Property redress schemes come in for one-star bashing in TrustPilot reviews

Public confidence in both the property redress schemes looks to be at rock bottom, judging by reviews on TrustPilot.

Although there are only 17 reviews in total for both services, every single one is the lowest possible – one star.

One poster claims to have refused TPO’s offers on two occasions, taking legal advice instead, and winning ten times the sum offered in one case, and in another £2,600 when they had been offered £150.

A common theme is the questioning of their impartiality, with reviewers seeing the schemes as being funded by estate agents and therefore only representing agents.

It is also clear from some of the reviews that there is a job to be done in educating consumers.

For example, one reviewer complained that their agent required ID proof from seller and buyer. On taking this up with TPO, the reviewer was left believing this was not a legal requirement and “once the public give their certified IDs there is no control over what happens to it, ie data fraud or them selling your information on to third parties”.

The reviewer does not seem to have been told about anti-money laundering requirements.

Damning reviews appear to be commonplace across the wider ombudsman sector, with TPO not proving an exception.

There are just 13 reviews for TPO on Trustpilot but each one is highly critical.

The latest one is headed “Total waste of time and effort”.

The reviewer says that TPO took “far too long” to deal with her case.

Another, posted this month, complains that it took five months to deal with a simple complaint.

A third, also posted this month, complains of bias towards estate agents, and another poster questions whether the service is fair and impartial.

The Property Redress Scheme has just four reviews on Trustpilot, but again all are one-star ratings.

The latest, posted last month, says: “I am shocked they are allowed to operate.”

Another says: “Don’t waste your time with them, go legal.”

The Property Redress Scheme also has 22 Google reviews of which ten give one-star ratings, although the same number give five-star ratings.

The problem of very low ratings for ombudsmen/redress schemes is not unique to the property sector.

The 348 Trustpilot reviews for the Financial Ombudsman are largely one-star, as are the 62 for the Legal Ombudsman, and the 418 for Ombudsman Services – which used to run a property redress service.

Katrine Sporle, TPO’s Ombudsman, said: “The purpose of The Property Ombudsman scheme is to provide a dispute resolution service to place the consumer back in the position they were before the complaint arose.

“The very nature of redress is highly emotive, and by the time a complaint reaches TPO consumers are usually extremely aggrieved.

“With that in mind, if after reviewing the evidence provided to us we find that the agent was not at fault and therefore do not support the case, it’s common for TPO to then be perceived as part of the problem and receive negative feedback.

“Where we do award in favour of the consumer, as in 57% of cases in 2018, consumers are unlikely to take the time to write a positive review about the service they’ve received when they have had to go through a long process with their agent just to be put back in the position they started.

“Unfortunately with redress, there is always one side which will be unhappy with the outcome, but I am confident we provide an extremely professional, totally independent and impartial service.

“This view is shared by MHCLG in their response to ‘Strengthening Redress in the Housing Market’ and a position that is monitored and audited by MHCLG, NTSELAT, CTSI and the Ombudsman Association at regular intervals.”

Eddie Hooker, of the Property Redress Scheme, said: Redress is all about conflict management.

“Neither we nor TPO are selling a service or product that is exciting and is sought by the consumer.

“There are always two parties to a complaint of which in the vast majority of cases the end decision will only go one way – either we find in support of the agent or we find in favour of the consumer.

“Therefore there generally will always be one party that is unhappy with the result. So I do not expect reviews to be representative of the service that ombudsman/redress organisations provide or to accurately reflect the good work that they do.

“People generally resort to ‘rating’ when they do not get the result that they think they should be getting – but there is always two sides to every story.”

He added: “If you look at the Financial Services Ombudsman Trustpilot page you will see almost 350 reviews of which more than 90% of reviews are one or two stars i.e. poor and bad. I am sure the same would be true of other similar organisations.

“So our score is typical of this industry. I do not consider these ratings sites to be a good basis for basing any possible argument as to the effectiveness of the work that we or the TPO do.”

https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/tpos.co.uk

https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/theprs.co.uk

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11 Comments

  1. LetItGo

    Its the same as any review, if I win I give 5 star if I lose they get 1.

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    1. Malcolm Egerton

      Except, that by being completely passive, the TPO is only getting negative reviews (six of the seven positives on Google are fakes – written by Google Local Guides to score points). They owe it to those considering using the TPO to present at least a balanced impression on Google.

