Estate agents and local newspaper hit with £775,000 bill in ‘cartel’ case

A group of estate agents, three of its members and newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror have been fined more than £775,000 between them after a ‘cartel’ ruling.

The Competition and Markets Authority said it is looking at similar alleged conduct involving agents across the UK.

The cartel, in and around the small town of Fleet in Hampshire, will cost one of the agents, Hamptons International and its parent company Countrywide, up to £690,000.

Three Counties Estate Agents, plus three of its member agents – Castles, Hamptons International and Waterfords – are all being penalised.

Trinity Mirror Southern which publishes the Surrey & Hants Star Courier is also being fined.

All had breached competition law, said the Competition and Markets Authority.

Castles, Hamptons and Waterfords had entered into an agreement which prevented members of the Three Counties Association from advertising their fees or discounts in the Courier.

Waterfords and Hamptons had extended the scope of this arrangement, with the co-operation of the newspaper, to prevent any agents at all, including non-members of the Association, from advertising their fees or discounts.

The CMA launched its investigation at the end of 2013, saying that these arrangements reduced competitive pressure on estate and letting agents’ fees in and around Fleet.

In addition, it said, the restrictions may have made it harder for potential competitors to enter the market because they were unable to advertise their fees to attract new customers.

The CMA also alleged that these practices potentially limited consumers’ choices and obstructed their ability to compare prices and value for money.

Following the companies’ admission to having made such arrangements, the CMA said it intends to issue an infringement decision around the end of April.

Ann Pope, CMA senior director of anti-trust enforcement at the CMA, said: “These companies have admitted to making arrangements which aimed to reduce competition on fees and could have made it harder for new and innovative businesses to compete. The parties have also agreed to pay significant fines.

“This case again demonstrates the CMA will take action in local markets as well as big national ones.

“It also shows that, where infringements take place within the context of trade associations, both the members of the association and the association itself can be found to have breached the law. This can result in severe financial penalties for the members, even where the association itself has limited funds.

“The CMA has received complaints of potentially similar conduct concerning alliances of estate and lettings agents and local newspapers in other geographic locations across the UK.

“This may result in further investigations into similar restrictions, regardless of the size of company involved, particularly if they take no steps to remove such restrictions in light of the present investigation.”

Castles will pay a fine of £19,275 to which a discount of 10% will be applied if it observes the terms of settlement, giving a penalty of £17,348.

Hamptons is being fined £690,317, which could reduce to £621,285. Countrywide itself will pay £414,190 of the fine, reducing to £372,771.

Waterfords will pay £51,693, reducing to £46,524.

Three Counties will pay £100, reducing to £90.

Trinity Mirror Southern will pay £101,397, reducing to £91,257.

A spokesperson for Countrywide said: “Hamptons International confirms that it has agreed a settlement with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in relation to arrangements involving its branch in Fleet and two other local estate agents, Waterfords and Castles.

“The arrangements related to the Three Counties Estate Agents Association which was formed to negotiate preferential advertising rates in a local newspaper. This association was set up in 2005.

“Hamptons International was not involved in the association when it was set up and its later involvement was only through the local branch manager.

“Hamptons management was not aware that the arrangements included a restriction on advertising fees. We have cooperated fully with the CMA throughout its investigation and the practice of restricting the advertising of fees has been stopped.”

Waterfords declined to comment.

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44 Comments

  1. danny

    Wow, competitions authority look into agents entering into something en masse that reduces consumer choice and issues huge fines ….

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    1. hardly impartial

      wow, indeed- Danny connects this to OTM it seems….a lawyer and an estate agent no less. Pilot’s license too?

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      1. danny

        Sorry.., who mentioned  OTM?

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        1. hardly impartial

          oh, that wasn’t a reference? ok sorry- thanks for the 2 line  summary of the story. handy public service.

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          1. PP

            Right move stopped me advertising my 1% commission is this the same issue, could it have something to do with Connells, who are my next door neighbours owning part of it.

