Local agent launches campaign to warn public about ‘rife’ portal juggling

An agent has launched a campaign warning the public about portal juggling, which he said is now rife in the industry.

He has done so after friends were caught out after having had their hopes built up by what turned out to be a fake listing by a local high street agent.

The  property they were interested in was originally listed in June. It was then listed as new last week, but a day later it was listed as new again but under offer.

David Mintz, director of Normie & Company in north Manchester, said juggling is “rife” and being practised by local agents in many parts of the country.

He called on the industry to “get a grip and start cleaning up its act”.

He added: “It has become so prevalent and the use of statistics by agents in order to win business has become the norm, that we cannot forget that these practices have a human element to them and it is the public themselves that ultimately pay the price.”

Mintz has written a blog on his firm’s website, plus an explanatory video.

In the blog, he said that an un-named local competitor listed the property last week, apparently as new.

Friends contacted him to ask his opinion about the property, and the prospects for the sale of their own property.

After much discussion, Mintz recommended his friends to contact the other agent to arrange a viewing.

However, before they could do so, the next morning they found the property had been re-listed as new, but this time marked ‘under offer’.

Mintz’s friends contacted the agent to be told that the property had in fact had a sale agreed on it for many weeks.

Mintz writes: “It’s frustrating, but these people had become the victims of portal juggling.

“Ever notice an agent listing stock as ‘listed today’ and simultaneously ‘Sold STC’? This might give you the impression that the agent has sold the property overnight. In some circumstances it causes buyers to think that they have to pay the full asking price in order to secure a property as they are flying off the shelves so quickly.

“In fact the truth is that these are old listings. They’ve been under offer or sold for weeks, if not months, and the agent is trying to mislead you.

“We can all manipulate the data that Rightmove and Zoopla provide to agents as a tool to win instructions, but at what cost?

“Further mistrust and the denigration of our profession by the public.

“It’s unfortunate that the unscrupulous and under-handed tactics of a few dishonest agents tar the majority of honest agents with the same brush.”

Mintz adds: “In the month of November and December there have been several instances of portal juggling in north Manchester in Prestwich, Whitefield and Salford by at least one  well established agent. It’s not right and it needs to stop.”

Mintz urges members of the public who detect portal juggling to contact the industry regulator, NTSEAT.

The full blog is here

The video is at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwx7V5wD9qk&feature=youtu.be

x

Email the story to a friend

55 Comments

  1. AndrewOverman

    Great article. Well done David. Bold step and many more agents should follow suit. Great explainer video too.

    Report
  2. AgentV

    Isn’t it time the major portals started putting explanations and warnings about PJ on their sites. After all …it is their user’s experience they are protecting. They should have a ‘report suspected juggle’ button on each listing. That surely would cut the practice down.

    Strange how the closer it gets to Christmas the more idealistic world I start to think we might live in. Of course disillusionment is always just around the corner.

    Report
    1. P-Daddy

      Quite simple, report the users and abusers….it will be investigated slowly by Rightmove, but it will be investigated. With it happening in so many areas, they can’t keep pace; you are the expert in your area, do a little self policing. I know it is boring, but you need to protect your identity and market share. I flagged a local firm near me who did this with over 40 properties in 1 day! Rightmove say the agent claims they changed their property software so had to reload, which is nonsense as there are other properties that go back to the beginning of the year, so I’m impressed there is selective software available in the market. Their card is marked however…..and so is yours Rightmove!

      You wonder why agents have a bad wrap at the moment…its all self inflicted and rest assured, the public don’t need to be given much leeway in an online world and ‘click button for disatisfaction’ to voice their outrage.

      My advice, do something about.

      Report
      1. PeeBee

        “…the agent claims they changed their property software so had to reload, which is nonsense as there are other properties that go back to the beginning of the year, so I’m impressed there is selective software available in the market.”

        Yeah – funny you should mention that, P-Daddy.  I’m currently having a very close look at a company that apparently uses this “selective software”…

        I relation to reporting users and abusers, I’m currently Tweeting properties with ‘unusual activity’ direct to Rightmove.  Yesterday, I asked them publicly whether anyone was actually reading these Tweets… and the following response – from @RightmovePro – was received:

        “Hi there – yes, all the properties flagged up to this account get passed on to our Data Quality team for review”

        Churchill most famously said

        “…whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills…”

        I say we’re fighting a great fight, right here on EYE!

        Social media isn’t a bad place to kick up a stink either – but always tag @PropIndEye in!