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  2. Eric Walker

    The FCA has 96 reviews – 98% of them are 1 star. The same old issue – those who are regulated seldom leave reviews. Customers tend only to leave them when they don’t get what they think they should get. Most agents will know that customer who expects £1000’s when they haven’t actually suffered loss and then plasters social media with dreadful reviews. PRS & TPOS do a good job at a difficult time, i.e when both parties are unhappy, and the complainant can still revert to the Court if they don’t like the outcome. The agent can’t.

    Personally, I think Trustpilot should only review products and services.  I wonder how many stars inmates would give the Courts or police?

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    1. Malcolm Egerton

      It would help if the TPO actually responded to the reviews. They have not responded once in 2019. They don’t have to disclose personal details, just say ‘We are sorry you were disappointed, but we should remind you and anyone reading your review that we are a completely impartial…’

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    2. tonyvasiliou88@gmail.com

      That is totally nonsense given my experience with the PRS with one of your landlords wasn’t just solely about money, my dissatisfaction was the fact the agreement the PRS itself drafted was not upheld by the member fully, yet the case was closed. This was in spite of the fact that the Head of the PRS agreed that he too was dissatisfied with how the first verdict was concluded by the Case Officer who did not uphold the agent fully to the terms of providing receipts (and yet to this day I’ve yet to receive any).
       
      This led to a 2nd investigation being opened on the basis the MHLG expressed concern about the way my case was handled and with all the evidence pinned against the agent (notably them bypassing gas safe regulations, fire safety, no tenancy deposit certficates or inventory checklists and above all no receipts provided to justify their billed expenditure), yet the case officer appointed had it closed down. The PRS cared not that their member clearly lied in their rebuttal about not having a managerial relationship with myself, yet then stated later he did and was appointed to carry out the works with hiring HIS contractors (as text and email evidence clearly displayed) yet provided bogus documents to bypass the arbitration process with two different sets of invoices that I still do not know which are the originals (with a third one submitted after on the 2nd investigation to cover-up the missing £3000 that I proved was not spent on “works”. The Courts will now decide after getting a hearing approved with my excellent appointed team who are going through the evidence including the SAR that the PRS tried to prevent from happening with a delay.
      This is a biased comment by yourself and I do wander as to whether you are connected in anyway with the PRS. My story is soon to be addressed in the Observer following it’s publication on Property118.

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  3. Mark Walker 2

    TPO should have a sit and think about how this represents a genuine level of customer engagement with reviews – 1 in 10 customers will take the time to write about a positive experience, 3 in 10 customers will leave negative feedback when left disappointed.  So on a site like Trustpilot who take money from reviewed companies to let them do ??? Said firms ending up with 89% maximum stars might just be acting in a dishonest manner on an epic scale.  And they are usually members of TPO too.

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    1. Mark Walker 2

      And the review star level for said agents on the none-paid-for sites are comparable with the TPO experience here.  Funny that.

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    2. Malcolm Egerton

      Forget Trustpilot; they simply don’t feature highly enough in search (and I don’t like their business model: ‘We’ll let people write negative reviews of your business and then try to sell you a mechanism to deal with a problem we’ve created’ or ‘we’ll let you invite reviews when your customers have just signed up’) Most people I know ignore the reviews sites (‘Why should I trust a site that asks businesses to pay to be rated 5*?’). Focus on Google reviews – they are free and much, much more visible in search.

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  4. Malcolm Egerton

    ‘TPO should have a sit and think about how this represents a genuine level of customer engagement with reviews’

    Quite: it is the responsibility of the business (in this case the TPO – but no different for any other, estate agents included) to proactively engage with reviews. How else will those looking to engage their services be given the confidence to do so?

    At present unhappy stakeholders have no option but to write a review on Trustpilot or Google. It is no good simply sitting back and saying ‘Oh dear, only those dissatisfied with (in this case ‘the outcome’) write reviews.’ That is a positively childish attitude that will only result in the business looking even worse in years to come. The ultimate result: no-one will have faith in the TPO.

    At present the TPO have 7 positive reviews on Google (all but one a ‘fake’) and twenty-one negatives (all genuine, as far as I can see). Luckily (?!) their Trustpilot reviews only appear on page 2 of search, so won’t be seen by anyone, but there are 12 of them, all negative.

    They – and all other businesses – need to engage with all their ‘customers’, all of the time – like all ‘grown-up’ businesses already do.

     

     

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