The Property Ombudsman has warned agents that complaints about deposit replacement schemes could start coming in during the next six to nine months.
Property ombudsman Katrine Sporle said TPO’s consumer forum is frequently being asked to look at deposit replacement schemes.
Speaking at yesterday’s TPO conference, she said: “There are the start of murmurings that will get into a crescendo maybe in six or nine months of people saying they simply didn’t understand they were just being required to pay for the privilege of not paying a deposit.
“You need to make sure you are on top of what you are doing as complaints will come further down the line.”
She also urged agents to sort out issues regarding dual fees between themselves before charging and involving a consumer.
Sporle also revealed that it was not taking forward a mediation service it had been trialling for six months after it received just 72 referrals.
She said: “The level of referrals isn’t enough in the context of the 29,000 inquiries we receive.
“By the time people were coming to TPO it was too late, as there was already a stand-off with an agent.
“We need to get to consumers earlier if we want them to use mediation. We remain convinced that mediation is a good way forward.”
She said TPO was still keen to work with Mediator Network which provided the service.