… saw two teenage lovers re-enact their own modern day version of Romeo and Juliet, swapping the balconies of Verona for the poolside of a five star hotel in the Dominican Republic, special parking badges being issued to people too fat to walk any distance from their car, (and before the indignant start screeching about medical conditions, I know, it is called E.T.F.M. Eating Too.. – you can work out the rest), and mendacity rising to the top of the character traits shown by many in the public and not-so-public eye. Fibs, falsehoods, disinformation or porkies, choose your synonym; some absolute corkers made an appearance this week. Justin Bieber, Nick Clegg, Mrs Nick Clegg and anyone who was asked by their partner, “Does my bum look big in this?” can all take a back seat, as one of my fellow estate agents in the Cwmbran locale fought his way manfully to the top of the pile. Having quoted a, (fairly exorbitant) fee to a prospective vendor, coupled with the assurance that he would sell her property in record time, he was asked whether, if the house did not sell within this period, the fee could be altered decrementally, the longer the property remained on the market. ‘Oh no’, he replied, ‘the ombudsman does not allow me to do such things’. What an absolute load of bollocks. The ombudsman to the property industry (and other industries), is there to mediate in matters where two parties cannot find resolution. To quote from the official Ombudsman Services website, “Our job is to investigate complaints fairly by listening to both sides of the story and looking at the facts. We will decide what action, if any, should be taken when you and a property company can’t agree” [sic]. It should be noted that this is for disputes with agencies that have signed up to the scheme-for a fee. Similarly, The Property Ombudsman Scheme (TPO), is a “voluntary redress body to resolve complaints against residential estate agents and residential letting agents”. [sic]. Again, it is a voluntary scheme where a company pays to join. The rationale behind such membership is broadly sound and invokes to potential vendors, tenants et al the warm fuzzy feeling of security that is intended; alongside the facilitators of the scheme making money. Speaking of the latter, neither scheme has any legal jurisdiction over the fees agreed between vendor and agent.
At Cheshire and Co we have made a conscious decision not to join either scheme; parting with monies that allow us to include the sign on our door and thereby kid potential customers that the practices that we employ have their best interests as the overriding factor. And yes, we did all come down in the last rain shower. The one body that we are acutely aware of -as should anyone in any business – is Trading Standards. It is they who can shut a business, including an estate agency. Good business practice is self-serving and does not include using people or organisations’ names in vain.
“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters” Albert Einstein. We believe that selling your property is an important matter.