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Fake Offers And Misleading Advertising

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I put in a good cash offer on a property last week. The agent suddenly *rustled up* a second *cash* bidder within 10 minutes of me placing my offer. A bidding war ensued that that went to 'sealed bids', in which I bid well over the asking price. I now believe the second bidder was faked, in order to try to get me to hand over details of my private financial information to the EA and to increase my offer. Anyway the agent emailed me to say the vendor accepted the rival offer. However, the agent now refuses to mark the property as 'under offer' on their adverts, despite advice that they could be prosecuted by the Advertising Standards Authority for breaching the advertising code of practice (as corroborated by the ASA). I am also aware that it is an offence to misrepresent an offer or the level of an offer. I suspect that because the vendor got one good cash they became greedy. I am emailing the agent daily requesting they alter their adverts to stop them misleading, and I am taking daily screenshots to present to the ASA as evidence.

Any comment would be welcome?

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Not a helpful comment (sorry) but in your situation I would have not budged from your original cash offer. Maybe in the hope that the supposed second cash bidder might disappear.

Good luck with the complaint to the ASA.

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Buyer's remorse sounds about right. I've been in a similar situation once.

If you feel you have over-bid then there are two options - reduce the offer as soon as you can to something you feel comfortable, and risk losing the place altogether; or gazunder at a late stage and risk sale falling through/all sorts of other grief.

We chose the former, sure enough it did fall through but in the end the seller never got a better offer and she took it off the market (2 years on it's never reappeared). Felt pretty vindicated, we had been pushed up £25k from what I thought was the maximum value of the place, not a huge amount but enough to make me feel queasy over the purchase. It was a lovely place but I couldn't stomach the feeling I'd overbid on it.

Personally I wouldn't get into gazundering unless it was on the basis of some previously unknown or undisclosed information, but it does seem to be a tactic among the unscrupulous.

If this either of these options are too drastic and you are ultimately OK with what you are paying, but remain suspicious of the buyer/agent, then I would suggest you keep looking, take no action re instructing solicitors, mortgage company etc and if/when the estate agent gets shirty about the lack of progress, say you don't want to incur any cost or hassle until you know the vendor/agent is serious about accepting your offer. Should flush out their position re boards, removing SSTC status on rightmove etc. Take no action AT ALL until this is done.

Don't get hung up on suing the estate agent, treat them like you would a turd on the bottom of your shoe, that's about the level of most of their ethics. Assume the worst and you won't be disappointed.

EDIT - I've just realised that they didn't accept your offer, but the 'rival' offer. Just walk away and don't play their games, life's really too short.

Edited by montesquieu

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There is always a second cash buyer who outbids you 10 minutes after your bid. We (a while ago now) bid on a property and 'someone' was willing to offer 10k more. So I said it was fine and they could have the property. One week later the EA called ... On another we offered and it was accepted but the seller pulled out on the day of exchange and put the property back on the market for 5k more than we had offered ... and sold it six months later for 12k less than our offer. We have since bought, agreed price, offer accepted, property no longer advertise, deal done.

No point trying to sue the EA, reduce your offer or withdraw. Oh and as the property is still being advertised your offer has not been accepted .... well it has until a better one comes along where by some miracle you will be the rival offer used to up the price. Silly games, either they want to sell to you and accept your offer or they don't and in this case they don't.

I would not need to sue the EA - I get the impression the ASA is keen to go for a test case, with the intention of making an example to stamp out this behaviour by EAs. Anyway, the EA is clearly worried about a prosocution, and that's reward enough for me. I now don't actually care if I lose the property, I'd just like ti see a public hanging of an EA err I mean justice.

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I would not need to sue the EA - I get the impression the ASA is keen to go for a test case, with the intention of making an example to stamp out this behaviour by EAs. Anyway, the EA is clearly worried about a prosocution, and that's reward enough for me. I now don't actually care if I lose the property, I'd just like ti see a public hanging of an EA err I mean justice.

Well I'm all for an EA hanging 'pour encourager les autres' ... they may have zero ethics but they do believe in self-preservation.

Edited by montesquieu

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Option 1 - There's an even money chance that sooner or later you will be contacted to say the vendor wants to accept your offer. In the same circumstances my revised offer would be at least 10% below my original start point. Non negotiable.

Option 2 - The vendor has no idea about your offer, because the EA has other plans for how things are going to turn out. An obsessive would be tempted to drop a note through the letter box, but the best step is just to ignore it and move on.

.

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Option 1 - There's an even money chance that sooner or later you will be contacted to say the vendor wants to accept your offer. In the same circumstances my revised offer would be at least 10% below my original start point. Non negotiable.

