Industry regulator promises it WILL ‘fully’ investigate portal juggling

The industry regulator has confirmed that it will be fully investigating allegations of “portal juggling” by some agents.

An investigator at the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team yesterday gave the confirmation in an email to Chris Wood, of Cornish firm PDQ Estates.

Wood is among a group of agents infuriated by the alleged practices by which other agents manipulate market share by falsified listings.

Examples include the relisting of properties, usually with different prices; continuing to list properties that have been sold;  and marketing properties that were never theirs to list.

Wood is claiming that there are a number of agents who are manipulating their listings on Rightmove and Zoopla at the expense of those agents who play by the rules, and that the practice is also misleading the public.

Rightmove is already carrying out its own investigation into “portal juggling” allegations which have been put to it by several agents.

Yesterday, NTSEAT told Wood that the allegations he has made “will be investigated and followed through”.

The investigator has promised: “It will be a matter for early discussion and action following the Easter break.”

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37 Comments

  1. smile please

    Good news to start the day!

    By the sounds of all the evidence collected we should expect some serious action on these fraudsters.

    A few restless nights for these criminals over Easter.

    Let’s hope the NTSEAT  show this will not be tolerated come down hard on these companies as a warning to others.

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  2. Chri Wood

    PLEASE – Do not think that this is now all sorted. Many agents are now coming forward with stories that competitors are acting illegally but Rightmove and Zoopla are seemingly indifferent to the activity.

    If you want this activity to stop, you need to make your voice heard. Complain to the portals; remind them they are in breach of contract by allowing this to happen, that consumers are being misled and that your business will be losing money as a result.

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    1. smile please

      Does your documents passed to NTSEAT mention portals ‘Turning a blind eye’?

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  3. Property Paddy

    So the miscreants have a week to get their house in order.

    Bet most of ’em have a miraculous IT fix before the Tuesday and there is no one to chase

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    1. Robert May

      One of the worse offenders was given the heads up directly from one of the portals resulting in an unsightly lump in the middle of the carpet,

      Putting their house in order is a good thing in itself, the result we had hoped for.  Simply hiding the wrongdoing is a little foolish as the  notification of each case was accompanied by screenshot evidence that has  for over 6 months been shared with independent observers connected to, but not affected by. the practice of gaming the portals.

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  4. mrharvey

    NOTE FOR PIE:

    Third paragraph is sentence fragment. You need to drop the “comma and who” at the start, and add a full stop at the end of the paragraph…

    OR… add the clause that is missing from the end of the paragraph (which I want to read if it exists!!) and then add the full stop.

    Sorry for intruding on the conversation, all.

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    1. mrharvey

      *sigh*

      It’s still wrong, guys!

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  5. Gump

    I followed this story yesterday and purposely didn’t comment, but now I will.

    When you were a neg/senior neg/manager did you ever fudge your figures? Yes you did. Anyone who has the nerve to say you didn’t needs help.

    Don’t get me wrong, i’m not for portal juggling, but words like illegal and criminals is all a bit drama is it not?

    If you aren’t getting good stock on in your town because Joe Bloggs EA has blagged number 1 spot on the Rightmove report you need to re ***** your situation.

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    1. smile please

      It’s defrauding the public gump on a massive scale. It’s not about leaving the occasional property on too long it’s a concerted effort to manipulate figures on a massive scale. It is criminal, it is fraud.

      You should be applauding the agents involved and putting your weight behind this investigation.

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      1. Gump

        I’m not sure this whole thing is about defrauding the public, it seems to me it’s about the non portal jugglers moaning about the portal jugglers because they are making the non portal jugglers look bad.

         

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        1. Eric Walker

          If figures are shown to distort market share to inflate the value of a business, then I suspect there could be allegations could be of interest to investors and some regulators with very sharp teeth. I really don’t think it’s about local league tables.

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        2. smile please

          Gump a hypothetical for you as we are not allowed to name companies.

           

          A start up internet agent needs to raise money from floating on the stock exchange or by crowd funding.

          They manage to do this but comes to light that a number of their claims are bogus as they have manipulated data to demonstrate that their business is performing better than it is.

          This means the investors have been lied to.

          Also the public have been duped into thinking an agent they are instructing has a proven track record of stock and attaining asking (or near to asking) prices. This too is fictitious. In fact the agent does not have X properties in X and they have not achieved the asking price which they are claiming.

          This also throws into question the “savings” these agents are making the client.

          Again we are not talking 1 or 2 properties from what i have seen on here and elsewhere we are talking hundreds if not thousands of manipulated properties. Done with the sole purpose of increasing market share at the expensive of the public and other agents.

           

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          1. Gump

            All completely understood and agreed with.

            What has it got to do with us?

            An online start up that has a minuscule market share that it will likely lose quicker than it gained it, we are not challenged or threatened by it but are up in arms over it.

            The public aren’t stupid, it won’t take them long to realise but there will always be the seller who wants cheap….always

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            1. smile please

              It has everything to do with us.

              We should not turn a blind eye to it and neither should the regulators.

              If you see large corporates or internent agents doing this on a large scale i suggest getting in touch with Robert May, PeeBee or Chris Woods.

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              1. Gump

                The corporates have had a 20% market share in forever, never seems to go up or down. The onliners maybe 1%/5%.

                If they are cooking figures and have gained no traction at all, it tells me the public have more faith in the independents than we might believe.

