OFT bans estate agent

Marcia Whyte who ran Executive Estates, Brighton Road, South Croydon, failed to disclose to a potential vendor, promptly and in writing, that she was seeking to acquire his property. An adjudicator found she also failed to disclose her personal interest to a potential purchaser to whom she intended to re-sell the property. Had the transaction proceeded Ms Whyte stood to make a secret profit of £65,000.

In addition, the estate agent received a deposit from the potential purchaser, even though doing so is unlawful where an agent has a personal interest in the property, even when that interest has been duly disclosed.

Mike Haley, OFT Director of Consumer Protection said: 'Estate Agents must immediately disclose to prospective vendors and purchasers that they have a personal interest in the sale of a property they are marketing. This is specifically to prevent them from making a secret profit, as Marcia Whyte would have done in this case. We take seriously any complaints of an estate agent potentially misleading consumers by failing to disclose a personal interest.'