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    • Chuckleboy
    • By Chuckleboy 17th May 18, 12:50 PM
    • 11Posts
    • 1Thanks
    Chuckleboy
    Estate Agent Selling Fees - No work, breach of faith
    • #1
    • 17th May 18, 12:50 PM
    Estate Agent Selling Fees - No work, breach of faith 17th May 18 at 12:50 PM
    Hello all,

    I was recently harassed by an estate agent into signing them on as a secondary seller of my property, with multiple calls and house visits, insisting they could get more money than my other estate agent. Eventually I signed with them on the proviso that they get at least 5,000 more than my other estate agent to pay for their fees.

    After putting the house on the market for 5,000 LESS than advertised elsewhere and setup a viewing, they did not respond to the buyer who then put an offer in with the other estate agent which I accepted, slightly UNDER asking price. They've then called to claim that as they 'introduced the seller to the property' as per their contract they are due their fees.

    I've argued them down to half and have refused everything else they have said they'd do, being very explicit that I want them to have no part in the sale. However, I'm not happy paying them anything as I feel I've been misled and though they're not in breach of contract, unfortunately, they were brought on as well to get me MORE on the sale, which they have utterly failed to do by not answering my buyer.

    Legally I'm not sure I'm on a good foot. Does anyone have any useful advice of actions I could take at this point? I'm thinking of asking for an itemised invoice...

    Warmest regards,
    Tom
    Last edited by Chuckleboy; 17-05-2018 at 2:35 PM. Reason: Wrong agent!
Page 1
    • cooltt
    • By cooltt 17th May 18, 2:12 PM
    • 583 Posts
    • 346 Thanks
    cooltt
    • #2
    • 17th May 18, 2:12 PM
    • #2
    • 17th May 18, 2:12 PM
    You accepted the whatever offer you have accepted, that is nothing to do with either estate agent, 5k more or less, it's irrelevant.

    The EA who introduced the buyer gets the fees not the one the offer was put in with.

    Read both of the contracts from both EA's, if it specifically states they get a fee for INTRODUCING the buyer then it's the first EA who accepted the offer on house who should not be getting the fee.
    • agrinnall
    • By agrinnall 17th May 18, 2:13 PM
    • 20,115 Posts
    • 15,839 Thanks
    agrinnall
    • #3
    • 17th May 18, 2:13 PM
    • #3
    • 17th May 18, 2:13 PM
    Don't pay them and let them sue you, if you have a contract that backs up what you say they are due nothing because they haven't secured a sale price more the 5,000 greater than your other EA has.
    • theartfullodger
    • By theartfullodger 17th May 18, 2:17 PM
    • 9,527 Posts
    • 12,777 Thanks
    theartfullodger
    • #4
    • 17th May 18, 2:17 PM
    • #4
    • 17th May 18, 2:17 PM
    Letting Agent Fees - No work, breach of faith
    Originally posted by Chuckleboy
    Sorry, I'm an OaP, get confused easily: What/who/how has a letting agent influenced this, please?


    NB Getting wording correct on instructions to others can be critical in not getting stuffed...
    • Chuckleboy
    • By Chuckleboy 17th May 18, 2:22 PM
    • 11 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Chuckleboy
    • #5
    • 17th May 18, 2:22 PM
    • #5
    • 17th May 18, 2:22 PM
    Thank you both for your replies.

    Coolt, you're right about me accepting the offer and the contract. Unfortunately I have to pay BOTH estate agents which I told the offending EA before they started, thus the insistence on a higher rate than they would get me. The only real claim they have to introducing the buyer is she called them for the viewing. That is the beginning and end of their involvement.

    My main gripe is that when given the opportunity to negotiate for a better offer, they didn't answer the phone when my buyer called or return her call. This was over two days, at which point she made an offer that was picked up immediately by my other estate agent (PurpleBricks). My thinking is, as they're getting a flat fee, they didn't feel like they needed to do any effort.

    Agrinnall, there was nothing in the contract about needing this, it was a gentleman's agreement which was not honoured in my eyes. You could argue that's worth the paper it's printed on. However, beyond arranging the viewing, putting it on the website under the currently advertised price with a few pictures, that is all they've done.
    • Chuckleboy
    • By Chuckleboy 17th May 18, 2:24 PM
    • 11 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Chuckleboy
    • #6
    • 17th May 18, 2:24 PM
    • #6
    • 17th May 18, 2:24 PM
    Sorry, I'm an OaP, get confused easily: What/who/how has a letting agent influenced this, please?


