Q: I am dissatisfied with the level of service I received from my estate agent when selling my house. Who can I complain to?
The Ombudsman for Estate Agents (OEA) deals with any complaints against estate agents.
At the moment membership of the OEA is not compulsory, and the OEA can only adjudicate on complaints against their members. However from October 2008 it will become compulsory for Agents to be members, also the OEA will be given greater powers of redress.
Firstly you would need to complete a complaints form, this is available on the website (see link below or ring 01722 333306 ).
The OEA would hope to settle any dispute in a full and final settlement. Sometimes it may be possible to do so by mediation. Usually both sides of the dispute will be heard and a written decision will be made.
If the Ombudsman supports your decision he can award compensation up to a maximum of £25,000.
This means that any decision the Ombudsman makes is binding to the estate agent, however a complainant can choose to reject the decision and take the complaint to court.
Once the complaint is submitted it does not necessarily mean the Ombudsman will automatically support it. It could find that fault lies elsewhere ie solicitors, building societies, the other party or even you.
The Ombudsman will not support a complaint not backed up by documentary evidence
The OEA’s approved redress scheme will be a free service to complainants.
It would make sense for anyone looking to use an estate agent to check that they are a member of the OEA. This ensures that estate agent adheres to best practice guidelines and has good customer service standards.