Assuming that the buyer was indeed introduced by the original agent and only went through the later agent because the property was now sold through the later agent, then the initial agent is indeed entitled to some money.
It would be extremely unusual however for the agent to simply send a debt collector’s letter or solicitors letter demanding the money before they asked for it from you.
You haven’t mentioned whether they have sent a letter asking for the money first but to go straight to debt collectors is clearly unreasonable.
Let me just tell you now, I have no sympathy with estate agents or their contracts. I think they are pondlife.
However although you say they never sold the property, they did introduce the buyer.
My view therefore is that it’s not so much a case of do you pay them and are they entitled, it’s more a case of how much it’s worth.
They probably didn’t do very much with regard to viewings et cetera et cetera et cetera but they did introduce the client and therefore, whilst they may not be entitled to the full amount, they are almost certainly entitled to something.
What I wouldn’t do is make them an offer. I would send them a cheque. And I wouldn’t send it to the legal firm either I would send it to the agent.
I would probably send them GBP500 in a cheque telling them that it’s in full and final settlement and that by the action of cashing it they accept it as such and if they don’t, they should return it to you and you will defend the action on the basis that they introduced the buyer which did not proceed and that the buyer that proceeded was a result of the later introduction not their introduction.
Having a cheque in the hand for GBP500 rather than a court argument for GBP2000, particularly when they didn’t actually do any work on this, is a particularly powerful incentive to cash the cheque and if they catch it, that’s the end of it.
You need to mark the letter Without Prejudice Save as to Costs and then they cannot produce it in court as any kind of evidence that you owe anything.
If they do not accept it, it’s up to them to take it to court and up to you to defend it.
Thank you for letting me assist you with your legal question. I am glad that I was able to help.
I am not certain whether that answers the question for you or not, but I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.
It will be my pleasure to help you again either further with this or any future questions you have