Woman shocked to find her own home advertised on agent’s website

A woman who was looking on an agent’s website told of her shock to find her own home featured on it.

Laura Blundell told yesterday’s You and Yours programme on BBC radio that she recognised it immediately and that the soft furnishings were hers.

She said her home was neither for sale nor for let.

She told the programme that it had previously been up for sale, but that the buyer had pulled out.

She said that on finding her home advertised “I visited the letting agent and asked if the flat was still available”.

She said she was told it had gone, but that there was another she might like.

Ms Blundell said she then told the agents, Harrison Property Partners in Canary Wharf, London, that the property was her own home.

She told the programme she had never provided the agent with photographs and said that the firm had trawled the internet.

Harrison Property Partners told You and Yours that a mistake had been made for which they had apologised and offered compensation. Ms Blundell said she had not been offered compensation.

She said that Trading Standards had been notified, and been told that they would be monitoring the agents.

Mark Hayward, managing director of the NAEA, told the programme: “It is a pity to hear that Trading Standards are not enforcing it as they should be.”

He said that an agent acting without instructions and listing a property that was not available was committing an offence under Consumer Protection laws.

He said that there was a shortage of properties for sale and rent, and that agents had gone back over property portals to find something to list – either to give them a better presence locally or to tempt people so that they could be told about other properties.

Told of another case, in Sheffield, where a For Sale board had gone up outside a tenant’s home which was not on the market, Hayward said that “flyboarding” also acted as an enticement for people to contact agents.

He said: “There is a dire shortage of property. There is a ten-year low in properties available, and a 13-year high in people looking.”

We did contact Harrison Property Partners by phone and email to see if they would like to comment.

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9 Comments

  1. Robert May

    I’ve done a little experiment as a result of this story. It looks like once exchanged and completed  photos and descriptions on the portals are only  masked to  hinder a  full copy being taken of any photo or description. Effectively there is nothing more than digital cling film being stretched over the top of Agents details.

    I have been previously given the excuse that the  masked versions data is to help applicants who have previously viewed a property see that it is no longer available;  that doesn’t explain why I can dig back 15 years to find historic details with a full inventory of photos etc.

    (Example posted on Twitter)

     

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  2. drasperger

    At a time when there is such a chronic shortage of property, we must be extra vigilant……Following a viewing, my daughter made an offer for the full rent on a property in London through a reputable agency.  She was told by the neg that he could see no reason why the offer would not be accepted.  The following day, she was called and told that it had been advertised at the incorrect price by mistake…..the new rent had increased by 7.6%.  She very reasonably considered this to be at best sharp practice, and at worst a good reason to join generation rent!  At a time when politicians and the media are happy to scapegoat agency for the systemic failings we must be even more careful!

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  3. Trevor Mealham

    New TS guidance expected to be released in September recommends properties are removed 14 days post completion.

    With lack of listings it makes sense for agents to B2B and multi-list MLS. That way old (gone) listings don’t have to be bait, and agents could collaborate to access more stock and achieve clients better deals.

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    1. Robert May

      Removed from where Trevor? Rightmove has a complete back catalogue of photos details descriptions etc all available to copy.

      It seems reasonable old details are available using the agents login but  not to anyone else. That way Rightmove can hang on to the SEO content benefit of keeping the data, agents can access their dead files but no-one else can.

       

       

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      1. Anonymous Coward

        Rightmove does not get any SEO benefit for Rightmove Plus because the pages are all on the far side of a login page which means Google’s website crawler can’t get there.

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        1. PeeBee

          I don’t think Robert is referring to RM+ in relation to the SEO content, AC – but I’m sure he will explain himself.

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        2. Robert May

          I’m sorry but that is not correct.  If I can get to the other side of the login without even being aware there was one there so can Google’s crawler bots.  I have had 6 weeks studying the bots; 3 of them have been a permanent house guests.

          I posted an example from the RM archive earlier today on Twitter. I didn’t realise I was demonstrating the impossible  I was only showing how all of the text, photos, everything can be very easily copied.

          Perhaps your belief that all the details and data is protected by a login explains why so few people  understand my concerns about data phishing.

           

          As an agent last week said “Robert, you can find stuff I have forgotten”

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  4. Anonymous Coward

    The agents in my area are constantly taking properties off RM and putting them back on again to make them email out all over again. Then they’ll put the price up and then bring it down for the same effect.

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  5. gothicmoth99

    “She told the programme she had never provided the agent with photographs and said that the firm had trawled the internet.”

    This sounds incredibly familiar. In fact they did this exact same thing to me, pulled my photos off the internet and used it to market other property. They then ignored all correspondence sent to them, absolutely everything. Went to court over it, they ignored the claim form, won a default judgment, but cannot find the actual company name to get a warrant of execution for as they have concealed it literally everywhere.

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