Online estate agency eMoov has lodged a complaint with the Competition and Markets Authority over high street agents’ implementation of sole agency agreements.
eMoov says this type of agreement “penalises sellers and creates a void between the customer needs and the agent’s service.”
The complaint has been lodged by Russell Quirk, founder and chief executive of eMoov, on the advice of a legal counsel which states that “these lengthy periods of exclusivity are likely to breach the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trade Regulations 2008 (CPUTR) and the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulation 1999 (UTCCR)” amongst others.
Quirk says sole agency agreements lock consumers in to a period of exclusivity, usually extending to as long as 20 weeks, then often continue indefinitely until written notice to cancel is provided by the seller.
“Throughout this time, they are contractually prevented from instructing another agent to list their property regardless of the agent’s performance. If they do breach the often very tough contract terms, consumers are then liable for penalty fees which can be up to three per cent of the eventual sale price” says eMoov.
The complaint lodged with the CMA is specifically aimed at what Quirk calls “the widespread and unfair use of excessive sole agency and selling right agreements, deployed by agents predominantly in the high street sector.”
The CMA has told Estate Agent Today that it has not yet had an opportunity to assess the eMoov complaint.