The Property Ombudsman is to conduct an internal review of the case whereby it rejected a complaint by sellers being chased for a claim for a fee by Palmer Snell.
The review comes after EYE explicitly expressed concerns as, after the TPO ruling, Weymouth county court subsequently ruled that Palmer Snell, a Countrywide brand, had no claim to a fee because it was not an effective cause of the transaction.
An earlier case, in the Court of Appeal in which Foxtons was involved, set the precedent ten years ago by which to claim a fee, agents must demonstrate that they have introduced the buyer to the deal, not just to the property.
Palmer Snell had suggested that the couple who turned out to be the eventual buyers should view the home. However, the sellers rejected this: no viewing took place because the sellers said the would-be purchasers still had two homes of their own to sell and were in no position to proceed.
The property in question went on to be sold by a second instructed agent, Fortnam Smith and Banwell, after the buyers’ situation changed.
While the court ruling means that George and Hilary Wood do not have to pay the Palmer Snell fee of nearly £8,000, the couple say they are out of pocket through legal fees.
EYE asked TPO if in the light of the latest court ruling, it would be reviewing the Woods’ case. A number of readers, in posts, made it clear they felt the TPO’s decision was incorrect, alleging that legal precedent had been ignored.
Yesterday Jane Erkine, deputy ombudsman, said: “TPO came to a decision based on the evidence provided by both parties and therefore do not share the view that the decision was wrong.
“However, TPO will undertake an internal review of the case file and study the transcript before coming to an informed view.”
EYE will keep close tabs on this one and will urge TPO to make the outcome fully reportable.
There is a second TPO ruling which has also raised concerns among our readers, and again we will be pressing on this, while fully recognising that we do not know the evidence called for by, or submitted to, TPO, let alone know both sides of the story.