Gavin Callaghan today added his support to consumers in the housing market by banning the practice of double charging by Estate Agents, where agents charge both buyers and sellers fees for arranging the sale of the same property. Responding to plans by Labour in Parliament to amend the Consumer Rights bill to protect people Gavin said:

“Everyone has heard horror stories about buying a home- but the kinds of behaviours we’re seeing now with fees and charges are fast becoming a nightmare. Charging buyers a fee on top of the price of their new home means they have to offer a lower price to sellers. The only people who do well out of these deals are the agents who get a nice fat fee from billing both the buyer and the seller.

“Its costs like these that can make it harder for people in Basildon and Billericay to get on and up the property ladder. That’s why I can’t believe the Government refused to listen to Labour’s calls to deal with this. They might be turning a blind eye to this, but we won’t – Labour has put forward plans to use the Consumer Rights Bill to end double charging.”

Parliament will vote on Monday 16 June 2014 on Labour’s plans to end double charging. Labour’s Shadow Minister for Competition and Consumer Affairs, Stella Creasy, has led efforts in Parliament to get a fair deal for both sellers and buyers by banning this practice and ensuring there is no conflict of interests where agents are acting for both parties.

Gavin also suggested residents who have seen these problems report them to the Property Ombudsman, stating :

“We have already reported the examples of these problems to the Property Ombudsman, but I also urge anyone in our community affected by these practices to complain as well so that we can gather more evidence of just how widespread these kinds of contracts and charges are.”

Gavin stated that the Property Ombudsman could be contacted on the following details: The Property Ombudsman
Milford House
43-55 Milford Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP1 2BP or via Telephone 01722 333306

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