In this case, the recently bereaved Seller alleged that the Agent had marketed the property without his authorisation, resulting in a multi-agency commission fee claim from another agent whom he had already instructed.
Following the Agent’s disinstruction, they continued to contact the Seller on a number of occasions, offering to remarket the property and during one conversation, a multi-agency agreement was discussed. The Agent then sent a multi-agency agreement to the Seller who stated that he telephoned the Agent to advise that he did not want them to market the property again. The agreement was left unsigned. However, the Agent claimed that they had received a verbal instruction to market the property and that, as the Seller had experienced a recent bereavement, it was not appropriate for them to chase for a signature. The Agent’s progress notes did record that a discussion took place with the Seller during which he agreed to them remarketing the property.
I appreciated why the Agent may not have wished to trouble the Seller with the completion of the agency agreement; however, they had an obligation, in accordance with Paragraph 1f of the TPO Code of Practice, to take special care when dealing with bereaved clients. As Such, I considered that it was especially important for the Agent to ensure that they were acting in accordance with the Seller’s instructions, and that the Seller understood The implications with regards to the existing agency agreement in favour of another agent. As they had not done so, I considered that the Agent had failed to take sufficient steps to ensure that they had the Seller’s permission to market the property, and I supported this complaint, making an award of £840, being the difference between the sole and multiagency fee charged by the other agent.
When dealing with consumers who could be considered vulnerable, it is an agent’s duty to ensure that special care is taken which is sensitive and appropriate to the particular needs of that consumer. Moreover, an agent should always ensure that they have received the appropriate permission to market a property.