DEA hits out at 'unethical' marketing of online agent

Friday 17 July 2015

A domestic energy assessor has hit out at an online estate agent accusing it of ‘disgraceful behaviour.’

Stuart Halsey, from Dorset, says that an EPC provider offered him work carrying out energy assessments for residential homes, which he was happy to do.

But he was shocked when he then received an email asking him to persuade homeowners who were selling to use its sister company, an online estate agent, to list their home. For any customers that did move to it’s sister company, Stuart was offered £100.

Stuart - who began carrying out EPC work last February - said that he was not tempted. “I rang and told them what I thought about it all. They tried to play it down but I was disgusted by the whole concept.”

“Most of the jobs are usually for people who are wanting to sell their home, and often it will be their estate agent who arranges for it to take place,” he explained.

After a while, he said, the company in question offered him £25 for each assessment he carried out on their behalf. Included in part of a pack Stuart was given was a section called ‘Typical questions.’ The first is: ‘I’ve already instructed an estate agent, can I still use [your agent]?’

It goes on to explain to energy assessors that they give three different options where their sister company can be used as well as another estate agent, and one which comprises a sole agency agreement.

Stuart felt the whole arrangement was ‘unethical.’

“As energy assessors we’re only a small part of the chain, but we have a code of conduct,” he said. “We are specifically prohibited from doing anything like this.”

Mark Hayward, Managing Director of NAEA said:
“This is a very worrying development and makes it clear that it is more important than ever that agents are aware of the intentions of any contractors that they are sending in to client’s homes.”