New redress scheme 'to keep estate agents in line'

Posted: 22 Aug 2008 13:13:54 GMT

            Property News - New redress scheme 'to keep estate agents in line'

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has given approval to a new redress scheme because of the growing number of complaints being lodged by buyers and sellers against estate agents.

The Ombudsman Service Limited (OSL) will set up an independent service to resolve disputes that arise between consumers and agents. It will cover all firms regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics).

Elizabeth France, chief ombudsman for the OSL's Surveyors Ombudsman Service (SOS), said: "We are delighted the OFT has recognised the SOS as a scheme which can make a real difference to the way estate agents handle complaints.

"We offer a robust process; we know how to talk to consumers whose complaints have not been resolved; we have systems which are tailored to our needs; and an approach to dispute resolution which has been proven to work across different industry sectors."

Residential buyers and sellers will be able to use the free service if they have a dispute which a member estate agent fails to resolve, but the two parties must first attempt to resolve any grievances between themselves.

In other news, online change of address service has suggested that the housing market needs access to more mortgage finance if it is to adequately recover.

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