Option 2 - The vendor has no idea about your offer, because the EA has other plans for how things are going to turn out. An obsessive would be tempted to drop a note through the letter box, but the best step is just to ignore it and move on.

.

agree with both of these. I had a 'rival bidder' on a house I bought when I was younger that cost me 20k to 'outbid'. Knowing what I know now, I strongly suspect that it was a fake person and if I had just said "fine, see you later' I would have got the house for the original price offered.

If I was in your shoes, I would drop a letter through the vendors box explaining what you offered, why, and that you hope if the sale falls through they let you know. Use a disposable email address for contact.

Edited by wherebee

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I agree with the above....had the same happen to us a mysterious "cash bidder" emerging just after we had made an offer.

We went back with "Good luck with that" and formally withdrew our offer in writing.

After a couple of weeks we started getting calls saying that the vendor would like us to re-instate our offer.......we had actually found somewhere else in the meantime and so refused to play ball, but I think we could have got them down from the previous level; the house took another 9 months to be listed as "under offer" so I don't think that the mystery cash buyer existed at all.

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I have been told that it is an offence for an agent to misrepresent an offer, its existence or level. Estate agents are clearly breaking the law all over the place, and getting away with it. I doubt they expect to be challenged. The estate Agent in question is encouraging me to take the matter down their internal complaints procedure, which coincidentally is administered by one of the men involved in this potential offence. Criminals policing themselves?

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The Agent is paid for and acting for the Vendor, hence they will use every trick in the book to improve the price. I think that you just have to accept this and act accordingly. The reality is that you can't trust a word they say; hence -

1. We always make offers in writing (by email) as I then have a paper trail of what exactly was said, and hope that the vendor will then get to see exactly what the offer is, in writing.

2. We refuse to invest any money pursuing the purchase (ie. survey, lawyers) until the house is listed sold STC on Rightmove and the agents website.

3. If there is any hint of "we have another offer" shenanigans we just withdraw immediately on the basis that we have been clear about our position to the vendors, and if they don't want to behave reasonably then we don't want to waste our time and money dealing with them.

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The Agent is paid for and acting for the Vendor, hence they will use every trick in the book to improve the price.

In the book "Freakenomics" , Steven Levitt demonstrated through analysis of U.S. data that it is in the best interest of an estate agent to sell fast, and not worth his waiting around or putting in much effort to gain an extra few grand on a house sale. I've even been told what a seller would accept by an agent, so they are no-ones friend, really.

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The vendor did not accept my offer which was £7000 over the asking price. I'm certain it is the only offer on the table. In which case, the asking price would be considered *bait advertising* because the product is not available at the advertised price. Bait advertising is completely illegal in the UK.

Anyhow, I have now written to the vendor saying that if their current sale falls through before I have found something else, I am sure we can come to some arrangement. I have also told them that I would prefer not to deal with their estate agent because I am drawing up a complaint to the ASA, who I understand could prosecute.

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In the book "Freakenomics" , Steven Levitt demonstrated through analysis of U.S. data that it is in the best interest of an estate agent to sell fast, and not worth his waiting around or putting in much effort to gain an extra few grand on a house sale. I've even been told what a seller would accept by an agent, so they are no-ones friend, really.

The chances of your average EA reading that let alone understanding that is what... virtually nil?

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I put in a good cash offer on a property last week. The agent suddenly *rustled up* a second *cash* bidder within 10 minutes of me placing my offer. A bidding war ensued that that went to 'sealed bids', in which I bid well over the asking price. I now believe the second bidder was faked, in order to try to get me to hand over details of my private financial information to the EA and to increase my offer. Anyway the agent emailed me to say the vendor accepted the rival offer. However, the agent now refuses to mark the property as 'under offer' on their adverts, despite advice that they could be prosecuted by the Advertising Standards Authority for breaching the advertising code of practice (as corroborated by the ASA). I am also aware that it is an offence to misrepresent an offer or the level of an offer. I suspect that because the vendor got one good cash they became greedy. I am emailing the agent daily requesting they alter their adverts to stop them misleading, and I am taking daily screenshots to present to the ASA as evidence.

Any comment would be welcome?

1. never look excited when viewing

2 make one offer and never increase it

3 indeed EA`s are scum of the earth , legally we should be allowed to cull the bad ones by force :lol: but hey we can all dream

4 EA will tell you anything to get you to pay more , never fall for it ,

5 lastly it`s just a pile of bricks at the end of the day find another one.

Edited by longgone

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