    NB Getting wording correct on instructions to others can be critical in not getting stuffed...
    Originally posted by theartfullodger
    You're right, it should read Estate Agent. Apologies, I've been dealing with a letting agent extensively as property is leasehold and struggling through a cold, confusion my end.
    • cooltt
    • By cooltt 17th May 18, 2:33 PM
    • 583 Posts
    • 346 Thanks
    cooltt
    • #7
    • 17th May 18, 2:33 PM
    • #7
    • 17th May 18, 2:33 PM
    @Chuckleboy, annoying as it is, a contact is a contract and that is the only evidence a judge needs to make a ruling.

    All EA contracts have the "if we introduced" clause, it doesn't matter if the contract expires then 6 months later a buyer who viewed from them decided to buy, legally you have to pay that EA, it's why everyone hates them it's like doing a deal with the devil.

    We all know EA's do as little work as possible for the payoff hence the rise in online outfits with the flat fee. The day they disappear from the high street will be a celebration day.
    • Chuckleboy
    • By Chuckleboy 17th May 18, 2:38 PM
    • 11 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Chuckleboy
    • #8
    • 17th May 18, 2:38 PM
    • #8
    • 17th May 18, 2:38 PM
    Thanks again Cooltt. The further question then is, if paying is unavoidable how do I pay as little as possible for the minimum possible effort expended by them?
    • AnotherJoe
    • By AnotherJoe 17th May 18, 2:50 PM
    • 9,381 Posts
    • 10,352 Thanks
    AnotherJoe
    • #9
    • 17th May 18, 2:50 PM
    • #9
    • 17th May 18, 2:50 PM
    Thanks again Cooltt. The further question then is, if paying is unavoidable how do I pay as little as possible for the minimum possible effort expended by them?
    Originally posted by Chuckleboy
    Have a look through the contract and see if you can find the clause where the amount of effort expended is related to the commission paid

    I don't know why people bring this up from time to time, you employ am EA to sell your house not to undertake "a lot of effort"
    • Chuckleboy
    • By Chuckleboy 17th May 18, 2:57 PM
    • 11 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Chuckleboy
    Have a look through the contract and see if you can find the clause where the amount of effort expended is related to the commission paid

    I don't know why people bring this up from time to time, you employ am EA to sell your house not to undertake "a lot of effort"
    Originally posted by AnotherJoe
    I'm a copywriter by trade, and I charge by the hour. If I spent 10 hours putting random words from the dictionary into a Word doc and sent it to a client, then I would say they'd have cause to be upset at the level of effort engaged in and might request a reduced/no fee, even if their only stipulation was the piece had to be a minimum length.

    I don't think the EA has undertaken even a reasonable amount of effort, in fact they've not done specific tasks that I employed them for to get me a better sale price.
    • AnotherJoe
    • By AnotherJoe 17th May 18, 3:10 PM
    • 9,381 Posts
    • 10,352 Thanks
    AnotherJoe
    I'm a copywriter by trade, and I charge by the hour. If I spent 10 hours putting random words from the dictionary into a Word doc and sent it to a client, then I would say they'd have cause to be upset at the level of effort engaged in and might request a reduced/no fee, even if their only stipulation was the piece had to be a minimum length.

    I don't think the EA has undertaken even a reasonable amount of effort, in fact they've not done specific tasks that I employed them for to get me a better sale price.
    Originally posted by Chuckleboy
    Its irrelevant that you charge by the hour. Some jobs do, some dont in my last job the sales people got huge bonuses for bringing in deals, it didn't matter if they spent ten minutes or ten months they got the same amount.

    If you wanted a contract where the EA was paid by the hour, then welcome to a world whereby they would drag things out for months and not try to make sure houses got sold quickly. And you s be whinging that due to their incompetence you had to pay twice as much. A bit like solicitors really.

    Now, since your contract appeared to have an clause about them selling fior 5k more that would have been the way to win, but you chose not to enforce that with a contract that said that if they didn't sell for 5k more they get no commission at all.
    • Chuckleboy
    • By Chuckleboy 17th May 18, 3:21 PM
    • 11 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Chuckleboy
    I was using an example to illustrate why people such as myself might be frustrated with this kind of behaviour, and that it wouldn't be acceptable in other job markets. That it IS acceptable for EAs doesn't make it any less galling to fall victim to.