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    2. Robert May

      Morning Danny, I  re-posted my  (mid thread) question to you on the bottom of the  Zoopla attacks story  but Eye software posted the post 14 posts up so you won’t have seen it. In a way it connects with this story as I have a something that makes the whole OOP rule of no  value or consequence and certainly a development  that pulls the rug from anyone even considering an email or letter to CMA.
      In a competitive industry where even AM members are competing openly for instructions it is the vendors choice whether they instruct an agent with a wide or  narrow internet marketing policy. While  76% of the industry isn’t AM there really isn’t any point  poking that particular wasp nest with a stick. It is great for point scoring on Eye or EAT but in the real world each camp uses that  one point  to its advantage as best it can to win instructions.

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      1. EHenderson

        Robert – that is fine where the consumer has a choice. In areas where 40% or more agents ‘clubbed’ together, the CMA could take a dim view…

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        1. RealAgent

          Gosh EH thats got me rattled; a dim view you say.

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        2. Robert May

          Given that in some areas the united colours of Countrywide are 80% dominant,  the consumers choice is already fairly limited. Add then the other 19% going Agents Mutual and the consumer is given a double duopoly to contend with.
          I am really glad you have finally engaged with me. I genuinely would like your  insight and input into a project I am working on that hopefully makes all this discussion irrelevant. I have a beta  system  built and being tested. It is  (other peoples words  not mine) going to change the dynamic of the industry for the better.
          You are informed, smart and logical and fight your corner well I would be so grateful if you would contact me via Ros.  (Everyone who has done so has remained anonymous)

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      2. danny

        Hi Robert, thanks for the post . It is intersting but as someone has already pointed out where agents are taking a similar route dor mutual benefit in a small area , much like the story above the national coverage of any particular brand doesn’t matter. Are you saying that if OTM only had 25% nationwide and the whole of Shropshire for example for together and said we will all just use that than the CMA would think that’s oK.

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        1. RealAgent

          Well can I suggest you are not the one to raise the complaint Danny as it would take them at least 6 months just to work out which words were substituted for which in your submission!

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        2. Robert May

          The important bit of Agent’s Mutual is not OTM. They could turn it off tomorrow if they wanted to and it would not harm  the AM project at all.   It is not just AM members who are benefiting from what Ian Springett has pulled together; every independent Agent now has a choice. I really do doubt whether the CMA are going to bee too worried about a whole county being  dominated by AM while it can be shown that  corporate Agency is almost as big in branch numbers as AM. AM are not stopping new Agencies from opening up.
          If I was daft enough to build a new portal I could argue that the  AM policy in your example was working against my business. When I was doing consultancy for LPI  AM membership made it harder to beta test that portal but it didn’t stop me listing more property  there than is now uploaded to OTM.
          Genuinely I wouldn’t spend too much time thinking about it, AM  are your old competitors but now with a different entry in their accounts ledger.  OTM subscription  replacing  Zoopla or in a few cases Rightmove. It is up to the AM sales machine to overcome your objections but at 24% penetration they aren’t even close to being a CMA consideration  from an Agency perspective however they are vulnerable to a challenge from about  90 other micro and niche portals who have had their  stock decimated at the whim of the AM reps who around here have told some that Radarhomes is  OK to list with and told others it isn’t.

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  2. M Barnard

    Am I right in thinking that Rightmove don’t allow Agents to promote fees on adverts on their site? Indirectly is that a similar thing to this case?

     

    No doubt there will be plenty said about OTM’s ‘one other portal’ rule. I’ll leave that to others!

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    1. EHenderson

      You are absolutely right. No doubt they will use this now to argue that fee advertising is allowed and launch a new product to support it! At least I know where my next rate rise is coming from!

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    2. ElTel

      My thoughts entirely.  I see no difference from RM not allowing agents to promote fees or discounts and the actions of Trinity Mirror. Explain please CMA!

