Contact us:
01508 493330

Latest News & Updates

← Back to News

Posted on June 30th 2015 by admin-movingin

Ombudsman Services rejects 80% of initial complaints against agents

Remarkably few complaints against estate and letting agents are being investigated, with very few upheld.

Yesterday, Ombudsman Services revealed it had  5,265 initial inquiries about agents last year ­ but an astonishing 81% were rejected, as outside the terms of reference.

This was because just over half were about member companies, but were outside the service’s remit – including that complaints were premature, too old or lacked information – while almost half were inquiries about non-member agents. A small number of initial inquiries (2%) were not complaints but requests for information and literature.

That left just 19% of initial inquiries that went to adjudication, resulting in 1,001 property complaints being handled (a rise of 8%) and 934 complaints being resolved in the year 2014/2015.

There was no action in 35% of these cases with awards and remedies in the remainder. The most common financial award was £100.

It means that out of an apparently large number of initial complaints, very few were taken forward – and in only a fraction of those initial inquiries did Ombudsman Services find against agents.

The analysis suggests that where consumers complain against agents, very few succeed.

The top three complaints according to Ombudsman Services were to do with valuations and surveys (42%), property management (25%) and residential managing agents (9%).

Ombudsman Services is by no means unique in not progressing a very high proportion of initial complaints against agents, effectively telling consumers that they either have nothing to grumble about or are not grumbling in the right way.

The Property Ombudsman, according to its latest report, resolved 2,511 cases in 2014, having received an initial 16,792 inquiries, suggesting that an even greater proportion (some 85%) are turned away.

TPO says that one reason for being unable to deal with complaints is that the consumer has gone straight to the ombudsman instead of endeavouring to get the complaint sorted out in-house by the agent.

Another reason is that an ombudsman cannot deal with a case which has become the subject of litigation – for example, the class action against Foxtons which started with a single landlord alleging that he had been charged “hidden” fees marked-up on repairs bills.

The annual report of Ombudsman Services is here: