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Graham Awards


"Dodgy, Unscrupulous" - One estate agent's take on parts of the industry

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.

  • Spencer Hughes Morris

    And the concrete evidence he has of these accusations is where?

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    I find point 8 rather odd. Is he saying that if he got a higher offer from another client he would decide not to put it forwards as he believes that unscrupulous?

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    Point 6 is the most absurd, He is aware that estate agents work for the seller and it is for them to achieve the best price?

  • Paul Singleton

    I think Lee Pembleton doesn't understand the industry at all. Msybe he should lift his game prior to criticising others. Offers have to be put forward irrespective of whether it gazumps others.

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    Plenty of 1 and 2 star awards........ People in glass houses .........

  • James Robinson

    I have one to add to the list:
    11. Estate agents who, while announcing their move towards online agency, dupe normally excellent journalists into publishing self interest articles deriding traditional agents as being dodgy and unscrupulous. Oh the irony.

  • Simon Shinerock

    Erm James, dear boy, well done on the publicity but I feel I need to take you to task especially on point 6. If you think a buyer will pay more you should advise your seller accordingly, pass on the low offer of course but advise your client that in your view they should say no as the buyer will pay more. The amount of extra commission is dwarfed by the extra the seller will get, 100 times more apparently. In reality weak agents are more likely to advise a seller to take a low offer than folllow their conviction and fight for a higher one

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    What a load of old rubbish! seriously are we not meant to pass on higher offers and also I don't know about you guys but I have never in my right mind not passed an offer across in hopes I will get a higher amount!

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    What a joke. In two and a half decades of letting I have never met any agency as guilty of all of these points than James Pendleton. They stick their signs all over the place without permission and they lie and cut corners to cover up their incompetence. Does he even have any professional qualifications? Reminds me of a second hand car salesman in some dodgy suburb. The staff are untrained and arrogant and you can see where that culture comes from.


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