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Seven rogue sales and lettings agencies expelled by Ombudsman

No fewer than seven estate and lettings agencies have been expelled from The Property Ombudsman scheme today.

Most of them are now in liquidation, and expulsion from TPO means they become ineligible to join any other redress scheme. 

In theory this means even the non-liquidated agencies should be unable to operate.

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Most have been expelled for failing to pay compensatory awards. They are:

- PrinvestUK Ltd, a sales agent in Knaphill, Surrey. TPO received 58 complaints against this agent, 45 of which were supported with awards totalling £215,330. PrinvestUK Ltd is currently being liquidated and The Insolvency Service is carrying out an investigation.

- Whirlybird Property, a sales and lettings agent in Maidenhead, Berkshire. This agent failed to pay an outstanding award of £4,042 in relation to a complaint from a landlord over the transfer of rent despite proof it had been paid by the tenant. Trading Standards has confirmed that Whirlybird Property is no longer trading and is going into liquidation.

- Deerstone Property, a sales agent in Guildford, Surrey. In a complaint against Deerstone, TPO found it had not provided a service consistent with best practice when marketing properties for sale and an award of £2,000 was made. Although this agent appears to no longer be trading, there is a connection to Deerstone Group Ltd which is still trading and which appears to have no redress.

- Chaplin Bond Business Sales Specialists, a commercial sales agent in Bolton, Manchester. Sellers complained that the agent had not marketed the property properly and ceased trading without telling them. TPO made an award of £1,500. There is no evidence to suggest Chaplin Bond Business Sales Specialists are still trading and its website is inactive.

- Experience Invest, a sales, lettings and commercial agent in Victoria, London. A complaint against them came from a landlord over non-payment of assured rent. The case was supported with an award of £2,000. Experience Invest has placed a note on its website stating they have closed the company and ceased trading.

- The Buy2Let Shop, a residential buying agent in Bromley, Kent. An award of £4,600 remains outstanding following a complaint relating to the purchase of an off-plan property. The Buy2Let Shop, which is no longer trading and in administration, has a connection to E Property Sales Ltd, sharing the same Director.

E Property Sales Ltd, also a residential buying agent in Bromley, Kent, has been excluded for non-payment of a £5,900 award in a supported case where the buyer was seeking reimbursement of fees paid after the sellers withdrew. Despite liquidation on Companies House, E Property Sales Ltd appears to have an active website.

All agents failed to pay awards made and were referred to TPO’s independent Compliance Committee, which ruled that they should be excluded from The Property Ombudsman scheme. 

However, TPO says it’s important to reference that overall, 98 per cent of Ombudsman awards are complied with and these cases present a small minority that failed to do so.

As part of TPO’s process, notification of these expulsions have been shared with all relevant bodies, including both Local and National Trading Standards for further investigation.

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