Survey suggests conditional selling ‘getting worse’

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According to a survey by Access Financial Services, 63% of mortgage advisers said that their clients have experienced conditional selling in the six months from November 2023 to May 2024

A survey has suggested that the unlawful practice of conditional selling by estate agents is getting worse and harming customers.

Conditional selling is when an estate agent tells a potential buyer that they must use the agent’s in-house broker in order for their offer to be put forward on a property.

As per a survey by Access Financial Services, 63% of Access Financial Services mortgage advisers surveyed said that their clients have experienced conditional selling in the six months from November 2023 to May 2024. Of that group, 100% of advisers said it caused their client harm such as stress, hassle or confusion.

33% of advisers surveyed believe that conditional selling has got worse in the last six months until May. 30% do not know, and 4% think it is getting better.

Moreover, 83% of mortgage advisers feel like there are some estate agencies where conditional selling is almost standard practice.

Karl Wilkinson, Chief Executive Officer of Access Financial Services, noted: Something is broken in the property industry when this practice continues after 20 months of our campaigning against conditional selling, and developing tools and processes to safeguard advisers and their clients.

A significant minority of estate agents are being allowed to continue to negatively impact our industry. This has to stop, he said.

He added: Conditional selling is morally wrong and a clear breach of Consumer Duty as well as The Property Ombudsman’s Code of Practice and the Estate Agents Act 1979. What other industry puts up with this kind of harmful behaviour? We can do better.

To help counter conditional selling, Access Financial Services has created two free letter templates for financial advisers and their clients – one to estate agents making them aware of the situation and, failing a positive response, a second letter to request support from the property ombudsman.

When asked to describe experiences of conditional selling in the last six months, advisers referenced customers who were denied the opportunity to buy a property because they refused to choose the agent’s broker.

Another adviser referred to a series of FTBs, all of whom felt pressured into using the agent’s inhouse adviser.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by our writers are their own and do not represent the views of Getting Money Wise. The information provided on Getting Money Wise is intended for informational purposes only. Getting Money Wise is not liable for any financial losses incurred. Conduct your own research by contacting financial experts before making any investment decisions.

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