        Report
        1. P-Daddy

          Well said PeeBee. Make sure you go direct the quality control as well, you WILL get an answer and feedback and shows it is a serious complaint. Dataquality Dataquality@Rightmove.co.uk

           

          Remember, the portals need accurate data, when they report to the Stock Market, active properties and market share are just as important to them for accuracy. Imagine what would happen to their integrity and share price if the city thought the number of houses for sale and rent were inaccurate….. and they weren’t policing it correctly!! This will answer some of the following questions posed by Undercover agent

          Report
  3. sb007ck

    A great piece of work by David. Unfortunately though i feel there are 2 massive obstacles we, as genuine agents face. Firstly overall, the general public are not interested in the subject of portal juggling, even when having it explained to them, most don’t see the issue. B) The major portals, for all their rhetoric, also don’t seem that interested.

    The bodies that govern our industry, need to step up here and rather than just chat away at conferences, punish those that do this.

    Report
  4. Ric

    I hate to say, there is a way to have the portals take note and see how they deal with it……

    For every portal juggle in your area, portal juggle 2 back at em….. I know I know, 2 wrongs don’t make a right bla bla….

    So when RM and alike finally get a bit fed up that their data is bonkers and they do try and do what some fear “take it out on the smaller firms”, we then have a straight forward case of “discrimination” for treating one client differently to another and raise a whole new case.

    So, let the “JuggleWars” begin…..

    Oh and RM, you could also, simply change your software to not trigger a “newly listed” date when a sale falls through and simply show the original listing date! That’s one of the problems which RM cause as their system is actually wrong, I had a fall through recently, resold next day – looked like a portal juggle…. I even phoned RM to tell em it was genuine!

    Anyway, I think jugglewars would be fun…

    Report
    1. undercover agent

      Rightmove like to advertise themselves as getting lots of “new” instructions, so not in their short term interests to do the right thing.

      Report
      1. AgentV

        Unfortunately never is in the best interests of businesses to do the right thing, is it?

        Report
    2. Chrispy

      I was told yesterday that RM are changing their rules to have a 14 week window for listing being new to market, anyone else heard this?

      Report
      1. AgentV

        Can you explain further Chrispy. Does this mean you can juggle as many times as you want in the 14 week window, but not after that (like a juggle ‘Purge’) …or you have to have  at least 14 weeks between each juggle?

        Report
        1. Ric

          #JugglePurge love it.

          Report
      2. Woodentop

        OFT used to allow a maximum of 4 weeks as a new on the market/instruction under Estate Agent practice orders.

        Report
      3. smile please

        Makes no difference Agent V – Increasing to 14 weeks. – Some companies list multi cards of the same property.

        I think what is being missed here with portal juggling is its not your local competitor trying to get a property to the top of the listings (as annoying as that is)

         

        *** PLEASE READ ***

        The reason some companies “Portal Juggling” is to inflate their stock levels so they can show they are NUMBER 1 in an area so they gain more instructions on valuation or they can say to investors they are taking on hundreds if not thousands a month meaning they are a good investment.

        If you uploaded 10 properties every night for a month at 12:01am and took them off at 06:59am same day. End of the month you will be showing you have took on close to 300 properties AND sold them. This will also be verified by the portal.

        This would help any high street office let alone a national brand – This is what portal juggling is, NOT the agent next door that manipulates the system on a small scale.

         

         

         

        Before this comment gets removed i have not highlighted who may or may not do this this is purely about portal juggling NOT who is doing it.

         

        Report
        1. AgentV

          Out of interest, is there any indication comments about Mr ‘whoever’ have previously been removed? If so, for what reason?

          Report
    3. PeeBee

      “Anyway, I think jugglewars would be fun…”

      Now, now, Ric! – in the words of Dr Bruce Banner…

      ‘Don’t make me angry.  You wouldn’t like me if I’m angry’

      Report
  5. Frown Please

    In the voice of Craig Charles:

    ‘Portal Jugglers stand by… three… two… one… JUGGLE’

    Report
  6. 123430

    I think agents should create a name and shame charter for agents with supporting evidence to weed out the rogue agents. I can name many with listings from 2014 coming on and on and on.

    Report
    1. Frown Please

      Anyone who still has listings from 2014 should not be an agent!

      Report
      1. 123430

        Exactly. They are not agents and tar the names of those who do a good job. It’s also the fake and phantom listings dodgy agents put up to pretend to have ‘market share’… the ones with pictures of a random building, the local bus stop, a coffee shop but not the actual property they are ‘supposed’ to sell. These are the ones we need to name and shame…

        Report
    2. paddymcpad81

      Ive got a competitor with one up since 2008 and its been off the market for years

      Report
      1. Frown Please

        Which makes no sense. Obscuring there time to sell by ~8 Years…

        Report
        1. paddymcpad81

          exactly! ive left them to it lol

          Report
          1. Frown Please

            I think it’s probably safe to leave them to ‘juggle’. Don’t think they have got the idea how it is supposed to work.

