Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Director Banned From Acting As Estate Agent

Sharon Price, the Director of Huntingdon-based Price Property Rentals Ltd has been banned by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) from ever engaging in estate agency work again.

The ban follows a prosecution in June 2011 by Cambridgeshire County Council Trading Standards in which Price was fined £6,000, ordered to pay £2,000 court costs and disqualified from acting as Director of a company for the maximum 5 years.

The court heard from prosecutor Mike McGee that landlords, tenants and contractors were left out of pocket by Price - "such was the chaotic and shambolic way that the company was mismanaged".

Sixty percent of claims made by landlords and tenants to the National Association of Estate Agents were able to be settled - with a total value of £94,000. However, Cambridgeshire Trading Standards referred the case to the OFT with the intention of preventing further harm to other legitimate businesses and consumers. As a result Sharon Price now faces a lifetime ban from working as an estate agent.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Mathew Shuter, Cabinet Member for Enterprise said "Whilst the court recognised Sharon Price's misdemeanours when they fined her during the Trading Standards prosecution of June 2011, it was important to ensure that Price could not be allowed to commit similar offences in the future. Trading Standards has a role to help protect legitimate and well run businesses as well as consumers, from being harmed by traders such as this. We welcome the OFT's ban on Sharon Price ever being involved in estate agency work again."

Mike Coates, Assistant Director in the OFT's Goods and Consumer Group said "Estate agents must treat their clients and contractors they employ fairly and people renting, selling and buying properties need to know that the estate agent is honest and trustworthy. The OFT, working together with the Trading Standards Service, will continue to take tough action against estate agents who flout the law."