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Aston Lawyer
Aston Lawyer, Property Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 1714
Experience:  LLB(HONS) 23 years of experience in dealing with Conveyancing and Property Law
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We used an Estate Agent to sell my deceased parents house.

Customer Question

We used an Estate Agent to sell my deceased parents house.They told us not worry if we didn't sell the house immediately, August was a very quiet month. We took their advice at the price we marketed. We told them very clearly, time wasn't an issue.After 4 weeks, toward the end of August we had a phone call, stating that due to lack of interest, we should drop the price. I replied my answer was "No" but that I would need to contact my two sisters as it was also their decision, I would call them back.I did not call back. We had an offer on the house in September, when we found out the marketed price of the house had been dropped without our consent.I complained to the Estate Agents (along with other issues). In line with their process I contacted the Branch Manager. Having waiting four weeks for a response (their procedure stated 15 days), I progressed to Regional Manager (in line with Stage 2 of their process). They referred back to the Branch Manager, who rang me, explained the Branch Manager, with whom I had been dealing, was no longer with the company & he would investigate. He came back and told me the computer showed that I had agreed to reduce the house. I rejected this explanation and referred to the MD's office (Stage 3 of their complaints). The MD's Secretary then referred this back to the Regional Manager. This was in October 2015!. Finally in November (well after the 15 days stated in their procedures) I received a reponse from their Regional Director, basically stating that the Computer advised their Branch Manager agreed the reduction with myself, they offered £150 reduction on the bill (house had sold). I rejected this, the MD's Secretary then replied she would forward to the MD on 30th November (although we are now well outside of their process) I had no response. The Estate Agent have raised a claim on us for the outstanding bill. This is with County Court. We have filed a defence. We sent a letter to the Property Ombudsman with all the details. We have since received a response from both the Legal Department and the MD's office of the Estate Agent, offering us £200 reduction in the fee, and they will remove the interest on the account and court fees in full settlement.
The Ombudsman has advised that they cannot progress until the court case is resolved, so we can either pay the fee, WITHOUT PREDJUICE and they can investigate, or we can go to Court and they can then investigate, but WILL NOT take into account any elements covered by the court.We have twice asked the Estate Agents for copies of all records and documents WITH COMPUTERISED time/date stamps and have been ignored.The Estate Agents have sent us copies of "letters" undated and unsigned that we have never received.We really want to take this to court, my husband is so angry at being called a liar and at the underhanded way this has been dealt with.The main element of the case rests on the fact that the Estate Agent say the call was made (by a Manager no longer working for them), my husband says that he didn't receive the call (I was with him). We believe that to have a strong case we need to show that the call did not happen. Our phone providers (BT and 02) advise they cannot provide a list of incoming calls for security purposes. The Estate Agent will not provide copies of computerised records (despite advising of Data Protection Act). We are aware that if we proceed with the Ombudsman any offers are off the table. Our questions:1. Could we raise a Small Claims Court Case against the Estate Agents for not complying with Data Protection Act.
2. Can we use the Legal System to request copies of Incoming calls from BT and 02.
3. Does the Property Ombudsman need physical evidence from either my husband or The Estate Agent to prove which is lying or can he make a judgement?
4. If the Property Ombudsman finds the claim is validated, can he order The Estate Agents to pay compensation to my husband
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. What is the exact breach of the data protection rules you believe they are guilty of?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
We believe that they are guilty of:We believe our main case would be Fraud - Abuse of position of trust, in that the Estate Agents abused their authority by reducing the price of the property without our consent.At the moment it is their word against ours.I have now twice asked copies of the files etc under Data Protection Act 1998 - we believe that the computerised time/date stamps will show documents since sent to us, were sent after the property price was reduced and that documents they claim to have "sent" at the time were created AFTER we complained.We wish to obtain a copy of the Incoming Calls to our landline and mobile phone as a way of showing that the calls, the Agents claim to have made, were not actually made.At the moment there are discrepancies in the three responses we have had, but these are not particularly "large" discrepancies. The phone records and computerised date/time stamps may be very important.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.

I have looked into your query in more detail but unfortunately it is not something I can assist with. I will therefore ‘opt out’ and a colleague better placed to deal with the nature of your query should hopefully pick this up soon. Please do not reply in the meantime as that will just assign the question back to me and you will experience a delay. Thank you

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