A High Street estate agent has branded the latest guidance to the industry on Consumer Protection Regulations as “a complete mess” and “nothing short of ridiculous.”
Jonathan Newall, director of SaleBoards Estate Agents in Exeter, says his company’s situation shows the problem.
“We pride ourselves on being open and honest with our fees, but the new legislation now states that our fees have to be advertised inclusive of VAT” he says.
“Since VAT was introduced in 1973, agents fees have always been quoted exclusive of VAT and that is what the public have become used to. So our usual fee of 1.25 per cent + VAT now has to be advertised at 1.5 per cent including VAT, which in my mind makes a very competitive fee sound no better than typical” he adds.
Newall says that SaleBoards - like many other companies - has now decided to avoid any confusion by removing any reference to fees from its advertisements.
“A quick browse of last week’s local newspaper revealed that only one out of 23 agents included details of their fees in their adverts” he claims.
“Given that the the Consumer Protection Regulations are supposed to make things better rather than worse for the consumer, it seems they may have fallen short of achieving their intended goal. The whole situation seems nothing short of ridiculous.”