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23 August 2007

Brightsale files OFT complaint against Estate Agents

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by Brian Turner

Brightsale files OFT complaint against Estate Agents

Internet estate agency, Brightsale, has issued a formal complain to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), over suggestions that some estate agencies were forcing exclusive contracts on home sellers.

It comes after allegations that estate agencies are trying to freeze out competition from internet vendors by signing up clients to sole selling rights contracts.

These mean that the estate agency receives commission on the property sale, even if sold by another company.

The aim, according to Brightsale director Andy Etches, is to force people looking to sell their property to use local estate agencies, rather than additionally list it on the internet.

More common estate agency contracts are “sole agency”, which means that the estate agent only receives a commission if they themselves sell the property.

The complaint by Brightsale complaint follows an article by Estate Agency News written by SpicerHaart executive Paul Smith. In this Paul Smith wrote for traditional estate agents to actively band together, by asserting sole rights contracts, and additional clauses preventing use of internet vendors.

Brightsale additionally alleges that in some instances, where someone seeks to sell online as well as through an estate agency, the agency may threaten to raise their commission rate.

The OFT said it will respond appropriately.

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