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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I'm being chased by an estate agent fee that I do not

Resolved Question:

I'm being chased by an estate agent for a fee that I do not believe I owe. The agent (Austin & Wyatt) came to my house for a valuation, they told me during this valuation that they had 2 people who would be interested in the property. I explained I was unlikely to use them as I wanted to use an online agent at a much lower fee. He said they could get me £450,000 for the house without it even going on the market. He said I had nothing to lose and that there would be no commitment. I agreed to let them show the property to the potential buyers. The day before the first buyer was going to view he came round with a contract, I wasn't expecting to sign a contract based on our discussion but he assured me it was non committal as it was a "0 days" contract so I signed this. The buyer viewed the property but didn't make an offer and the second viewing didn't materialise. As such I cancelled the contract with Austin & Wyatt within 14 days under the Consumer Protection (Information, Cancellations and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013. I subsequently put the property on the market with Purplebricks who took the photos, put the marketing together, advertised the property and arranged an open day. The original viewer came back and arranged a viewing on the open day with Purplebricks and proceeded to make an offer of £425,000 which I accepted.
I was then notified by Austin & Wyatt that I would have to pay their fee if I sold to this person as they had made the introduction (their contract does state that in the event of me using another agent they are still able to claim their fee for 6 months). I said this was not my understanding as I cancelled the contract under the Consumer Protection Regulations and that this would render the contract as though it did not exist in the first place. They haven't responded to this point other than to send debt collectors after me and are currently threatening court action. I really need to know if my understanding of cancelling the contract under the regulations is correct (that any clauses within are negated) or if they are still able to claim their fee?
Their fee is £4800 inc VAT.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you.

Just to be clear you cancelled the contract. Who introduced this person?

Alex

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Austin & Wyatt introduced them originally but they didn't make an offer at the time so I cancelled the contract then. The buyer then came back and viewed through Purplebricks who made the effective introduction. Just to check on the 'live discussion' - is the cost in addition to the deposit I've paid already or an alternative?
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.

If you want a phone call its an additional cost service. But you can keep it online.

Just to be clear you cancelled with Austin and they accepted it?
Alex

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have confirmation from them that I cancelled the contract.
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.

And there are no residual clauses after the contract has ended?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Their contract does state that in the event of me using another agent that I'm liable to pay their fee for anyone they introduced that went on to exchange within 6 months. The specifics of my question really are around the effects of cancellation within 14 days under the Consumer Protection Regulations. Are these clauses still applicable or are they rendered ineffective along with the rest of the obligations under the contract?
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.

No, but unless there any clause which says it survives after termination then you dont need to worry.

You cancelled the contract and therefore are not liable.

If it went to Court it would be a small claim so you wouldnt need Solicitors etc.

They would have to show that their clause defeated the cooling off period.

They can't.

Therefore they are likely to lose.

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Alex

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I just want to ensure that I haven't explained their terms incorrectly regarding any potential clauses which says it survives after termination. I've copied out the relevant text from the contract below, this is the only reference to the clause."2.2 The seller will be liable to pay the Commission Fee to the Agent, in addition to any other costs or charges agreed, in each of the following circumstances:-If unconditional contracts for the sale of the Property are exchanged after the expiry of the period during which the Countrywide Agency is in force but to a Buyer who was introduced to the Seller during that period or with whom the Agent had negotiations about the Property during that period."They use the term 'expiry', my understanding would be that's the end of the agency period and not relevant if cancelled under the Consumer Protection Regulations. Does this change things at all?
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.

No - my answer remains.

Alex

Ash and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Great, thanks. It's the same answer a local solicitor gave me. I just wanted to double check really before being prepared to go to court over it.