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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Competition & Markets Authority still monitoring portals

The Competition and Markets Authority says it is still monitoring the major property portals. 

A statement to Estate Agent Today by the CMA says “we have been monitoring the sector” but confirms no action is currently planned against any portal or agent. 

“Where we have reason to suspect that competition law may have been breached through collective agreement over the choice of portals by estate agents we may be writing to the parties involved reminding them of their obligations under competition law” says the authority. 

But it adds: “We will continue to monitor developments in the sector and will consider taking further action should we think it is warranted.”

The statement comes after the CMA was described earlier this month by competition lawyer Michael Dean as having the agency industry “in its sights” following a fine of £735,000 by the authority on the Three Counties Estate Agents Association. 

In recent months there had been one known complaint to the CMA about Agents Mutual - which the authority says categorically it is not investigating - and two complaints about the Edinburgh Solicitors Property Centre, accusing it of breaking anti-competition rules by forcing its members to advertise through its own marketing channels. 

The CMA does not comment on current investigations, with a spokesman telling EAT: “We are unable to discuss whether or not we have received any intelligence about a specific concern.”

  • Simon Shinerock

    I think it's obvious that the CMA is only monitoring the situation rather than acting because it does not want to squander its resources unnecessarily. What I now want to know is how many agents have joined and how many have left OTM in the past month. The jungle drums are sounding louder and louder on this issue and I think the message spells trouble for the exclusive restrictive upmarket portal.

  • Karl Knipe

    The CMA have certainly been busy this year!

    I agree, Simon, I think this is just a case of them monitoring rather than acting on any actual information.

  • Simon Shinerock

    And the thing is Karl, if they have not investigated that means they have made NO decision one way or the other, it's not like saying 'we have investigated and we are happy'

  • Jonathan Rolande

    Isn’t this a bit of a non-story?

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    Yep - non story as the CMA and the body in Wales don't have the appetite for something this big. Too big too be investigated!

  • Simon Shinerock

    Not true Harry, not yet big enough and not likely to get big enough. The reason why the CMA acted against the agents in the local cartel was because they were significantly distorting the local market. As a national player OTM would need to distort the national market to cause the CMA to act. In other respects I guess it is a bit academic as it looks like OTM will now shrink rather than grow

  • Trevor Mealham

    @Jonathan and Harry. CMA have stated several times that they ARE still monitoring OTM. Simon for the CMA to say they are monitoring, means they must be observing areas of concern. It wouldnt have to be national. But upsetting even a segmant. We know they prejudice against online only and stop managers and negs via bosses partner agreements from marketing in more than one other main portal. AM and OTM being two entities are acting cartel like in their joint restraint rules on select agents in the market. This isnt healthy for agents or consumers.

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