Despite all the ‘reassurance’ of a flash High Street office supported by membership of a certain trade body, it appears that such things are now little comfort to the many who have suffered at the hands of a National Association of Estate Agents member who has run off with £90,000 of client money.

Sharon price was fined £3,000 by magistrates and was chastised for keeping inadequate records, misleading customers and running a ‘chaotic and shambolic’ business.

Given the scrutiny that is supposed to be a ‘given’ by membership of such oversight, it is startling that these instances are allowed to progress to the stage that many people have lost out financially, all the while that the member agent professes reassurance from the NAEA logo on her letterhead. The NAEA website states that membership of its association is reassurance that ‘you are dealing with a professional agent who adheres to the highest standards in the industry’.

Something needs to be seriously looked at here or else one might conclude that the NAEA is just a means of enticing subscriptions from its members but with little if anything in return as far as consumer comfort and redress is concerned.

The Emoov position is one of membership of the Property Ombudsman Scheme. An association that, unlike the NAEA, can enforce a binding compensation order against agents that transgress, in favour of the consumer. This is far more a deterrent from impropriety than a ‘stern letter’ here and there.

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