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OnTheMarket chief emails members to steady the ship after media coverage

OnTheMarket chief executive Ian Springett has sent an email to member agents following articles about alleged legal challenges to the portal which have appeared in the Financial Times and property trade publications.

The letter refers to the “vested interests of some of our detractors” without naming the organisations or individuals it refers to. 

There has been a series of stories about disgruntled agents on Estate Agent Today and Property Industry Eye in recent days, several quoting City analysts that have in some cases forecast the possible demise of the ‘one other portal only’ rule.

OnTheMarket denied that it will be ending in an FT article which spoke with the coordinator of an Action Group which claims there are around 200 agents in dispute with the portal. More coverage of the portal is expected in some news outlets this weekend.

Here is the OTM letter in full:

Dear Agent

You may well have seen some recent negative stories about OnTheMarket. In view of the vested interests of some of our detractors in undermining your portal, I wanted to take this opportunity briefly to set out the relevant facts.

One “story” related to a “legal warning” we sent to “rebel agents”.

It is certainly the case that a week ago legal letters were issued to a very small proportion of member agents who, according to our records and monitoring, were in payment arrears. Like any organisation, we see it as standard practice to seek to recover outstanding debts from customers in arrears with the payments they are contracted to make. On behalf of the broad membership of Agents' Mutual, it is vitally important that we work to ensure that those who have entered contracts with us meet their obligations.

Another “story” has reported that some agents were considering legal action against your portal for alleged misrepresentations made in relation to pricing policy.

We have no reason to believe that there are any grounds for such action. As you would expect, the Board and management team of Agents’ Mutual have at every stage of the company’s inception and development taken appropriate legal advice.

Ultimately, locally-based full service agents like yours have the power to transform the portals landscape for consumers and agents alike with your continued support for OnTheMarket. Your team is keeping its focus on the task in hand. I’m pleased to report that support from agents across the country continues to grow and that we had another record month of traffic in March with over 7 million visits.

We can only expect the level of noise and aggression to increase in certain quarters. In the meantime, we must not lose sight of why thousands of agents joined Agents’ Mutual and created OnTheMarket.

Kind regards,

Ian Springett

Chief Executive

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    I don't believe any portal brings in any direct valuation leads as it used to. If agents require direct valuation leads then they have to spend thousands on add on products from portals. I have noticed more agents are not taking up these add on on that's why Rightmove and Zoopla are phoning agents to push up prices again.

    OTM message is restricting agents to freely advertise and owners of businesses do not want to be dictated where they can and can't advertise.

    The public are lazy in my opinion and they want a FULL Estate Agency Service they not really interested in doing their own viewings etc. Otherwise all properties would be listed with an 'Online Part Service Marketing Agency' like Colour bricks or hemooved (lol).

    My Message to OTM is drop your 1 other portal rule and work with the agents they have in order to improve the FULL Service proposition to the Public and give the public an excellent FULL Service Network Proposition. If they get the agents on board first then promotion of the OTM site should be done through the branch network. In other words remove all stickers in the windows, websites etc which contain RIGHTMOVE or Zoopla and replace them with OTM. Remember it's the Estate Agents who promote any Portal and not the other way around.

    ESTATE AGENTS have the power so don't get shafted on montly extortionate fees by the likes of Zoopla or Rightmove which then have to be passed on to the consumer.

    Terence Dicks

    I do not agree that the public are lazy at all. They want a portal that can show the most properties in the area in which they are looking. OTM does not even come close on that score because AM have mis-handled this from its inception. How vain to believe that because the high-end agents from London are running the show (purely with their own interests in mind) that they could immediately become the "Number two portal" in place of Zoopla. Their aim should have been No1 portal from the beginning, and approached ALL the decent-sized agents with a sound business proposition. If OTM had been a TRUE Agents Mutual instead of a dictatorship, things would have been different.
    However, No2 describes OTM quite well.


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