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£22.5k fine for estate agent…

31st August 2018

A recent news story highlights the risks posed by the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations, otherwise known as CPRs.

Enacted in 2014, CPRs replaced the Properties Misdescriptions Act (PMAs).

The PMAs required agents to be truthful about the property but placed the onus on buyers to ask relevant questions in order to uncover anything untoward.

Agents and vendors were protected under a clause known as caveat emptor, or buyer beware

CPRs turns the position on its head prohibits what it describes as unfair commercial practices; an action or omission, whether deliberate or not, that misleads a customer into making a decision that they may otherwise not have made.

In this case, the estate agent in question falsely claimed to have sold property that was not for sale; claimed to have sold home still on the market; and placed For Sale boards outside another home that was not for sale in order to boost his profile.

He admitted four charges of false and misleading advertising under CPR legislation. He has been fined £12,500 which is to be paid in full in the next year or else he will be sent to prison for a year. He must also pay £10,000 towards court costs.

This and other recent cases in the press, including decisions handed down by the Advertising Standards Authority on the accuracy of claims regarding the savings to be had when using online agents vs high street agents, have brought CPRs into the limelight.

When it comes to advertising agents must ensure their adverts are factually accurate and do not mislead prospective customers.

When it comes to listings estate agents and their vendors/landlords must take a more proactive approach and provide information up front which could affect any decision to buy or rent.

The objective is to ensure that customers are treated fairly.

 

Make sure you are treating your customers fairly and staying the right side of compliance. Sign up here to read our latest CPR Case Studies

 

Compliance in a Box from Landmark is the simple pay-as-you-go compliance toolkit.

Make sure you are asking the right questions of your clients, and documenting their response. Compliance Packs help agents fulfil their obligations under CPRs and AML. From one account source:

  • Electronic property information questionnaire & fixtures & fittings form for CPRs
  • Electronic client verification for AML inc PEPs, Sanctions & Checks
  • Land Registry ownership & boundary confirmation
  • Foreign national checks… and more

with a complete time and date stamped audit trail of all compliance activity. Sign up below or contact Samantha Peacock on 01524 220013 / sam.peacock@landmark.co.uk for your no obligation trial.

Register your interest today

 

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