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  3. PP

    Right move stopped me advertising my 1% commission is this the same issue, could it have something to do with Connells, who are my next door neighbours owning part of it.

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    1. Trevor Mealham

      Connells sold their shares in RM a good few years ago. Im guessing that RM’s action didn’t stop any agent from joining – just stopped a comm war message. If RM had stopped you being on their in favour of other agents for no real reason – then they could be seen as any portal to be anti some and not other agents.  But they didn’t.

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  4. Jimbo

    I think there is a big investigation in Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield starting as well.

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  5. Trevor Mealham

    The Estate Agents Act runs along the lines of acting in the clients best interest. So if a manager or neg thinks their MD or companies policies are not in the clients best interest, then managers or negs not doing what would be in a clients best interest would be in breach.

    No commercial service provider to agents should have rules in place that compromise UK statute in the way agents operate.

    We often here quoted that 90% of property search starts online, yet OTM ban online only agents. Some other portals or marketing outlets could today benefit agents clients due to greater web visits or other function such as B2B.

    Bosses should not restrain staff from other commercial practices that could knowingly help clients and consumers.

    Fact is many consumers are unlikely to know regulations and as such we need CMA and Trading Standards etc to police a fair market place.

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    1. RealAgent

      Well bring on the workers rising up and overthrowing their bosses. I have been on this planet nearly half a century and I don’t think I have read so much utter tripe in all my days!!!!!!!!

       

       

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      1. RealAgent

        I don’t normally get angry but I have to say Trevor you’ve done it today. This post will be removed I am sure, but you are seriously the biggest pillock I have ever seen comment on these pages!

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        1. Trevor Mealham

          @Real Agent – I’m sorry I offend you. But away from name calling – regulations and statute are in place in the industry – I’m simply giving a view based on facts, having a better than average understanding of the EA Act, CPRs and BPRs

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          1. RealAgent

            Oh please, there is absolutely no basis for your statement whatsoever and you know it. The absurdity of what you said is staggering. Estate Agency staff should be reporting their bosses and employers for having joined a property portal. Even as I retype it I am actually suffering a loss of words!!!

            Can you please do me a favour and post a few minutes ahead of the fact you are about to say something that way I can at least pop out for a bit and gloss past your drivel when I return.

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            1. Trevor Mealham

              @ Real Agent – check out this link:
              http://www.cimaglobal.com/Documents/ImportedDocuments/The_estate_agency_guide_jan06.pdf

              OFT has now gone and Trading Standards police.

              the Estate Agents Act 1979 and regulations … purpose is to make sure that you act in the best interests of your clients

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            2. Trevor Mealham

              @Real Agent – I’m not saying that staff should drop their bosses in it. I’m simply saying that bosses who insist staff drop – marketing that they honestly feel would achieve more, are making their staff compromise clients best interest in line with the 79 EAA.

              Such actions could fire back on staff

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          2. RealAgent

            Oh my goodness Trevor I take it all back you are right, Ive just checked and there are 3 estate agents serving 15 to life at Belmarsh for having advertised on OTM!

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            1. Trevor Mealham

              @Real Agent – Yes – nearly funny 🙂

              and fortunately not factually right…..

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              1. RealAgent

                Thank you Trevor, I know the act. I could continue  with this all day but to be honest it would be akin to trying to have a sane conversation with a mad man.

                I will just add that it appears you feel the need to like your own comments a few times otherwise there are more people out there that you may need to make room for in that padded cell.

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                1. Trevor Mealham

                  @Real Agent – Thank you – Going from being called a Pillock to Trevor is a plus 🙂

                  No – its not me clicking the liking or dislikes. Don’t forget INEA has many agents – so from time to time I guess some members like what I’m saying. I’m sure I get a few dislikes too.

                  As for the padded cell – I’ll put the kettle on, your more than welcome to join us mad guys and gals. The nice guys in white suits are always quite pleasant and will show you to us.

                  Have a great weekend

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          3. RealAgent

            Shall I also save you the trouble and dislike my own comments for you….twice!?!