                This witch-hunt, even if found guilty will achieve nothing at all. Their share will not go down, ours will not go up

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              2. Chri Wood

                It’s Wood (no ‘s’) 😉 but yes, please do get in touch or, better still, with NTSEAT themselves http://bit.ly/1RdDbV9

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            2. Chri Wood

              Gump, it is a great shame that you cannot see that this has everything to do with you, your business and your customers

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        3. Robert May

          A few good men have not stood by and have not let evil prosper, it says a lot about anyone who would even question that

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          1. Gump

            evil prosper?! Have you listened to yourself?

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            1. Robert May

              Why do the regulations exist Gump?

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              1. Robert May

                I guess that was a difficult question and Gump is having trouble finding anyone he knows who can explain the answer and  the implications of the answer.

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  6. Property Paddy

    Gump,

    I haven’t, If I’m not number 1 in my area I look at what I’m doing wrong. If another agent is number 1 by scr3wing the system, I would report it.

    In fact I had to threaten one of the corporate concerns on this matter only last week when they were marketing a property they had already lost to another agent, they were out of contract and had a letter with 28 days notice but still they continued marketing.

    Of course they lost the instruction to me! They removed their advert and that is that.

    If you see a competitor cheating in a similar matter, phone them up and tell them you will report them as fair warning. If they repeat the offence tell them again and tell them there will be no third chance.

    Normally agents will do something about it, if they don’t well it’s not like you didn’t warn them !

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    1. Gump

      If an agent is showing number 1 on paper and you have the ammunition to undermine them, use it when you need to.

      I’m clearly not born of this grassing nature. 🙂

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      1. PeeBee

        “I’m clearly not born of this grassing nature.”

        SO… If you were to see someone you could easily identify ****** a handbag from an old lady – are you saying you wouldn’t call the police?

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        1. PeeBee

          ??? 5n@tch is a ‘no-no word?

          Jeez – what a chuffed-up world we now live in!

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        2. Gump

          You have a very peculiar way of twisting something around to suit you PeeBee.

          Portal juggling to the theft of a handbag from an old lady to represent the phrase Grassing, pretty good.

          Have a nice day 🙂

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          1. PeeBee

            “You have a very peculiar way of twisting something around to suit you PeeBee.”

            No, Gump.  That is not the case.  It was a question – NOT a statement.

            We have already established – by your own words – that you are prepared to stand by and knowingly allow wrongdoing to take place.

            I’m simply trying to establish the level of severity of crime before you will act responsibly.

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            1. Gump

              ‘No, Gump.  That is not the case.  It was a question – NOT a statement.’

              I’m aware of that, please accept me not answering it as me not being bothered to answer it.

              ‘We have already established – by your own words – that you are prepared to stand by and knowingly allow wrongdoing to take place.’

              18,000 agencies (approx) 3 staff per branch (guessed) 36,000 estate agents – I see 10 people (approx) moaning about – seems I’m not alone in not caring.

              ‘I’m simply trying to establish the level of severity of crime before you will act responsibly.’

              I understand that the crime of portal juggling is somewhere on par with handbag snatchers and murders etc. But please forgive me for not being at all bothered by it even though I am a victim. I shall seek counseling

               

               

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              1. PeeBee

                “So why did I start in Agency – Company Car.”

                Nowt more needed to say, really.

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                1. Gump

                  Yup, and you cannot possibly fathom how well that decision, however shallow, turned out for me  🙂

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                  1. PeeBee

                    Gump – I am insanely happy for you that it did.  And I sincerely hope it continues to do the same.

                    So – how’s about showing the industry that has so well fed and clothed you some support – and thus make sure that happens?

                    ;o)

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                    1. Gump

                      Our industry has not fed and clothed me PeeBee, my hard word has, I just chose to sail this particular ship.

                      I have never once been concerned about what my competitors are doing, you and your juggle brothers are.

                      Why are you all wasting time trying to figure out what your competitors are doing when that is time you could of used on your own companies?

                      If you are that worried about your competitors that you have to spend time checking out what they are up to and telling teacher, I suggest you turn the lights out, lock the door and put the keys back through the letterbox.

                      This quest of yours may well end up with a fine or two, well done, however unlikely, but when and if you are celebrating your victory, pause and think what the time you spent on your competition could of achieved for you

                       

                       

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                    2. PeeBee

                      Gump

                      I left my office last night just before 7pm, having laid the foundations, and taken the masonry as far as second lift, on what will be today’s negotiated sale.  We close at 5.

                      I’ve just amended some property details on what, I am certain, will be one of next week’s.  We open at 9.

                      When you typed this last night I was investigating an Agent’s activity based over 200 miles from where I live and work, on the request of someone who had contacted Ros regarding potential #portaljuggling on their patch.

                      I packed up for the night at 0145.

                      I don’t need you to tell me what I need to do to make a success of my agency.

                      I DO, however, need to remind you forcefully that regardless of how much you think your success is down to Gump, without the industry and its’ customers you are nowt but tumbleweed.

                      We all are – and the best know that – and use it daily.

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                    3. Frown Please

                      Gump don’t support anyone but gumps self.

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  7. smile please

    http://pstatic.powys.gov.uk/fileadmin/Docs/Estate_Agency/NTSEAT_guidance_on_property_sales_-_Sept_2015_en.pdf

     

    If anybody is in any doubt ‘Portal Juggling’ is a crime – take a couple of minutes to read the link.

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    1. Chri Wood

      Bang on the money Smile Please. Section 4 is a good place to start

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    2. Robert May

      Is that available in big print and simple words, perhaps some pictures to help those  who’ve  never read the basics of agency law or the regulations that govern the industry and don’t intend to start with a complicated document like that?

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