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“Rip off” portal accused of charging for branch that has closed

An agent is defying attempts by a property portal to get him to pay subscriptions for two branches - because he says he has only one.

Ian King of Humberstones Homes in the West Midlands has contacted Estate Agent Today on several occasions in recent months, including details of invoices from OnTheMarket showing - amongst other things - a Humberstones branch that he closed.

King says he is still being charged for his long-closed Bearwood office because of “small print in the original [OTM] listing agreement.” 


The dispute has been going on for some months, with King providing evidence to OTM that the second branch no longer operates. 

Other portals accept that he has only one office and charge him accordingly, and King says OTM’s fees are now as expensive as Rightmove’s and higher than Zoopla’s.

In correspondence this week King tells OnTheMarket: “As discussed with yourselves I will not be paying for an office that doesn’t exist anymore so £354 will be what I pay hereon in.

“I have made my feelings clear by email and on social media – do not rip me off for two offices when I don’t have two anymore. You can quote whatever sub clause you want. You will get £354 for the duration of the term and nothing else. If you continue this harassment I will be cancelling at the end of the term too.”

A representative of OTM’s credit control team responds, thanking him for the email and saying: “I have noted your comments but must inform you that we will continue the chase process as per the contract.”

King retaliates with a response urging OTM to “chase away” because he will not pay.

He adds: “I’m sure the shareholders will be ecstatic knowing that all the agents are jumping ship at the end of their contracts due to the highly unprofessional and inflexible nature of OnTheMarket.”

Yesterday evening a spokesperson for OnTheMarket told EAT: “We do not comment on the specifics of our agents’ contracts.”  

  • Mike Heath

    Worst company I have ever dealt with. Total scam from the start

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    'Challenger' portals really shouldn't behave like this.

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    Disgusting behaviour! They should be a leading example but seem to be getting as dirty as Rightmove.

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    I so much regret being a member now. It defeats the object . I only joined onthemarket because the others were doing the very same thing onthemarket is doing now.

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    "Give a person an arm and they'll take your leg." is what comes to mind. It's just pure greed, they're on the stock mark they have shareholders to please so they're going to sell you out even if they technically do scam you.

    How could you not see this from day one? They were going to offices raising thousands of pounds in the back of the hate of RightMove. You all supported them and made another mini monster, basically RightMove's 3 year old baby.


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    • 22 January 2020 16:19 PM

    Is there not a possibility that listings can be placed for free with facebook?
    I have started looking at what properties facebook lists for rent and sale.
    Facebook seems to offer all that the major web portals offer but at zero cost for all protaganists.
    Have I missed anything here or completely misunderstood how the market could operate for free with FB?


    Chip pan in to the furnace springs to mind. Facebook love YOUR data, probably more than RM, Zoo & OTM combined.

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    When intelligent business people sign contracts surely they read them first, you wouldn't accept if tenant said I'm not paying rent because I moved out when in contract, or a vendor saying I'm not paying you because I've moved now.

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    • 22 January 2020 19:44 PM

    Yep agreed about the personal data.................... But I don't care!
    As long as I get free stuff I don't care if I am then sold stuff.
    I have the same deal with google.
    They have all my data and I don't care cos I get lots of free stuff.
    I don't care if they target ads at me.
    They are a business after all!
    Don't have to buy do I!!
    I ignore TV adverts by hitting the mute button!!!
    Nothing in life is free except if you are a benefit scrounger.

    If I can get free stuff like a free property portal to sell and buy properties and to let then I am not the slightest bit interested in FB having my personal data if they want it in exchange for free services.

  • Jill Redmayne

    Just wandered if anyone has a court date from Agents mutual. I have replied to their solicitors fees, stating I will not pay for the past 3 years after I give notice in November 2016. I signed on the promise from their business representative being a founder member no other agent joining after would pay less. I feel such a fool for believing . My competitors have had 12 months free advertising. My email jill@jillmooreselectproperties.co.uk

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    I am a big boy, grown up, read the contract and at that time had no thought in my mind I was going to close our second branch which we did for many reasons. There is alot to be said for doing the right thing. The right thing is to make a goodwill gesture to us and release us from the contract early. We have been paying for sales and lettings in two branches and we closed our second branch in October 2018. Without goodwill business is nothing. I am a gold member. I invested in the firm. Yes I have shares. As a shareholder my opinion this is unfair. OTM should not treat their clients in this way. Support agents who are having to take drastic measures to survive this period. This feels a very "corporate agency" way of handling a situation when many smaller independent agents who supported OTM from the very start need as much help as they can get. I'm genuinely trying not to sound all winey and a victim but it seems like they now are quite happy to stanby and continue to take money from the very agents they alegedly set out to help from the outset. Or was it a very clever marketing ploy from day 1.....certain people have made a large sums of money from the listing.....how much do those people now care about the small people who were there at the very begining who actually enabled OTM to get off the ground. Adapt to survive OTM need to adapt and to keep us agents on baord even at the expense of some lost revenue. I am looking at additonal expenditure of £15,500 for an office that is no longer trading until the contract ends. If I reoponed it in another company name no doubt it would be free!


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