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            1. Trevor Mealham

              I’ve broken my rule and given you a like. Have a Sat and Sun.

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  6. wilko

    Danny…..as I was reading this I knew you would be as keen as mustard to relate this story to your favourite subject – so shall we look at the worst case scenario if OTM are found to be operating a “cartel”.

    Firstly Onlinies would be allowed to advertise…..How many actually would come on and would it spell the start of the end for OTM?

    Secondly the 1 other rule would have to go……Not sure how many of those who dumped Z for otm would go back to Z?, and if people advertised on all 3 would that then spell the start of the end of Otm?.

    Some might argue that these two rulings would actually strengthen OTM further by swelling their stock/membership even more?

    Oh and the fines would be affordable when you consider the founder agents.

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    1. danny

      Ha Wilko, I didn’t relate anything , others assumed . I am genuinely interested to see what happens . My view is that OTM drop the one other portal rule soon any way. They’ve launched , haven’t really got much traction and are missing out on property from people like me … I’ve said it before , I would advertise but I won’t be told what to do and where to put my property . Springett has said they had to have a one other portal rule otherwise no-one would bother going to three sites , well guess what … Looking at the figures that hasn’t worked very well. I also wouldn’t sign into any agreement that binds me with the mutual . If this does go south do you think the founders would settle any fines , after all they have done so much charity work previously setting it all up for the good of the industry, I’m sure they would just hand over the cash  😉

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  7. Ric

     

    I am still trying to understand what a consumer is……. in terms of this whole comparison to the above story and any hit out at AM/OTM.

    For me a consumer is someone who pays for a service.

    Aren’t “we” the agents actually the “consumer” of OTM and the public simply its “users”.

    So basically the “consumers” of the portals (us) now have an extra choice where to list our properties; the business model of OTM is simply designed to offer an alternative for agents who want to break free from the duopoly or in some cases mine add to the coverage without having to chose Z.

    The “users” (public/house hunters/sellers/buyers call em what you will) can still visit ALL of these sites, so no harm done to them and BEFORE you jump in; the users who YES are potentially the agents consumers, can and will instruct the agent who covers the portal(s) they want to be on.

    If they want to be on all 3 portals well they can’t – just like before with me, if you wanted RM&Z I was not the right agent as I was only on RM. Now if they want RM and not OTM I will click don’t upload to OTM, but why would they?

    More for Trevor this one; But if the public are to rule what agents do in terms of advertising as a “we must do what’s in the clients best interest rubbish” the stuff Trevor harps on about quoting regulatory wording without common sense, will I have to advertise everywhere, 24/7, multi list with all agents, pay for TV coverage, pay for EVERY web portal who sets up, basically never say NO to anyone who asks for a marketing method?

    When Trevor is a line drawn for a company to decide on its advertising expenditure in surviving. Do I need to move my office to the other corner of the road because more people walk past than where it is now?

    Trevor is Online Agency is wrong? After all, what for the people who have no internet connections how can they see the properties advertised with them? (certainly not in the best interest is it, if these people are not being marketed to?) Sorry Online Only agents, that was more for Trevor to pass opinion (there is a place for you in my opinion) but my point is what business will ever claim “NOTHING more could be done”?

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    1. wilko

      Some very concise and interesting points. Hope it isn’t too late in the day to get some other opinions on your post.

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      1. Ric

        Thanks Wilko, I had stayed out of this one – but similar to RealAgent Trevor starts with his “Best interests of the client” stuff without remembering NO Agency will ever satisfy they are doing everything.

        In the best interest of the client is typically the same goal as every agency out there….. we work on a no sale no fee, so , what better “do our best for the client” does no sale no fee provide.

        Unless obviously agency business goals are – lets not sell houses! anyway I look forward to Trevor telling me how my business has fluked the last 25 years without being closed down.

