A campaigning estate agency has taken the distinctly unusual route of exposing what it calls the ‘Top Ten Dirty Tricks’ which other agents engage in.
Lee James Pendleton, founder director of James Pendleton, says the list represents “the truth about the underbelly of this industry” which, because it is largely unregulated "attracts some pretty unscrupulous characters.”
He says: “You’ve got to remember that someone a day out of prison with no qualifications or ethical compass can set up an estate agency and sell your home. It’s vital consumers realise this and shop around. Don’t fall into the trap of assuming all estate agencies are born equal, far from it.”
Pendleton says regulation may be the only way to stamp out the poor practices that undermine the hard work of the vast majority of agents.
“All estate agents have to be a member of an ombudsman scheme and, like regulation, there is a cost attached. However, there’s scant evidence in my view that enough is being done to raise standards sufficiently where it’s most needed.”
Here’s the dodgy dealings list, compiled by Pendleton’s team:
1 - Putting boards up on properties they haven’t been asked to sell or let;
2 - Advising clients on offers from fictional buyers (yes they always fall through);
3 - Not revealing to a seller that a deal has fallen through, while they scramble to find another buyer before they lose the instruction;
4 - Dreaming up fictional offers from non-existent viewings to push buyers into raising their offer;
5 - Refusing to hand over the keys to rival firms when a property is being marketed by more than one agent;
6 - Refusing to pass on an acceptable offer to the vendor knowing the buyer will go higher and boost their commission;
7 - Deleting applicants and their offers from the firm’s database so buyers registered with colleagues are out of the running;
8 - Gazumping their own buyers with a better offer from another customer;
9 - Under-valuing a property in order to sell or let it to a developer or friend;
10 - Recommending offers from buyers just because they are signed up to their solicitors and brokers.