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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Consultant "utterly inundated" with 200 contacts from OnTheMarket agents

The agency industry consultant who has volunteered to coordinate responses to OnTheMarket’s legal warnings to estate agents say he has been “utterly inundated” with 200 contacts during the first day of his activities.

Iain White, a former senior director at Romans and Countrywide Thames, made the offer over the weekend to coordinate responses from disgruntled OnTheMarket agents, some of which have received letters from lawyers acting for OTM’s parent company, Agents’ Mutual.

White says he has not yet been able to verify the validity of all of the comments that have been received by email and by telephone but he categorises each of the agents who have made contact to be in one of three camps.

The first consists of those who have sent what they regard as termination letters to OTM; many of these are Gold and Silver members who cite the lower fees paid by recent joiners as justification for their termination. 

The second consists of other long-standing agent members who have yet to indicate to OTM that they wish to terminate.

The third category consists of recently-joined agents who wish to investigate their options on continuing their membership. 

White says he is now consulting with legal advisers as to the next steps, particularly for what he calls “the aggrieved Gold and Silver members”. 

An OnTheMarket spokesperson says: "It is standard practice for any company to seek outstanding payments from customers when they are in arrears. We work to ensure that everyone in contract with us meets their obligations for the benefit of all members of Agents' Mutual."

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    The standard responses that are coming out are intersting , all of which refer to standard practises for companies , have they forgotten they are not a company but actually a mutual ? I wonder who was consulted on this course of action ? It sounds like there would have been at 3/400 votes against collecting outstanding monies that we can identify !

    Trevor Mealham

    AM and OTM both show different registrations at Companies House. That makes two companies to me. ......

     
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    This situation could be catastrophic for Agents Mutual which is a tragedy given the motivations and objectives of most agents who got involved. Shame they were overtaken by greed and self interest.

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    I really do wonder about the motivation of the founders ...
    restrictive practices are never in the interests of the consumer. Was it to head off the advance of the on-line agents? Out of envy for the margins of the portals? (ignoring the fact that the cost/lead via the portals keeps coming down)
    Working with the leading portals must the the intelligent way forward.

     
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    Steve , headline reads " top end estate agents open portal and concentrate spend in market areas they operate " .... It's not exactly the Monsecca files

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    Touche!

     
  • John Evans

    These OTM members who wish to jump ship are idiots who can't see the wood for the trees. They are bad estate agents who think a portal will shape their business levels. Rome wasn't built in a day! Stay with it to stop rm/zoo duo ripping us off!

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    Algarve  Investor

    Maybe they realise that OTM is a busted flush, they've been sold a dud, and that they want to get out before it's too late? I think that's a tad unfair - and agree with your point that Rome wasn't built in a day and OTM should be given more time to establish themselves - but there must be a reason why so many agents are jumping ship. Surely that can't be ignored?

     
    John Evans

    OTM have grown faster than RM/Zoo did in the initial period

     
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    These are my thoughts for what its worth.

    A number want to run OTM down and disband. Unless you are a portal rep or online only agent why would you want this?

    Look i am not a member of OTM but i dont want them to disappear, if they do Z & RM have an even bigger licence to print money. If they know that there is no rival threat they will push fees even higher.

    To me there seems some very silly people or just plain stupid.

    Simon Shinerock

    But they attacked the wrong target and made things worse

     
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    Hi.
    I wanted to join the discussion and start by asking a question; I run a single branch, private Estate Agency. We are based in a good area. I pay very nearly £500 each month to OTM. I have not had any leads this year. I have not had any benefits this year. They promised to be the second portal in 12 months ... they have a 7% market share. They are offering the services I pay £500 for at £50 to new members ... WOULD YOU STAY?

     
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    I think they could have handled the launch and whole process better and i think big mistakes have been made (hence i did not sign up).

    However, they must be appluded for getting further than others, i also do not see them making things worse at the moment, i have gained a reduction in my Z bill and RM increased same as always. So i am actually better off.

    I think OTM should continue to be supported but they need to be more ruthless in coming after RM. That will get alot more agents on board.

    Its a hollow victory sticking it to Z in my opinion.

    Tim, Sorry i cannot believe you have had no leads this year from OTM, i would belive less than Z but 0 - Sorry just dont buy it.

    As for £500 a month, i would not sign up in the first place (as i did not), I think £50 is the right fee to be honest until they gain market share.

     
  • Trevor Mealham

    Agents have to abide by CPRs and all businesses have to abide by BPR's. AM/OTM dually cartel like enforces restraints that after fair time could be seen as being poor consumer representation. As Simon says, The EAA1979 is about agents acting in clients best interest. For AM/OTM to place cartel like restraints such as 1. banning online only agents and 2. their 'one other portal rule' then I think Eversheds should do more research on what an agent should be doing under government regulations rather than AM/OTM want rules in consumer best interest.

    If agents feel that giving AM/OTM a go has resulted in restraints restricting best practice for consumers and other businesses they may be acting for then AM/OTM may be breaking BPR's themselves.

    The HOWEVER though is that as Z hasn't acted too fast, in many google searches for property. OTM paid for advertising often appears above RM and Z searches. as such have some of the big AM/OTM competitors done too little too late in that OTM is hitting high on may searches now.

    The saga continues.

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    I couldn't believe yesterday when I read that OM are selling for £50 a month so I mystery shopped them. I was told about the membership options but was pushed for the £50 a month option as they want 7500 offices asap. I was also told that OM members had voted for this. I am an OM member and I haven't voted for it and I doubt anyone with half a brain would when you are paying £400 a month.
    The biggest mistake made with this was agents at the very beginning had the chance to make RM smaller but never had the balls to do so. Now we have a bigger RM charging what they want and agents more afraid than before to leave.
    We will be doing all we can to get away from OM..........

  • Algarve  Investor

    They say a week is a long time in politics...I think OTM/AM will now fully appreciate that sentiment. It does seem to have been one bad news story after another in the last few days, but they may yet survive this and come out stronger on the other side.

    I'm not so sure they will, but it'll be interesting to see what happens from here on out. What isn't in question, though, is the fact that it's been OTM's most difficult week since they launched.

  • Fake Agent

    Bet Iain White is wondering what the hell he signed up for!

  • Ayyaz Choudry

    We left OTM for a multitude of reasons but mostly the lack of leads. With Iain White we have someone who can take on OTM and defend the little guys.

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