The letting agency says it started legal proceedings against the software provider on the basis that they had mis-sold their “flagship” software product and that it was inherently defective.
“Our agency had sued the software provider for £5,000 for time wasted and for lost business as a direct result of what we alleged was a defective product,” said a company spokesperson.
The software provider has settled the claim for an undisclosed amount, and will not be named as part of the agreement.
The Key One Property spokesperson explained: “We had taken on the software product late last year after very detailed and thorough research. The supplier claimed that the software was “simple and intuitive” and we
had confirmed with them that it would provide clear and transparent statements for our clients.
“However, once singed up, the supplier presented us with days’ worth of training, and it became clear that the software was complex and far from “simple and intuitive”. We struggled for weeks just to produce statements for our clients and ultimately failed to do so. This was in part due to the unnecessary layers of complexity within the
product, but also because of an inherent defect which they failed to disclose, namely that we could not transfer landlord’s balances for individual properties into their system.
“Transparency for any management agent is absolutely critical; we are in effect like a bank. We collect client’s money and transfer that to them less fees and expenses and it is vital that statements are produced in a timely and transparent manner. The supplier really failed to understand this and despite almost constant contact with them to try and resolve the issues, they were simply unable to do so.
“Not being able to produce statements or even to be able to pay a client what they are due was eroding the credibility and trust with our clients; trust that we had worked very hard to build up over many years. We had to resort to time-consuming spreadsheets as an emergency alternative to ensure that we paid our clients the right amount of money on time.
“We wrongly thought that by going with one of the country’s biggest suppliers that we would have a good product with good support, but we were badly let down. The supplier failed to understand their customer base and failed to understand the important of the transparency of client funds.
“We wasted a lot of staff time on the product and frustratingly lost some business as a direct result of the software’s failures. After around one month trying to make the software work, we were forced to abandon it and end the contract prematurely. The supplier accepted the reason for ending the contract early, but when we requested
compensation, they resolutely ignored us.”
“The supplier continued to ignore our communications for several months. Only when we commenced legal proceedings did they eventually start communicating with us regarding our claim. At first, they attempted to pressurise us into dropping the claim, even stating that “this could get very expensive for you”. However, we were confident that a court would find that the supplier had mis-sold us a defective product and refused to drop proceedings.
“Eventually the supplier made an offer of compensation which was accepted by this agency and legal proceedings were ceased.
“Software suppliers to the lettings/management industry really need to understand their customers better and build packages around the customer and not what they think looks good. In our research we found too many suppliers had failed to deliver a core elements of required software, focussing instead on secondary, less important features.
“We are not disclosing the name of the supplier as the settlement was confidential.”