The agent who last year wrote a controversial ‘open letter’ about OnTheMarket has now received a letter demanding she pay alleged arrears by the middle of next week, and conforms with the so-called one other portal rule.
Lisa Arcari, who runs a single-branch agency called My Place In Cornwall based in the market town of Wadebridge, received the letter from Eversheds law firm on behalf of Agents’ Mutual: on its website, Eversheds says it “operates at the leading edge of business”, claims it is recognised “as a Global Elite Law Firm” that “regularly advise on billion dollar deals and high profile cases.”
As with some letters which we reported on last week, this correspondence asks Arcari to pay alleged arrears and to conform with OTM’s ‘one other portal’ rule. She has 14 days from the date of the letter - which gives little more than a week now.
However, Arcari insists that she wrote a termination letter to OTM and insists it is the portal rather than her or other rebel Agents Mutual members breaching contractual obligations.
“OnTheMarket is a disgrace. It’s demanding money with menaces. The portal has breached its own contract by setting out a schedule of fees for agents joining at the start and saying that agents who joined later would have to pay more - when the reverse appears to have actually happened” she had told Estate Agent Today.
Arcari says any change to that process should have been agreed by Agents’ Mutual’s members - including herself - but that no such discussion took place.
Now she says she is happy to discuss with any other agents in a similar position how they can collectively take forward their dialogue with OnTheMarket.
Last October, in her original open letter, Arcari said that she had been taken in by OTM’s sales pitch. She accused the portal of not responding to complaints, and explained that she could not see the benefit to members like her of OTM’s international sales service.
At the time of her original open letter OnTheMarket responded that it was sorry “this individual agent” was dissatisfied.
In response to Estate Agent Today enquiries OTM now says that with regard to alleged unpaid subscription fees: "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."
On the subject of accusations that OTM breached its own verbal promises regarded later-joining agents paying more than launch members, an OTM spokeswoman says: “No comment.”