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  8. Jonnie

    So, Hamptons get the last 3 or 4 (or add your estimate here) years profit they scrapped out of a very dull Hampshire town wiped out, the Mirror get a slap on the face……. Don’t they support the Labour Party and that Agent Bothering hound of an MP that wants to ban rental fees? And all the hateful / semi bust snot ball agents in the town can now ***** themselves out with the predictably dull and desperate promo .01% full page ‘last hurrah’ ads people like them do? Brilliant, all for three quarters of a million quid! Nice work if you can get it – Jonnie

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  9. Trevor Mealham

    @ Ric – Ric I was an agent from 1986 for two and a half decades. Since Ive been involved in estate agency tech. Done many renovations and BTL. Plus attend many gov body consultations on res property consultations. I am very pro good agents and good agency.

    The consumer is seen as Joe Public. Agents to portals, be they RM, Z or OTM or even INEA is B2B (BPR’s). Consumer to agents is CPR’s. Agents also have consumer duties that come under obligations in the (79) Estate Agents Act.

    In the 79 EAA there are obligations such as putting offers forward, how consumers and buyers and sellers etc are handled – AND all hinges around acting in THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CLIENT (CONSUMER).

    So when an agent acts for a consumer, the 79 EAA and other regulation lays out rules agents must abide.

    For a portal, body (agent services provider) to make their own rules that a neg or manager may feel compromises the best they could be doing under their managers/directors/MD’s instruction – could (I feel) be compromising agency staffs, stance.

    If entities create rules and agents support the cause, then its likely to be to gain by restraining others. The cost to pay could be as in the story reported.

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  10. Trevor Mealham

    Yes – public can still visit all sites – but if not all agents are allowed in, then public can’t see all stock (in a single place, as that place may be restraining rest of market agents).

    Also no agent who doesn’t do A N Other service, is unlikely to tell Jo Public that a compromise to achieving a best price, fastest sale is happening. CMA are independent and are there to protect the public, due to the publics ignorance.

    Sorry you feel its not ‘common sense‘ Ric. But I just comment based on my understanding of the facts and legislation.

    And the answer is NO – you wouldn’t have to advertise everywhere. Just where you want and to be honest about how that relates.

    If you said to a client you do Z and OTM, and commented ‘Together the two are better than RM‘  would that be misleading the consumer. If you honestly felt less web hits was better, or A N Other reason, then fine.

    The regulation I harp on about on the whole can be shortened to a need to be fair and honest.

    Online Agency – I don’t know many agents who are not online. The real big difference is Budget vs traditional (and by traditional I don’t mean just bricks and mortar. There are now many traditional operatives who may do old fashioned subbing, but don’t have a Hg St office. To me traditional agents may be more expensive, but personally I feel traditional online + office or traditional online only is way better than budget agency.

    And on a final – Ric – 25 years ago agents didn’t do web. In many ways I think agency was a much better place back then.

    All said tech can be used to enhance the old bits that were good. The trouble with agency is that its made up of front/back end agency + legislation + tech. 3 very different industries in one.

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    1. Ric

      Forgive any errors in this, lots going on around me….. this morning.

      Trevor I am pretty much entering my 23rd year of estate agency next month at 40 years old! (no boast and I am sure not as long as many on here) But still over half my life selling/marketing property! So give up on the “when I were a lad” cr4p. I am as old fashioned as they come and as tech smart & hungry as the best of them, so really no need to explain how the industry has evolved.

      I have worked through the best of both worlds at an age where technology still excites me BUT old fashioned values are vital and never I have taken my off the simple factor that “if we do not sell we do not get paid” I tell my clients day in and day out “I want your money, as much of it as I can get and as quickly as I can get it” My company has more thank you cards than most Hallmark Shops.

      YOU are the whole new breed of problem for the industry in my opinion! Agents have always offered different levels of service including where they do or don’t advertise compared to the next agent, I can’t imagine anyone on here would like your angle in suggesting that a below management staff member could (which usually leads to should) influence action against their employee due to who the company decides to advertise with and support as a business. Especially when said staff member is getting paid month in month out no doubt and not the one taking the risks as the business owners do.

