A high street agent is calling on Rightmove and Zoopla to ensure that customers of online firms are prominently warned in listings that “your agency fee may be at risk if you do not sell your property”.
David Brevitt, of midlands high street firm My Personal Estate Agent, said online agents should also include the same ‘wealth warning’ in all their own marketing.
Brevitt said: “After all, traditional ‘no sale, no reward’ estate agents have to promote a dual fee warning.
“I cannot see why these upfront or deferred payment models should not have to carry a prominent TV, fee and risk warning, as they could cost unsuccessful users a lot of money.
“I feel sure that those users who pay for a service that does not complete, feel miserable when they still have to pay for or end up paying two agency fees.
“Online agents that demand the same fee whether they succeed or fail in selling a property should make this perfectly clear to vendors from the outset.”
Brevitt said that the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team, property ombudsmen and the Advertising Standards Authority should also insist on it.
He also suggests that the NAEA, the Guild of Property Professionals and Agents’ Mutual could express their support.
He is suggesting that the wording could be: “Warning – this £x fee and any additional viewing service cost of £x is at risk, as it is payable whether a successful sale is agreed or not.”
Brevitt wants agents who work on a ‘no sale, no fee’ basis to call on Rightmove and Zoopla to insist that a fees warning is prominently displayed.
He is suggesting an ‘independence day’ – July 4 – when agents should encourage all their staff to separately email both the major portals to insist on what he calls “fairer advertising”.