Reservation Fee Not Returned!

by Readers Question

13:37 PM, 8th February 2018
About 10 months ago

Reservation Fee Not Returned!

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Reservation Fee Not Returned!

My wife and I recently paid a £5k reservation fee to an Estate Agent, in order to reserve a property with development potential that we liked the look of. When we tried to arrange a viewing they didn’t turn up, and subsequently all of our emails and calls were unanswered. The most recent was a recorded delivery letter asking for the deposit back. This was again ignored.

We previously spoke to the Property Ombudsman, who confirmed they were members and held client funds in a separated account. We have subsequently been advised that the agent has let the membership lapse and are no longer under their jurisdiction. Some digging around on Trust Pilot shows other have had the same problem. Some further digging on the directors shows that they seem to open and close estate agencies regularly. They are always based in Halifax.

I would really like to get our money back, and have but have been advised that it is not worth paying a fee to a solicitor (one has quoted £600 to serve the legal notice), as even if we go to court and win the case, we are unlikely to get them to pay the money back. It doesn’t seem right that people can commit regular fraud like this without any redress.

Does anyone have any experience of a similar case, and advice as to what action to take?

Thanks

Paul



Comments

Mark Alexander

14:13 PM, 8th February 2018
About 10 months ago

I think this might be “fraud by misrepresentation”.

Can you get hold of any other victims?

If so, we may be able to look into a Private Prosecution.

Ian Narbeth

10:22 AM, 9th February 2018
About 10 months ago

You need to take legal advice. The money is almost certainly subject to a "resulting trust" and it should be straightforward to obtain judgment to get it back. £600 to recover £5000 is not a bad deal and you may be able to recover some of it.

You might also look into whether a crime has been committed (contact the police but don't hold your breath). You might consider a private prosecution the threat of which may unnerve the bad guys.

You need to be super-aggressive or you will be fobbed off. Go round to their offices, create a scene, let them know you will not give up.

John Frith

14:05 PM, 10th February 2018
About 10 months ago

It won't help you get your money back, but presenting the evidence of serial fraud to the Property Ombudsman MAY prompt them to refuse future membership of that scheme, (and hopefully any scheme that replaces it) by any company with those directors.

(Or am I being naively hopeful?)


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