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Estate agents complaints on the rise

More than 8,000 complaints from customers regarding their estate agent were recorded in 2006, the Ombudsman for Estate Agents (OEA) reports. The complaints, caused largely by administration problems with sale and purchase details along with customer's general distrust of estate agents, saw a year-on-year rise of more than a third â€" 2005 saw a total of 6,021 complaints registered with the OEA. Although the official report will only be made available on May 23rd, Chris Hamer, head of the OEA service, warned that the stresses and strains of buying and selling property, along with the hefty financial costs, made customers more inclined to register their unhappiness."I think possibly it's down to people being less ready to be satisfied with something which they perceived as poor service â€" given the size of the financial commitment that they're taking on by buying a house," Mr Hamer said.With the rise of independent property websites, the OEA also fears that continuing poor service and mistrust of traditional estate agents will cause customers to switch to the new alternative. "There's a lot of inherent stress in the process of buying and selling houses and if something goes wrong then they're actually an easy target for people to say: 'You've disadvantaged me in some way'," he added.

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