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Complaints against estate agents continue to grow

It will come as no surprise to many people involved in the property market that complaints against estate agents in the UK have remained relatively high when you consider the collapse in the UK property market. While the number of UK property sales fell by more than 60% in 2008 we saw a less significant 3% fall in the number of complaints regarding sale, letting and purchase agreements through estate agents.

The number of complaints is a 20% relative increase compared to 2007 and a significant 70% increase compared to 2006. Of the 1,034 cases in 2008, 65% were upheld in favour of the claimant with estate agents being forced to pay out around £385,000 in compensation although most of the payments were between £100 and £499. The highest award was £23,880 against an estate agent which was found to have given conflicting advice and failed to act in the best interests of the client.

While estate agents receive very little sympathy from the general public, there is no doubt that the last 12 months have been as testing a time as ever seen before in industry. However, despite significant changes in the marketplace it would appear that a number of estate agents are feeling the pressure with growing conflict between consumer expectations and estate agent performances.

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