Estate agent to face trial after denying claims of falsely advertising properties

An estate agent will face trial over allegations he misled potential customers over the price of properties he sold.

Martin Hobbs, 42, who owned MPH Estate Agents in Millbrook, Cornwall, is alleged to have duped clients by falsely claiming to have sold properties for more than their sale value.

It is also claimed that he falsely advertised properties for sale that he was not representing and wrongly stated that others were under offer.

Hobbs, from Cawsand, Cornwall, appeared before Bodmin Magistrates Court on Thursday to face nine separate charges brought against him by trading standards.

The charges related to a campaign of dishonesty that Hobbs is alleged to have undertaken between February and April 2017.

Properties in question were advertised on his own website and on Rightmove, the court heard.

One charge read that in February he advertised on his website a three-bedroom apartment as sold when no sale had been arranged.

Then, later that month, Hobbs allegedly claimed a property had sold for £257,500 when it actually sold for £235,000.

According to the charge sheet, another charge claims that MPH put up a For Sale board outside a property that the firm had not been instructed on.

Another claims that a statement on the MPH website said that proper adverts could be “live on Rightmove . . . within minutes”. However, the charge alleges that MPH did not, and could not, advertise on Rightmove between early March and early September 2017.

Hobbs denied eight charges relating to ‘misleading actions’ and false information under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

The case was brought by Cornwall Council, which was represented by Kingsley Kent.

Hobbs was released on bail until his next hearing, at Truro Crown Court, on July 6.

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