Agents’ Mutual has been ordered to make further payments into court as the legal battle with Gascoigne Halman continues.
Agents’ Mutual has already paid £1m into court regarding the case, due to be heard in February.
Gascoigne Halman was an early supporter of Agents’ Mutual and remains a Gold member, still listing on OnTheMarket. However, after its acquisition by Connells last year, it briefly listed on Zoopla before returning to OTM, as OTM sought to enforce its contract, including the ‘one other portal’ clause. Connells has a shareholding in Zoopla. We reported it here
At the weekend, Gascoigne Halman issued this statement: “Gascoigne Halman notes that the Competition Appeal Tribunal last week ordered Agents’ Mutual to make a further payment into court of £830k to cover its legal costs in the event that Gascoigne Halman succeeds in the legal action being taken against it by Agents’ Mutual.
“This, together with an additional £450k also ordered to be paid into court in respect of a separate but related action, means that Agents’ Mutual will have paid into Court over £2m by year end.
“Agents’ Mutual also stated to the court that their own legal costs will exceed £2m.
“Gascoigne Halman is committed to defending its position and is confident that the Competition Appeal Tribunal will uphold its right to advertise on portals of its choice.
“As a Gold member of OnTheMarket, Gascoigne Halman is extremely disappointed that Agents’ Mutual has chosen to divert over £4m of its members’ loan notes and subscriptions away from its marketing activities when they would surely be better employed for the benefit of its members.”
It is thought that the other action referred to in the statement relates to Cardiff-based independent Moginie James, which also continues to list at OnTheMarket.
Last night, a spokesperson for Agents’ Mutual said: “It is standard procedure to provide such security for costs in such cases and to ‘fortify’ financially such undertakings.
“The funds would only be payable in the event that we were unsuccessful in the legal cases.
“The board and management team of Agents’ Mutual have at every stage of the company’s inception and development taken appropriate legal advice.
“We remain satisfied that the company has operated within the law and are committed to defending our position in the interests of the broad membership by taking appropriate action to ensure that agents meet their contractual obligations and by challenging the allegation of misrepresentation in relation to pricing policy.”