Agents disappointed with performance of OnTheMarket
11 Apr 2016
Agents are disappointed with the performance of OnTheMarket (OTM), and are forming an action group to try to exit their contracts with the platform.
Some agents have become impatient with the platform’s failure to achieve its promised targets, and gain brand awareness with home buyers. They said more than a year after OTMs launch, it has lost its ambition to become the U.K.’s No. 2 platform.
In addition, the platform is believed to have offered lower subscription rates to new members, which is a breach of a guarantee to early adopters that they would pay the lowest subscription rates as an inducement to signing up early.
An industry consultant said he has been asked to form an action group of OTM agents wanting to withdraw from the platform.
Iain White, an industry veteran and former managing director at Romans and Countrywide, said he was helping the group, because several of his current clients are OTM members anxious to leave.
The mutiny appears to have been initiated by a legal notice issued by solicitors acting for Agents’ Mutual, the owner of OTM, to agents who have allegedly taken down listings, not paid subscription fees, or who were advertising on more than one other major platform in contravention of their agreements.
White said Agents’ Mutual might be breaching its own contract with agents and said an action group would be much more powerful in negotiating with the Agents’ Mutual, and could pool resources if a legal challenge were required.
“I’m led to believe that there could be grounds for legal action against Agents’ Mutual based on the pledge that many early joiners received, saying they would receive beneficial rates. Fees to the platform were apparently going to rise after its launch – in effect guaranteeing early members would always be paying the lowest subscription rates.
“However, we believe that many of the most recent recruits pay only £50 per month, far below the rate of earlier members. This is a breach by Agents’ Mutual of their own contract and renders it potentially liable to having to pay back original loan notes, and all subscriptions paid to date.
“Some of these agents are now being chased for payments, which I believe wouldn’t stand the test of legal action in light of Agents’ Mutual breaching its own contract.”
Estate Agent Today approached Agents’ Mutual for a response on the matter, but the platform declined to comment.