The number of complaints to the Ombudsman for Estate Agents (OEA) rose by 41% to a total of 8,472 in 2006.
As a result, 586 cases were referred for formal review and resolution. 18% more than in 2005, though the largest number of complaints to the OEA occurred in 2002.
According to Ombudsman Christopher Hamer:
“When viewed against the number of house sale transactions in a year, frequently quoted at 1.2 million, the number is still thankfully small.”
Hamer warns against using estate agents who have not registered with the OEA:
“We have made it easy for agents to become full members as they register. Any who have not done so have made a conscious decision to ignore our OFT-approved Code of Practice. I urge consumers to continue to look for full member agents, the only businesses entitled to display the OEA logo. Consumers should ask why some agents have not committed to our Code and actively avoid them.”
The OEA found in the favour of complainants in 61% of cases, a figure which Hamer says is too high, given that these complaints should have been resolved by the estate agents own internal procedures.
The majority of complaints concerned bungled administration, followed by complaints about the fees and commissions charged for house sales. Other complaints included frustration that houses were not being sold quickly enough, as well as lack of communication.
Martin Charlick, MD of private house sale website told the BBC that a fifth of estate agents will be forced to close in the near future if they don’t improve their service:
“They have to stop lying to customers. They have to stop using completely unfair and unjustified contract terms, and they have to actually provide a service that is worth what they expect to charge.”
If you are fed up with using an estate agent, whether you are unhappy with the service or are looking for a fast house sale, a cash buyer like Molae Properties may be the answer.
While you may not receive the full market value of the house, you will avoid paying fees and commission to an estate agent and you will be able to sell your house much more quickly.