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Estate agent charges
Not the most popular people in the world at the best of times but ‘my ones’ who shall remain nameless at this stage have really p@ss@d me off.
In brief – house put on market 18 months ago and went with an ‘up-market’ agent as they had, according to them, 17-18 buyers waiting for houses on my estate. We had a total of 3 viewings before the housing market turned crappy, none of the people had been on the ‘list’ prior to it being advertised in the local paper. In addition, one of our neighbours came round to tell us that he had found the house on the interent (this happened twice after a price reduction) with an asking price of £50k more than we agreed. It still isn’t sold and is currently ‘low-key’ with the agent.
We had now had 2 bills, the first 6 months ago for £250 and a more recent bill, which apparently includes the first, for over £500.
I’m not happy because :-
a.They lied initially re prospective buyers and we would have gone with an agent at a lower rate had we known
b. House was advertised at the wrong price
c. We have now been charged for their advertising boards – £80 when we were told they were free (charges are in the small print of contract however)
d. They are charging for advertising in newspapers we didn’t want or know about (again small print says £350 for advertising but we were told,’charged at cos’t)
There is more than this but they are relatively minor niggles.
I would, grudgingly, pay the first invoice to save hassle but the second one for an additional £250 has come out of nowhere and seems entirely unjustified.
Any advice on how to tell them to stick their invoice would be welcome.DownsmanFree Member
Leaving to one side the question of proportionality, i.e. is it worth the hassle!, I’d say:
1. It sounds like they induced you to contract with them on the basis of a misrepresentation as to the number of appropriate prospective purchasers on their books. If this is correct, you can claim to avoid the contract and/or to claim damages. Damages would be the fees plus other foreseeable loss. In your case, you might want to run a loss of opportunity argument, i.e. in going with them you lost out on purchasers with other agents. Always a bit speculative this one, not least as most house hunters will go to all the local agents.
2. This is a breach of your instruction to them as your agents. They will therefore have to account to you for damages caused by this. Again a bit speculative, but why not go for the profit on a sale you would otherwise have secured or the losses caused by no sale as it was marketed at too high a price.
3. If they told you there would be no fee for the boards, you can claim that this was either a misrepresentation or waiver of the terms of the contract or a ‘collateral contract’ that overrode terms of the main contract inconsistent with it.
4. As per 3.
Why not send off a letter to them about all of this. They’ll probably sue you in the county court for the unpaid fees but if it is less than £5k they are after you for can do this on the small claims so there oughtn’t to be any costs.
Thanks very much, that all makes sense.
The losses are potentially fairly large as their errors have potentially cost in the region of £60,000 as this is what the house has dropped in value since it was first put on the market, which was approximately 4 months before the market really slowed/slumped.JoeFree Member
I would never ever pay an agent up front in London. When i was an agent we were chasing the instructions…if they sell the property…fair enough. If they can’t sell it…
..they get nada.
My thoughts too Joe. Don’t mind paying for the photos as they were professionally done, or the advertising for that matter (in the paper we wanted the ad placed)……but advertising boards !!!!! I think not when they are charging 1% for sole agency.deadlydarcyFree Member
Jesus, I can’t believe they’re charging you. You can bet that in a market where the houses were flying, you wouldn’t be getting “interim” invoices. They’re just desperate to recoup some funds in a dead market.
I’d phone them, tell them to foxtrot oscar (politely) and if they want your money you’ll see them in court.
I know everyone here pretends to be a tough guy or gal but the only time I’ve ever used that line was with an estate agent who’d dicked me and mrs deadly around. It worked. Felt really nervous when I said it but never heard from them again.
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