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Exclusive: OnTheMarket Action Group says legal action still possible

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.

  • Trevor Mealham

    Agents should understand that the OTM vs Connells case is very very different and as such outcome may be very different.

    If there has been a wrong doing. Defend your rights.

    OTM have won a battle of Connells leaving a contract that sadly the former bosses of GH entered in to.

    The expert witness also failed to highlight various industry concerns and played better the case could have been won Im sure.

  • Trevor Mealham

    The judges also failed to look at the wider effect on new entrant portals under the one other portal rule that IS Anti-Competitive.

    Likely the biggest mistake was to have Zoopla (a bigger portal) fighting opposite, when its interest was to keep OTM down.

    It would have been better having smaller portals showing evidence of Springetts lynch mobs letters placing and threatening embargos on other smaller portals.

    Or did the case have bent judges. For sure OTM is anti-competitive to some others in the industry.

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    Give it up Trevor, Nothing worse than a whiny loser.

    The naive, silly agents that signed up to a 5 year contract and expected a bucket load of leads inside 2 years are penny pinchers which is why they have set up this group.

    Chances of them stumping up 5-10k each for a court case is zero.

    You backed the losing horse Trevor.

    Your vindictive and factually wrong remarks and your inability to read the law will continue to haunt you.

    Trevor Mealham

    Ignorance is far worse. ...

    By the way have you just had adoptions in the latest estate agency AML regulations. Guess not.

    I have :-)

     
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    What has that got to do with the price of chips?

    You are showing yourself up to be a joke Trevor.

    The only ignorance being displayed is yours. Feel free to keep digging that hole you have manged the get yourself in.

  • Trevor Mealham

    Smile stop hiding. Show yourself.

    OTM won on various points. The main being an agency vehicle which changed ownership then pulling from a contract the judges felt it should hoour. The case also sided that a smaller portal could use a semi block as its main growth was limited by Z and RM.

    What the smaller portal claimed it has also used against other new entrants and existing smaller portals.

    Now judges have either not looked at the bigger picture (and they do state Competition law is greater than what was looked at in this case).

    So OTM placing embargoes on smaller portals isn't anti-competitive.

    If you think that. You really are being naive.

    Personal insults also do nothing for you.

  • icon

    I think you all need to give Trevor a break here.

    I see he’s edited his comment but his original comment was that the judges in the case were bent – I agree.

    Think about it. Just for a moment, if you will.

    It’s 25 years ago. Our current Competition Tribunal Judge is a mere post-teen finding his way in the world. What career to pursue? I’m sure you can all sympathise. Why not law? Why not pursue a 7 year degree?

    Law it is!

    On our future judge goes… along the way devoting himself himself to the cause of professional advancement. Years pass, each case that comes before him he treats with due diligence and professional care until one day he is promoted to being a judge.

    ‘Yes!. I’ve made it. A judge? me? Now I can prove them all wrong.’
    ‘I’ll bide my time before unleashing my wicked plan on the world’.

    He spends a few more years fooling everyone into thinking he’s an honest, upstanding judge with impeccable integrity until one fateful day… there it is. Could it be? Yes. It is.
    ‘Here’s the case where I finally show my hand’ he thinks. Forget the six figure salary, Jane and the kids can holiday on a yacht!

    Finally embracing his corruption. Maybe it was the slick OnTheMarket.com logo, or indeed the sheer excitement of veering into a proxy estate agent war. Geopolitics has nothing on this!
    ‘I’m going to give the WRONG judgment. I’m no longer straight. I’M BENT. And I LOVE IT.’

    Months pass.

    The hearings conclude. Clear to everyone with a shred of common sense that a court case by an agent (funded by Zoopla) has nothing to do with Zoopla at all (and in fact that they are the real victims in all this) he decides to show how crooked he really is.

    Hillary who?

    Judgement Day – he decides.

    Against the agent. (Zoopla).

    Gasps in the courtroom. Trevor nearly loses his steady fantastic posture. (nearly). Thankfully, Trevor has brains (and a keyboard). He rushes home, logs in and declares the judge crooked. If only lady karma could act as quick as Trevor!!!!

    Judgement passes. Justice not served.

    The clink of champagne flutes.

    Jane and the judge are on a yacht watching the sunset. They've just finished dancing to Careless Whisper.

    ‘Honey, do you ever wonder what life would be like if we weren’t so crooked?’

    ‘It was the right decision Jane, look how rich we are!’

    ‘What about that Trevor man? isn’t he onto us?’

    ‘Bah honey, no-one will believe him, never a prophet in your own land and all that’.

    Jane smiles as the beautiful sun sets on the scene.

    ‘I’m so glad my husband is bent!’ she thinks

  • icon

    Darby can I please have some of that stuff you're smoking? As for Trevor, he just drinks vinegar.

  • Trevor Mealham

    Hafsid. I do make very good homemade farm style cider. But o one has ever claimed it to be vinegar :-)

    Im also liking the OOPr as it means smaller portals could use it and we may see OTM not being able to use it against smaller or new start portals. If the judges say its allowed against bigger portals. It could be a big hole OTM has just dug for itself against smaller players.

  • Trevor Mealham

    OTM WANT TO CHARGE AGENTS £1,000 PCM

    Has anyone read page 76 of the OTM trial bundle:

    http://www.catribunal.org.uk/files/1262_Agents_Mutual_Judgment_CAT_15_050717.pdf

    OTM want to charge you £1,000 pcm end game. Reads:

    107B
    All members remain OTM + 1 and this gets us past tipping point 1 towards tipping point 2 where we are seen as strong enough for agents to begin withdrawing from Rightmove.

    108B

    End game – 15,000 branches at an avg monthly fee of say £1000 with no real need to list anywhere else. £118M income before any other revenue sources.

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