Connells (or Agent Orange cont/d)

May 18th, 2006 at 4:34 pm by james

Witness the following events:

  • The lead negotiator for one of St Albans’ premier agencies (which shall for the moment remain nameless), Connells, visits to perform and valuation, expresses great interest and enthusiasm and a willingness to visit us the following night to complete paperwork.
  • The following afternoon when his staff are pressed he returns calls. He is unavailable to visit that evening and the day after is on holiday. He agrees to a reduction of both his commission and the period of his sole agency and assures us that a day’s delay will not stop his committed team arranging viewings for the weekend.
  • He duly arrives to sign paperwork two days later having apparently forgotten the detail of the agreement he had struck on the phone. Fortunately Michelle and I do talk even if his ears and his brain don’t …
  • Come the weekend our house isn’t listed on the websites promised, details are not available and, unsurprisingly, no viewings are arranged.
  • Over the following three weeks of their four week contract Connells managed to arrange all of four viewings and provide precisely no feedback despite numerous calls
  • On 10/04 we gave written notice of termination effective on 23/04. We had the presence of mind to hand the letter to a negotiator and get a signed receipt
  • I interrupt this broadcast here to point out the depths of Connells laziness. Did they call to renegotiate or perhaps ask why we’d given notice? Did they put in a flurry of activity to try to sell before the end of their contract? Well, it turns out – the property market being what it is – that they don’t have to actually work for a living. But back to the story …

  • On Monday 24/4, having heard nothing I called to request removal of the sign and of our listings on the websites. Action was promised immediately. We called again on the 27th and again the following week.
  • On Sunday 7/05 we got voicemail that Connells had arranged a viewing. Michelle was in town so dropped in to explain that any leads would go through our new sole agents. The girls working Sunday could apparently not see the legal logic of this statement and threatened to escalate to their boss, John, who started this all – an offer Michelle welcomed.
  • When by 4.30 John hadn’t called I called him on his mobile (never delete a number someone’s let slip). I instructed him to remove us from sites immediately and asked him to call back next day to ensure he’d understood. He promised to call first thing. We removed the sign ourselves.
  • I received no calls from Connells the next day
  • I left a message on Wednesday for John to call back, which he again failed to do.
  • On Thursday the Connells sign was.put.back.up. …
  • … now this is now not just annoying it’s illegal. And all the time Connells is taking leads from us: “Ummm. No, that one’s not avalable any more but could I interest you in …”

  • I phoned John on his mobile and explained to him that if we weren’t removed from all Connells listings overnight I would write to the OEA, Waller, and Rightmove detailing in full their misconduct and breaches of the OEA code. I also let him know that if the sign wasn’t down the next day I would take it down myself, bring it into his offices on Saturday morning and explain in front of his customers exactly why I was doing so.

We were taken off the sites overnight. The sign was down by lunch.

I still dream occassionally about doing battle with estate agents. Should it have taken this much time and persuasion? I would have thought that being an unregulated industry places the onus on so-called reputable companies such as Connells to put in place the internal controls they require to at least ensure that their people don’t break the law, and perhaps to provide an acceptable level of customer service.

I considered listing all the laws and guidelines they’re in breach of, but that feels like far too much effort …

Comments are closed.