The OnTheMarket Action Group of dissident agents has told Estate Agent Today it is now in a position to decide on its possible legal action against the portal following this week’s Competition Appeal Tribunal decision.
The Action Group was formed in the spring of 2016 by dissident OTM agents - those who joined early on, either signing a loan note or becoming Gold or Silver members - who made a series of allegations regarding the portal’s performance, contracts and fees.
A spokesperson for the group told EAT: “Our members were awaiting the Competition Appeal Tribunal decision. If that had gone the way of Gascoigne Halman our action may not have been necessary, but now that’s been delivered in favour of [OTM parent company] Agents’ Mutual, we can decide whether to continue with our action. Response so far has been very keen to pursue it, but it’s down to our members to decide.”
The spokesperson - who said eligible agents were still joining the group, with interest coming at the rate of two or three agencies a week - continued: “Our action has nothing to do with the One Other Portal rule so appears to be unaffected by the tribunal ruling.”
It is thought that agents are likely to have to spend between £5,000 and £10,000 each as a contribution towards the legal action if it goes ahead; a decision is expected shortly.
This week’s CAP ruling against the Connells-owned Gascoigne Halman agency was a signficant victory for OTM and supported its claim that its One Other Portal ruling was not anti-competitive and was not part of any concerted attempt for members to boycott Zoopla.
Last year the Action Group held a series of sessions to recruit members allegedly unhappy at the performance and costs of OTM. It set up its own website and undertook preliminary discussions over legal action with Tollers Solicitors.