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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Fines imposed on agencies boycotting top property portal (but not in UK)

Here’s a story with more than a little in common with Britain’s own property portal wars.

A long-running legal saga between Danish estate agents and one of the country’s major property portals appears to be nearing a conclusion - with fines being levied on a number of agents, most of which are accepting the punishment.

Back in 2012 the Danish Competitive Council claimed that over 65 per cent of the country’s estate agents - including its main industry trade body - were involved in anti-competitive boycott agreements against Boliga.dk, denying the portal access to photos of property for sale on the internet.

The Global Competition Review publication said at the time that the strategy behind this action was to try to diminish and possibly put out of business the privately-owned Boliga portal in favour of an agent-owned portal called Bolihsiden. 

The Competition Council four years ago ordered the parties to terminate, and to abstain from any future agreements, decisions or concerted practices, which have as their direct or indirect object or effect the restriction of individual estate agents' rights to allow Boliga, or other property search portals, to show photos of their clients' properties.

There have been some years of wrangling but now it appears that the issue has been resolved - at least up to a point.

This week fines of around 12m Danish krone (about £1.235m) have been levied on seven agencies; five of them are reported by Global Competition Review to have accepted the fines and will be paying up while two are appealing, so at least this aspect of the case looks set to rumble on yet.

The Danish Competitive Council found that there was a “hard core” violation of the country’s competition act.

In Britain over the past 18 months there has been controversy over seemingly-coincidental decisions by some agents to drop Zoopla in favour of OnTheMarket, although some of those agents have now returned. More recently, some agents have suggested online that there could be a collective boycott of Rightmove.

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    It seems to me that all that really matters is whether the competition authorities - or Zoopla - decide to act here. I have heard about groups of agents - who in their local markets must represent a similar percentage of market share - getting together to vote en masse on which portal they were going to drop, which is essentially the same situation. I cannot imagine that Danish and UK competition law is that different that what is wrong there is OK here.

    Would do wonders for the reputation of our industry of course!

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    Exactly, I'm pretty sure this happened in Wales. The thing is with these things as we can see it takes time. Will be interesting to see where it all is - if anywhere - in a couple of years from now.

     
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    Just waiting for messers Mealham and HarryN to turn up...

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    I dint think they will have anything too add to the courts decision T dap, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck.....

     
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    Great. I'm off to Denmark to set-up 1 million property portals, which I think the estate agents should have to pay £1,000/month for each one.

    If the estate agents don't sign up to each one then I'll sue them.

  • MO STYLES

    We had to stop advertising with onthemarket because by March 2015 we hadn't received any leads and it was destroying our business. We were 100% reliant on RightMove but paying for all 3 portals. Onthemarket wouldn't show our propertiesin March 2015 because we had not fully terminated our Zoopla membership but at the time we weren't advertising any properties with them. Today we got the solicitor's letter from Eversheds demanding full payment of 4 months fees due to OTM even though they almost destroyed our business. Zoopla has really turned our fortunes around as they seem far more pro-active nowadays. Wish I had never set eyes on OTM. If anyone has a similar experience would they consider a class action. We would have Zoopla on our side.

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