      I mean YOU being the problem in seemingly promoting action or the thought of action from staff within a company against the owners. I like the industry being regulated, I like CPR and loved HIPS oddly, everything was more streamlined and open, less fall throughs etc. So do not take my comments as me wanting a “any tom dick or harry” industry.

      My issue Trevor or where you wind me up is the notion ANY agent is not doing their best for their client WE ALL ARE no matter the size or type of agency. I bet you buy shares in every “where there is a blame there is a claim company” as indeed regulation in particular if you take CPR or BPR means I could technically win a case against EVERY company out there if you look at each and every clause. Not many companies can claim they are not currently doing something to breech a regulation.

      Also I did not say “Online Agency” I always make a point of saying “Online Only” so back to my question, what for the easypeasyproperty employee who wants to take Stelios to court because they rightly feel not having a High Street office is putting their clients at risk of missing the “non internet savvy” clients, especially those who have advertised on easypeasyproperty/RM&Z now for 6 months without success. Simple fact is that employee is technically right isn’t he/she?

      OTM’s consumers are US the Estate Agents (as per the definition) The consumer is the one who pays to consume goods and services produced. You are just reading regulations and trying to find a way to put companies under more and more pressure.

      Why not apply some time championing Estate Agents and look at which breech of the regulation is it that our industry are not entitled to Business Rate Relief on High Street Offices (Is it fair I am treat differently to the shoe shop next door) This for me is something far more pressing than which combo of portals I use for my clients.

      Anyway Trevor, hope you see, I have no issue with regulation BUT the way in which some people promote it bugs me…..

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  11. Trevor Mealham

    @ Ric,

    Hi Ric, Question??

    What was the first few things that you learnt all those 23 years ago. Some of the key bits will have stuck with you, and pre the internet, some lessons or skills are as important today as back then.

    I’m really not for staff dropping management in the fire. Equally, management should not create a working platform that breaks the rules. Its a dangerous place.

    I hope im part of the solution and not the problem. There are bits of legislation Ive voiced agents opinions on that have been adopted. All I’d say help agents, rather than hinder.

    I have to disagree – NOT all agents are doing their best. There are also models that gain big backers (with £m’s behind them) and roll out tech based on cheap, rather than service. Some of these ‘new models’ harm traditional agency. *Using my knowledge and contacts I often highlight ‘anti’ agent models and try and get some closed or changed. By doing so we eradicate some challenge models, for the sake that under UK law – some fall foul of trading legally.

    ? Have you ever thought why some big companies have staff compliance – its not the directors who lose their entities, but often a manager who was told to sign off training, yet was pushed personally too far. The result is some neg or manager gets sacked.

    Bigger companies or big VC’s will often push closer to the reg lines, they have more at risk, so inbuild security. Staff can be replaced mindset. ……

    OTM – RM – Z – INEA – NAEA – RICS etc etc. We are all service providers. Its the agency bosses who decide to join or not. On their bus is their staff. Some service providers will provide refreshments – some seat belts. But no service provider should provide an unsafe journey. Agents service consumers, agents use a variety of tools to do their job, be it portals, softwares etc etc. But service providers should ensure that their agents can do their job fairly and lawfully. Not add conditions that suit service providers to compromise an agents fairness or ability to do their job and comply with the laws of the land.

    At times the law is an ass. But the only way to change ass laws – is to get involved at government level. ie the law maker and breakers.

    I can claim 4-5 bits of legislation Ive helped highlight where changes have helped the smaller to medium sized agents. I’m really not one of the bad guys.

    As for your business rates. I had the same arguments with my own offices (years ago 🙂  I felt it most unfair Iceland, TESCO and others paid a fraction compared to my own outlets. And charity shops – paid ****** all. But thats an issue for you locally.

