27 December 2006

Common Consumer Complaints with Estate Agents

The UK still does not a have a system of regulating Estate Agents. Anybody can set up shop as an agent. Halifax Estate Agents and others are calling for regulation and so they should. Please see below the common problems and complaint areas:
  • Putting excessive pressure on customers to use their mortgages brokers and solicitors to enable them to earn even more commission.
  • Unfair contracts – The use of a ‘Sole selling right’ clause which results in the clients paying commission even if they sell or let to a friend! This is not the same as a 'Sole Agent' contract where the client can sell or let themselves and not pay the commission.
  • Agents refusing to perform viewings!
  • Staff with no experience – Sending someone who has no experience in negotiating or knowledge of the marketed property.
  • No feedback after viewings – No suggestions or advice on marketing effectively.
  • The Agent not effectively managing tenants
  • Misuse of display boards - Displaying 'for sale' and 'to let' boards at properties not on their books, and even taking down competitor’s boards is very common. This is illegal practice and anyone who is aware of this should inform Trading Standards.
  • Not advertising the property effectively and allowing the property to go ‘stale’.
  • Overvaluing properties. Many agents will overvalue a potential client’s property in order to obtain the instruction.
  • Failure to inform client of ALL offers - This is another illegal practice, as an agent must tell the client of all offers.
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