A former Kiwis and Warriors rugby league star has cut ties with a 'no commission, no fees' house buying company that's accused of taking advantage of vulnerable homeowners.
Wairangi Koopu's name and image have been used to endorse Auckland House Buyers' website and flyers since 2015.
But the Warriors centurion has asked his agent to "pull any affiliation" with the company amid concerns over its business model.
"I had no intention of ever putting my name to anything that may be harming or unethical to people's practices," Koopu told the Weekend Herald.
Auckland House Buyers is owned by Peter Lee, who also owns Propertywise Ltd.
The companies were linked to the purchase of widowed pension Sarah Ewe's Mangere property in November and disabled woman Pamela Baucke's Massey house in May.
Both sales have created controversy amid claims Lee purchased the properties cheaply and without the owners getting legal advice or speaking to family before signing sales contracts.
Baucke, who has a traumatic brain injury after spending nine weeks in a coma following a crash, has until July 25 to vacate her West Auckland house.
She signed it away for $515,000 when Lee visited her after she responded to an online ad promising "no commission" and "fair offer".
Estimates seen by the Herald put the property's actual worth at between $630,000 and $770,000.
Lee denies acting unethically and says the sale price was "reasonable" given Baucke avoided commission and marketing fees.
He says he obtained his own registered valuation of $580,000 but has refused to release it to the Herald for verification.
Though Lee abandoned the purchase of Ewe's house following publicity, he is refusing to back down over the Baucke deal and says settlement will occur as scheduled.
Koopu was disappointed to hear about the women's cases.
He said he was approached through his agent to do a promo video for Auckland House Buyers about two years ago.
The images were only contracted for one year and he was surprised to learn they were still being used.
Koopu had no idea the company was also associated with Propertywise Ltd.
Asked if he was concerned about his name being associated with either company, he replied: "For sure. At the time I thought it was a pretty good idea, if people were getting a fair price for their house.
"But you're right, I don't want to be affiliated with a company who might treat people in a way they don't deserve to be treated - 100 per cent."
His agent had now contacted Lee to cut ties with his companies and instruct them to make no further use of Koopu's name or image.
Meanwhile, one of the country's biggest law firms has joined the fight to save Baucke's house.
After reading about her plight, MinterEllisonRuddWatts partner Zane Kennedy got in touch this week and offered to take on the case without charge.
The firm has now written to Lee's solicitors demanding the contract be cancelled on the basis of misrepresentation and potential breaches under the Fair Trading Act.
Lee has also been referred to the Commerce Commission and Real Estate Agents Authority (REAA).
REAA chief Kevin Lampen-Smith said Lee and his companies were not licensed so were outside the agency's jurisdiction.
"The only other question that remains is whether Peter Lee is purporting to act as a licensed real estate agent by carrying out real estate agency work when not licensed in his dealings and we will be taking a look into this."
Lampen-Smith urged anyone selling their home to seek legal advice before signing a contract and said consumers had more protection when using licensed agents.