    I know that I've made a mistake in signing the contract or not putting in writing some stricter requirements. It was a naivety that I regret now. I'm here to ask advice about what I could now do. Not that your current input isn't appreciated, but any advice on what could be done now would be ideal.
    Last edited by Chuckleboy; 17-05-2018 at 3:25 PM.
    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 17th May 18, 4:43 PM
    • 6,306 Posts
    • 6,171 Thanks
    eddddy
    Really, the bottom line is...
    • If the EA introduced the buyer, you owe them the full fee
    • If the EA didn't introduce the buyer, you don't owe them anything

    But... there was the 'famous' Foxtons v Bicknell appeal court case about the definition of 'introducing a buyer'.
    https://uk.practicallaw.thomsonreuters.com/4-381-4357?transitionType=Default&contextData=(sc.Defaul t)&firstPage=true&bhcp=1

    In that case, the court ruled that even though an EA arranged a viewing, they had not introduced the buyer to the sale, but I'm not sure that your case is as strong.
    • Simonr66
    • By Simonr66 17th May 18, 5:00 PM
    • 20 Posts
    • 15 Thanks
    Simonr66
    I remember reading an article about a very similar case a few years ago where agent one did the viewing but the offer was made via agent two who then progressed the sale through to completion. Agent one took the vendor to court but lost as the judge sad that by just doing the viewing and nothing else doesn't entitle the agent to the fee.


    Sorry cant remember where I saw it
    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 17th May 18, 5:19 PM
    • 6,306 Posts
    • 6,171 Thanks
    eddddy
    I remember reading an article about a very similar case a few years ago where agent one did the viewing but the offer was made via agent two who then progressed the sale through to completion. Agent one took the vendor to court but lost as the judge sad that by just doing the viewing and nothing else doesn't entitle the agent to the fee.


    Sorry cant remember where I saw it
    Originally posted by Simonr66
    Ummmm.... look at the post immediately above yours!
    • Chuckleboy
    • By Chuckleboy 17th May 18, 5:21 PM
    • 11 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Chuckleboy
    Really, the bottom line is...
    • If the EA introduced the buyer, you owe them the full fee
    • If the EA didn't introduce the buyer, you don't owe them anything

    But... there was the 'famous' Foxtons v Bicknell appeal court case about the definition of 'introducing a buyer'.

    In that case, the court ruled that even though an EA arranged a viewing, they had not introduced the buyer to the sale, but I'm not sure that your case is as strong.
    Originally posted by eddddy
    Thanks Eddddy, that's really useful. The one EA just took the initial call to arrange the viewing, but they did not send an agent to show them around the property. That's the extent of their involvement, other than calling me to ask for money.
    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 17th May 18, 6:14 PM
    • 6,306 Posts
    • 6,171 Thanks
    eddddy
    The one EA just took the initial call to arrange the viewing, but they did not send an agent to show them around the property. That's the extent of their involvement, other than calling me to ask for money.
    Originally posted by Chuckleboy
    That's a very dodgy argument... you're saying the EA managed to find a buyer in one day with one phone call.

    Isn't that a sign of an excellent EA? Isn't that what every seller would ideally want?

    Your only complaint seems to be that they didn't call the buyer back in a timely manner. But if they had called back, presumably the buyer would have offered through them.

    Then you would still have to pay PurpleBricks. So the EA's failure to call back hasn't cost you any extra money.


    If you want, you can complain to the EA, followed by a complaint to the EA's redress scheme (often the Property Ombudsman https://www.tpos.co.uk/), but I wouldn't hold out too much hope.
    • Chuckleboy
    • By Chuckleboy 17th May 18, 6:29 PM
    • 11 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Chuckleboy
    The buyer contacted them for the viewing, as she'd seen my property advertised twice on the same website, and theirs was the lower amount. They then arranged a time for the viewing. I'd already received multiple viewings from my other EA, I only went with the offending one as they promised I would receive more money which I didn't, so I would argue not calling did cost me money.

    Not calling back in a timely manner is something I'm not happy with, or returning her calls over two days, or contacting me or anyone else until an offer had been made and accepted externally to them (about three days later).

    My agreement with PurpleBricks is that I have to pay them regardless, which the EA knew when asking me to sign the contract. By not doing their job, they have essentially made me liable for two lots of EA fees without the extra money which they assured me they would earn, and would have made it okay. I feel they've abused the terms of the contract and verbal agreements made.

    To summarise:
    1. I was harassed with multiple phone calls and visits at home into signing a vague contract with the promise that they would earn over my asking price (and yes, I know I chose to sign, and yes, I regret it).

    2. After signing this contract, they did the bare minimum to assure themselves the fee, advertising my property somewhere it was already advertised at a lower price, and arranging a single viewing.

    3. They did not respond to phone calls or messages about an offer for multiple days, attempt to make contact with myself or the viewer about how it had gone and if she wished to make an offer.

    4. Once the offer had been accepted externally under my asking price, they then contacted me to ask about payment. So there was some awareness that an offer had taken place but no willingness to actually uphold what they said they would do.

    I appreciate the responses, it helps get things clearer in my head. I will complain to them and perhaps the ombudsman depending on how that goes.
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