Quick house sale companies commit to improvement

Quick house sale companies commit to improvement

We reported back in August that the OFT had launched an investigation into several quick house sale firms for alleged unfair practices.

The OFT concluded that quick house sale companies can provide a beneficial service for people who require a fast sale of their home, but identified some business practices that may not comply with the law and fall short of the standards the OFT would expect of businesses in this sector.

These included giving misleading initial valuations, late reductions of the offer price and operating unclear fee structures.

Box MX Limited, BTA Properties Limited, Property Rescue Limited and Gateway Homes UK Limited have now promised to embed good practice and address wider concerns highlighted in the OFT’s market study.

They have given the OFT undertakings which include:

– ensuring marketing materials clearly, accurately and prominently set out key information and risks relating to the sales process

– conducting valuations in a fair and professional manner, and in good faith

– promptly sharing with consumers relevant information about the progress of the sale, including anything that might affect the final offer price or completion date

– promising not to reduce conditional or final offer prices without a valid reason.

Gaucho Rasmussen, OFT Director, Goods and Consumer Group, said: “We are pleased these companies have constructively worked with us and agreed to undertakings which will provide greater clarity and confidence to consumers considering a quick house sale.

“We expect others in the sector to take note of the information we have provided and review their own practices.

“Anyone who wishes to sell their home should always consider their full range of options. Should they choose to use a quick house sale company, we advise that they consider carefully what they are signing up to, ask questions and seek independent advice if they are unsure.”

Property Rescue has already launched a Code of Conduct, based on a Code of Practice approved by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

Danny Nieberg, director, Property Rescue, said: “We co-operated fully with the OFT in their thorough investigations and are pleased to report that no action was taken against us.

“We have now devised a Code of Conduct which is based on working practices approved by the OFT, that put consumers first and which gives our customers complete peace of mind in all transactions.”

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