    My roll now is pioneering the way property data can be moved about B2B. In regulation you can find the words ‘sub agent’ – its something that took us 18 months to have accepted in B&W.

    We also got heavily involved with CPR’s and wanted the OFT (now Trading Standards) to accept there should be a line between what an agent is and what a passive model is. All to help protect what an agent is and to help stop passive models coming in offering other services to be able to be cheap and upset traditional agents revenue.

    You may remember a little supermarket about 8 years ago (hint, has a ‘T’ in it) came in with a FSBO model. It was me who raised concerns and pushed parts of the 79 EAA into the argument. 6 weeks later they w/d their model as at the time PMA held fines of £5k per offence.

    Im there for the proper agents – I hate budget and I hate passive models abusing the web to create cheap models that harm agents. But due to legislation there are angles INEA often uses to raise questions. Often we win.

    To me – portals are nothing more than sub agents (but not in lawful definition). Portals also use agents mass content in a single place to be more powerful than any singular agency brands.  If the way data flows remodels, agents can do much more B2B – by changing tech and collaboration and in guides of the law.

    In 2000 a data schema was released that by design helped split agents B2B. Since then the web has grown and the schema mass adopted. It could be better.

    1.1m agents collaborate in the USA daily. By changing tech and the law agency can be better. But portals and portal clones and restraints to accessing more of what agents need – properties – isn’t the way

    Entities, bodies or portals that create rules/Cartels don’t open up the potential that agents could really flourish by.

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    1. Property Pundit

      This post should be an article on PIE in its own right. Hope most visitors get this far down the thread.

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    2. Ric

      Trevor, 23 years ago (actually well before) I was taught to respect people, do the right thing, follow rules, listen and try MY best. (If something felt wrong, don’t do it was always my view) ALL of these views I have carried through my life.

      Rules & regulations are there to be followed “hopefully” for the good of the consumer. I get all that AS SAID BEFORE – But sometimes JUST sometimes there is an element of “Does it really matter” and I think OTM is a clear case of “does it really matter”.

      You are right because you will say “Xagent wants to be on RM/Z & OTM but cannot because of the restrictive rule” ….. so there you go, you are right!

      Fight for this Trevor YOU champion a change in the rule and lets open the doors to all agents on OTM/RM&Z and drop the rule…… THEN we can try and find a way around the hurdle that is the Corps and wealthier of the Agents spending on all 3 portals or the budget agents who pay a lot less in running costs continue to push the notion of “we are on all 3 and that’s all you need” In the meantime lot of good agents can have a tough time trying to keep up.

      I reckon there are a few (non OTM agents) on here who deep down are glad there is a “one other rule” as 3 monsters out there could be a night mare.

      But when you sit back and look at your example of a “Negotiator feeling his/her manager/MD is stopping them by their choices to support businesses which have restrictive rules” then oh my THAT is the bit which rattles me…. I can hear your TV ad campaign “Is your boss holding you back – Call BashUrBossClaims.con”!

      Although I have a staff member who wants me OFF RM as RM will not allow me to advertise my new “0.25% fee with Inc VAT deal” AND they will not allow me to say “We sold this in 24 hours” and they will not allow me to add a “get Mortgage Advice on this property” tag! All very restrictive my staff think and rightly so!

      Lots of business have rules which may be restrictive, but when it is B2B rules I think common sense should apply, but perhaps a poll by EYE on would you go on ALL 3 if you could! (If that rule was dropped the rule and they let everyone on; once OTM have a good 85% to 90% stock we could then promote to the current supporting agents they drop RM and then hopefully leave RM in a right old pickle, with OTM at 85% and RM at perhaps only 70% or so!)

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  12. Trevor Mealham

    Hi Ric – just leaving a response to let you know I came back as I’m interested in what your saying.

    Unfortunately, as Ive said direct to some of the rule makers and breakers. Its not the agents who are the main worry, but those who don’t take note of the rules and do their own thing – which is UNFAIR to those like yourself and other fair play agents – who do play fair.

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