More than 40 separate estate agencies have agreed to join forces to fund litigation against Agents Mutual, the owner of OnTheMarket, it has been claimed.
A statement from Iain White which arrived just after 6am this morning says that the agents believe they were misled over promises made on joining that their subscription fees would always be equal to, or lower than, members who joined at a later date.
It has now been suggested, claims White, that instead Agents’ Mutual have in fact been offering subscriptions at a much lower price, disadvantaging earlier members.
White, consultant to the estate agency industry and whose clients include Choices owned by Simon Shinerock, created the action group.
He said: “The response to our call to action from estate agents has been astonishing. To achieve our target funding in less than a week is a remarkable testament to the widespread disenfranchisement felt by many Agents Mutual members.
“We are now instructing Tollers LLP to act for the action group.
“However, this is just the beginning of the process, not the end. Many agents remain undecided about how to proceed and their support will add strength to the action group’s position.”
A spokesperson for OnTheMarket said: “While we by no means take it lightly that some agents are feeling ‘disenfranchised’, the broader context remains that the apparent supporters of Mr White’s ‘Action Group’ represent just over 1% of our agents. The overwhelming majority of our member agents remain wholly supportive of OnTheMarket.com and of our shared long-term commitment to build the best portal for consumers and agents alike.
“As for the instigation of legal action against Agents’ Mutual Limited for alleged misrepresentations made in relation to pricing policy, we have no reason to believe that there are any grounds for legal action.
“The board and management team of Agents’ Mutual have at every stage of the company’s inception and development taken suitable legal advice.
“We continue to take appropriate legal action to ensure that agents meet their contractual obligations.”