An estate agent has threatened to withhold his subscriptions to Rightmove and is taking legal advice as to whether the portal is in breach of its contract.
Chris Wood, of PDQ Estates in Cornwall, said he is taking the action because of the “ongoing portal juggling and policing issues”.
Wood told EYE that he believes Rightmove is “not policing its own terms and conditions in an even-handed and fair way”.
He said in an email to the portal that Rightmove is aware of these issues, “and has been supplied with considerable evidence”.
Rightmove recently announced that it was launching an inquiry into alleged ‘portal juggling’.
However, Wood told EYE that Rightmove had seemingly not progressed the matter and does not appear to be engaging in the process in a transparent manner.
He said: “I am taking legal advice as I believe that Rightmove is in clear breach of its contract.
“Furthermore, PDQ Estates (and many other Rightmove customers) will have been disadvantaged by agents who have seemingly been allowed to continue with these practices, using falsified statements to claim larger market shares and shorter marketing times than are in fact the case.”
Wood claims that some advertisers on Rightmove are persistent offenders of practices such as re-listing properties, listing properties that are not theirs to list, and keeping properties up that have been sold.
Another habit of some advertisers, he says, is re-listing properties with a new, lower price and marking them ‘under offer’ the same day – thus enabling them to claim that they have sold the property for all or most of the last advertised asking price.
Wood claims that Rightmove could be passively letting these agents break Consumer Protection Regulations, advertising and Property Ombudsman codes, and potentially the Fraud Act.
He has also told Rightmove that because agents such as his own business stick to the rules, they may have been disadvantaged.
Wood added in his email to Rightmove: “Accordingly, I believe there to be a clear case for compensation and damages.”
He added: “I am withholding this and future monthly payments until Rightmove honours our contract terms.”
A spokesperson for Rightmove said: “One of our directors has spoken with the agent and discussed his issue, and also offered to meet up in person to go through Rightmove’s Data Quality processes in more detail.”
Wood has now confirmed that a meeting is being arranged between himself and Rightmove’s head of agency sales, Jason Bushby.
Wood told EYE: “This is about issues of trust, transparency and fairness. The portals must be able to show that there is parity of data quality enforcement, and that they fulfill their contractual liabilities.”