            Report
  7. AgentQ73

    Couldn’t agree more with the sentiment, however I would be intrigued to know the reason why all Normie & Co sold properties got reuploaded on the 30/11 ???????

    Report
    1. agentofintegrity13

      Strangely Normie and Co also listed a property on 6/12/16 which is already SSTC ….that same property was listed by them previously on 17/8/16 until 30/11/16

      anyone with RM plus can delve into this agents operating postcodes and find many examples of this happening

      whats actually happening is a Rightmove data glitch which shows properties with a changed status as new listings and it’s affecting lots of agents in some areas

      oh dear false story anyone?

      does anyone at this publication research these stories before they go to print ?

       

      Report
      1. DavidEM97

        Morning Agent of “integrity” get your facts right. Normie & Co publicly declared that they were switching their systems over to a new system and this was unavoidable. We put trading standards and Robert May on notice that this was happening.

        Report
        1. Frown Please

          What about listings prior to 30/11?

           

          Are TS and Policeman Bobby investigating these also?

          Report
          1. DavidEM97

            Anyone who has a query about any of our listings either before or after the 30th of any month is welcome to come to our offices. We will open our files to you.

            Report
            1. Frown Please

              Have downloaded evidence, which office are you able to meet in with your files?

              Report
              1. agentofintegrity13

                This was bound to backfire

                To preach integrity you have to have it in the first place

                I also have evidence so where is this mass meeting taking place ?

                Report
                1. DavidEM97

                  You know where to find me. I’m at 40 Bury Old Road, Whitefield whenever you are ready.

                  Report
                  1. Frown Please

                    Brilliant! Am looking through all listings up to and including 01/11/2016.

                    Please arrange for both branches files to be available.

                    Report
                    1. DavidEM97

                      I don’t know how much more welcoming I can be. The kettle is on. Come on down.

                      Report
                    2. Frown Please

                      Hold of on the kettle for a bit, travel time is more than kettle boiling time.

                      Unless you can Juggle minutes in an hour? 😉

                      Report
                    3. AgentV

                      Hi guys,

                      Hope you shake hands after this, one way or the other.

                      Report
                    4. Kings Road

                      When you stop juggling, it will be nice to see your end of year graph then. I wonder if I may jump ahead of u lol

                       

                      Report
                2. Kings Road

                  Bottom line is the agent in question is a cheap agent so in theory no better than an online call centre agent. SO why expect anymore from them other than the same games that the online companies play. Cheap tricks by a cheap company. Mr “Half a %”

                  Report
              2. agentofintegrity13

                David will be at the whitefield office which is their only high street office

                Confusion may arise from the fact that their website says they have two offices located in Unsworth and whitefield even though one closed 2 years ago  according to the business that now operates there

                Report
          2. Robert May

            With so many service suppliers it isn’t fair to blame everything on either the portals , the agents or the service suppliers so  we look at everything prior to an event and everything after to see what  affects a particular event has.

             

            The switch to Dezrez by Normie was a notified event, we have seen expected  listing changes and unexpected anomalies, they are being investigated.

            Report
    2. paddymcpad81

      As a follower of normie and co on facebook they did advertise at the time that they were moving to a new software so all houses would come off and go on

      Report
      1. AgentQ73

        Apologies to Normie & Co if that is the case,

        Report
  8. Property Paddy

    I also think someone should make it clear to home owners that the low fees offered by on line agents is subject to them using their conveyance services, which is then massively inflated to generate the profit.

    There should be transparency in the fees agents offer vendors. If you charge 1% or 1.5% or 2% plus VAT is it subject to other charges or conditions. If you charge £500, £700 or £1,000 plus VAT is this also subject to other charges or conditions.

    We charge £xxxx plus VAT no sale no fee. We charge x% plus VAT  no sale no fee or we charge £*** plus VAT subject to our terms and conditions- which should be in the same type face and size as everything else.

    BAN THE SMALL PRINT !

    Report
    1. Property Peep

      Remember that the guidance now states we should advertise fees’ inclusive of VAT……..

      Report
      1. Property Paddy

        Don’t be picky !  all our actual paperwork shows fees including VAT in the usual way.

        I’m simply pointing out the on liners (and you know whom I refer to) offer headline grabbing low costs and utterly fail to point out the conditions attached or in tiny print.

         

        Report
  9. Kings Road

    As someone that sells in this area i presume you are talking about X ? Ive had my suspicions about them for the last couple of years, ive seen loads of properties come on by them late at night and then go under offer by the morning. Disgusting.

    Report
  10. Woodentop

    NTSEAT are taking actions, aren’t they? Not a hope of getting to grips, as it is so rife and many man hours they do not have. I blame the web portals for allowing it to happen, they know who is doing it and have always said they would take action … that was a joke! This can be nipped in the bud every quickly … OFT have the power to enforce the web portals,… where are you OFT.

