The fines issued by the Competition and Markets Authority on a local association of estate agents and three of its members have been highlighted by the organisation as one of the highlights of its first year of activity.
In the CMA annual report, out this week, it says it was notable that the authority’s actions - which we reported upon at length earlier this year - were decided upon within 12 months.
“This was a reduction from the previous 18-month average of our predecessors” says the annual report, referring to the now-defunct Office of Fair Trading.
It then goes on to say: “We issued an infringement decision just over 16 months after the OFT opened the case, following which the CMA and Three Counties Estate Agents Ltd settled the case with a fine of £735,000. This case was important because many thousands of people purchase or sell a property each year, and our work will help to ensure that they get a fair deal from estate agents across the UK.”
The CMA says it has now expanded its cartels team from 58 permanent staff to an estimated 105 staff by the end of this summer.