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NTSEAT wants agents and public to report future portal juggling issues

The National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team has followed up the recent announcement by The Property Ombudsman to counteract portal juggling by calling upon the public and the industry to report any future cases of the practice.

“We welcome The Property Ombudsman’s update to its Code of Practice, which will require members to comply with new guidance around how agents use online property search websites. The change in guidelines means its members – which includes the vast majority of practicing estate agents – will be obliged to comply with the new rules” said James Munro, team leader of the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team in a statement yesterday evening.

“The practice of ‘portal juggling’ has seen some agents deliberately mislead potential homebuyers by removing and relisting properties to make them appear new on the market or using the practice to manipulate sales figures.

“Breaches of the new guidance could lead to a ruling by the Ombudsman and also referrals to enforcement agencies – including the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team and local trading standards authorities. Such referrals could lead to prohibition orders or prosecution” he continued.

He said NTSEAT would work closely with The Property Ombudsman and other redress schemes “to stop this unfair and misleading practice” which he said  “misleads prospective homebuyers and harms honest estate agents who conduct their business in a fair and professional manner.”

Munro concluded his statement by appealling to the public and other agents: “If you suspect an estate agent of portal juggling or spot anything suspicious on a major online portal, we urge you to report it to Citizens Advice on 03454 040506.”

  • James Scollard

    This is not going to change anything. Agents do this to generate more enquiries and more interest, more chance of selling the property. Although, I do this with the owners permission going from say £500k to £499,999 to £499,990 to £499,995 - thereby making it re-appear in new search results. The reason is many buyers search new properties added in the last 24 hours. Meaning a higher level of enquiries for the seller.

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    Arh yet another ''solution'' to a NON-problem (as James above sets out) that causes no-one any loss so in reality W - TF!


    Over regulation to add to over regulation, will one day cause all agents to be in breach of ''something''.

    madness.

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    If you define a number of national names in estate agency allegedly deliberately defrauding investors, the public and obtaining an unfair advantage over law-abiding agents earning/ costing millions of pounds in the process, then I would say your definition of causing "no-loss" holds water.

     
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    It's not really over regulation if it's regulation designed to explicitly stop firms breaking the law and misleading consumers is it?

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