     

    Can anyone remember what OFT stands for!

    Report
  11. Hmmmmmm28

    If you look at Lettings in London then Portal Juggling is rife.   In one London Postcode I  looked at 144 agents with more than one listing 98 agents their was evidence of portal juggling.  This included some big names.

    In the same area I took a sample of properties with an EPC showing 70% had no EPC

    NTSEAT only investigate Estate Agency not Lettings as they only have powers under the Estate Agents Act 1979.  ARLA only take action against an agent once enforcement action takes place and the property ombudsman would only look into if I was a member.

    The only people who have any authority are local trading standards and it would appear they do nothing.  With no one to enforce the law it would appear no one takes any notice of it. 

    Report
  12. AgentV

    I just wonder if there are many agents out there oblivious to the fact that PJ is illegal, and still see it as a legitimate way of boosting interest in their flagging properties.

    The portals need to issue a directive to every agent stating that the practice is condemned, and anyone caught doing it will be penalised. If they did, and continued to state it on a continuous basis, we would know categorically that they were serious about tackling the issue!

    Report
    1. Woodentop

      The first part is easy, many haven’t a clue its illegal. The second was done by RM over a year ago who promised to stamp it out, lol. It was recently circulated by TPO or was I dreaming? No-one has an excuse for portal jugging other than to impress fraudulently.

      Report
  13. PeeBee

    ** JUST RECEIVED THE FOLLOWING EMAIL FROM RIGHTMOVE **

    ‘New 14-week time period to relaunch listings on Rightmove and in property alerts

     
    We are constantly making improvements to the technology that’s used to upload your listings on to Rightmove.

    The latest update to our technology extends the time period that a property can be relaunched as a new instruction, increasing it from two weeks to 14 weeks.

    Why are we doing this?
    We’ve made this change after a number of discussions with agents and with other organisations in the industry. This step will help ensure that home-hunters are seeing the most accurate listings when searching on Rightmove.

    The change will also further improve the accuracy of your market share data and rankings against your competitors in Rightmove Intel.

    What does this mean?
     
    ·     If you have a property for sale that you take off Rightmove and put it back on within 14 weeks, it will display as usual but will keep the original listing date and will not go out in property alerts
     
    ·     If it has been longer than 14 weeks since the property was last listed, it will relaunch, the listing date will be updated and it will be sent out in property alerts
    The change to the time period will affect properties uploaded through agency software and those that are uploaded manually using Rightmove Admin.

    What else have we done?
    We’ve made improvements to the technology we use to more accurately detect relisted properties. This also means that the process will be smoother if you choose to change your software provider that automatically sends your listings to Rightmove via a data feed.

    These changes sit alongside the technology and processes that are already in place to remove hundreds of thousands of properties each year that have been sold or let.

    Rightmove Director Jason Bushby explains:
    “After listening to and reviewing feedback from around the industry we have made the change to 14 weeks to provide users with the most accurate data when they are making property decisions. This will help to prevent any agents who may be deliberately trying to incorrectly relaunch listings and we will be continuing to improve, update and review this technology.”

     

    So… there you go.

    Report
    1. Property Paddy

      There you are then !

      But will it stop the worst offenders ?

       

      Report
      1. PeeBee

        Not even maybe!

        Report
        1. Property Paddy

          Although they would be pretty obvious, even to the powers that be.

          So here’s hoping so.

           

          Report
  14. Hmmmmmm28

    Listed 2nd Nov

    http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-to-rent/property-45753198.html

    Just relisted on the market 14th November

    https://www.onthemarket.com/details/3382956/?utm_campaign=property_alert&utm_content=20161209&utm_medium=email&utm_source=property_alert_ca&utm_term=property

    FOXTONS – Same pics

    LIsted 9th Dec

    http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-to-rent/property-52390648.html

    Listed 14th Jan

    http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-to-rent/property-52605970.html

    KINGHT FRANK

    The same flat – Same description.

    Listed 31st August

    http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-to-rent/property-55883734.html

    2nd Sept

    http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-to-rent/property-44474709.html

    Also this one

    Taken off RM

    http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-to-rent/property-55109356.html

    Relisted and still listed.

    http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-to-rent/property-45375435.html

    If the biggest letting agents in London portal juggle then it is standard practice.

    If anyone was actually looking into this then they would not find it difficult to find offenders.  EVERYONE IS DOING IT.

    Report
X

You must be logged in to report this comment!

Leave a Reply

Thank you for signing up to our newsletter, we have sent you an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Additionally if you would like to create a free EYE account which allows you to comment on news stories and manage your email subscriptions please enter a password below.