A couple have complained in their local newspaper that they lost out on buying a property because they refused to use the estate agent’s own mortgage broker.
The agent, Connells, says it is looking into the complaint, although emphasising that Connells’ in-house mortgage services are entirely optional.
The pair, Chris Cunningham and Becky Isaac, claim they were told their offer on a property had been accepted.
They say they were then told the property would not be taken off the market unless they used Connells own mortgage services.
Mr Cunningham said: “We refused because we already had an independent broker lined up.”
The pair have reportedly made a formal complaint to Connells.
The paper went to the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team at Powys County Council for an opinion, and was told that it is not illegal for an estate agent to say they will keep a property on the market unless a buyer uses the agent’s in-house mortgage broker.
Connells said the couple’s offer had not been accepted by the vendor, but is investigating.
A spokesperson said: “We take every customer complaint extremely seriously and we are very keen to look into this fully. However, I have spoken to the branch manager who has informed me that Mr Cunningham’s offer was never formally accepted by the vendor and that the vendor accepted another offer for a significantly higher amount.
“There was a flat fee commission rate attached to this property so a higher price would not have meant a higher commission for Connells.”
“Connells’ in-house mortgage services are entirely optional and have no bearing whatsoever on a buyer’s ability to secure a property through one of our branches. Staff are instructed to treat all buyers equally, regardless of whether they opt to use additional services or not.”