NSW.  We’ve just discovered he has charged us about $17,000 (plus GST) for 5 e-mails since August 2023.  We have 62 lots, and most have taken up the electronic mail system offered by the BCM, with the promise of significant savings.  His contract allows him to charge $0.40 cents per A4 Image per owner.

      There have been many disputes at our scheme over the last 2 years, a number ending up in the Commissioner’s Dispute Resolution process.

      The Commissioner sent an e-mail to the BCM in September 2023, with an attached .pdf file containing 78 pages to be sent to all owners. The BCM charged $1965 to on-forward it to 66 owners. (When a lot has more than 1 e-mail address, he sends it to all.)

      In October, another dispute saw the BCM receiving an e-mail with a 268 page .pdf attachment.  On-forwarding cost us $7,075.

      In November, another dispute meant another e-mail, with a 146-page .pdf attachment, which was dutifully flicked on by the BCM to 72 owners for a fee of $4,204.

      You might think this is righteous retribution for having a fractious and litigious community.  Not so.  An EGM held in August to appoint a painting contractor cost us $2,586 to e-mail the 110 pages of quotes etc.  EGMs are not part of the Fixed Fee/Fixed Service.

      Maybe we should have delayed the EGM until the October AGM?  Nuh… this would not have saved us anything either.  While the AGM is part of the Fixed Fee/Fixed Service, the emphasis is on part.  The Fixed Fee/Fixed Service includes only the preliminary statutory papers and does not include the Committee Motions or Owner Motions.

      More fool us for having a contract of this nature, but what really galls me is that the Committee, including the Treasurer, did not notice the alarming rise in fees appearing in the monthly financial statements until February this year.  And even then it took a couple of new Committee members to start asking questions before the rest of the Committee realised what was happening.

      Thankfully, they were ready when another e-mail arrived from the Commissioner’s Office last week, this time with a 298-page .pdf attachment that had to be on-forwarded.  The newbies persuaded the rest of the Committee to have the BCM do the hard-copy mailout to those 4 owners who still require them, then send the e-mail to a designated Committee member who in turn e-mailed it to all owners… for free.  Saved us at least $7,000.

      I was first alerted to this problem by a member of the Commissioner’s Office which is getting push-back from Committees about the cost of e-mailing largish .pdf onto their owners.  It seems that our BCM is not the only one indulging in this practice.  On the other hand, I’ve also heard that some BCMs only charge a nominal fee per owner, not per page per owner, and quite right too.

      Would be good if you could alert your readers to the risk of excessive fees.  Seems like just another case where the Committee is mesmerised by a low Fixed Fee, little thinking it is with the Extra Fees for Extra Services that the BCM will screw you.  Same same re the Lift Maintenance Contracts.


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    Flat Chat Strata Forum The Professionals Current Page