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TPO revises fees, charges more for agents who generate complaints

Monday 18 November 2019

The Property Ombudsman (TPO) scheme’s fees will increase in January for the first time in six years. A fair usage policy will also be implemented, meaning those who generate the most complaints will pay more for their membership. Propertymark members will retain their membership discount.

The basic fee will increase from £195 to £225, but discounts will be available to Propertymark members, as happens now, or by organisation size.

TPO states that enquiries and complaints have risen by 73 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively, since 2014.  This, combined with a strategy for investment and improvement and increased running costs, increased charges.

Property Ombudsman finance and performance committee chair Gerry Fitzjohn said: “TPO is a not-for-profit Ombudsman scheme, therefore the revised fee structure is based on Ombudsman principles of fairness, effectiveness, openness, and transparency, rather than profit-making principles. We understand that agents’ costs have been stretched over the last few years, so increasing fees is not a decision which has been taken lightly but is absolutely necessary to ensure a properly resourced scheme is in place.”

TPO’s new fair usage policy will enable up to three Ombudsman-supported complaints per branch, per renewal year.

Branches that generate more than three Ombudsman-supported complaints will pay more towards the cost of the scheme. There will be no additional charge for cases that are not supported or those which end at early resolution.

TPO believes that, based on current complaint figures, this will only impact 0.23 per cent of single branch members, but hopes it will act as an incentive to drive better service to consumers and encourage agents to resolve complaints at an earlier stage.  It says the new fee structure will reflect the true cost of dealing with complaints and in the future, annual reviews will take into account inflation to avoid significant periodic increases.  

Propertymark complaints advice

Propertymark has a guide for consumers on how to deal with complaints they may have during a property sale, purchase or rental.

View the guide