Case reference: MP-G&C/0014
Complaint: OFT own initiative investigation
On 23 July 2013 the OFT opened formal investigations into the business
practices of four national quick house sale companies.
The investigation followed the publication of the OFT's market study
into the quick house sales
The study was launched in April 2013 to find out whether this sector
works well for home sellers given concerns about the risks to sellers in
vulnerable situations, such as older people (for example when they need
to move due to declining health) or those who need to clear debts and/or
avoid repossession. We also noted that where sellers get a bad deal,
they could lose a lot of money.
The Enterprise Act 2002; the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading
Regulations 2008; the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations
1999, Estate Agents Act 1979.
Summary of work
Quick house sale providers, as a distinctive feature of their service,
offer to buy a house or find a third party buyer very quickly, usually
at a discount on the full market value of the property being sold.
Following the investigation by the OFT, Box MX Limited, BTA Properties
Limited, Gateway Homes UK Limited and Property Rescue Limited agreed to
improve their business practices and provided undertakings about their
future behaviour which embed good practice and address wider concerns
highlighted by the
(pdf 800kb) published in August 2013.
The undertakings given include:
- ensuring marketing materials clearly, accurately and prominently set
out the key information and risks relating to the sales process
- conducting valuations in a fair and professional manner, and in good
- promptly sharing relevant information about the progress of the sale,
including anything that might affect the final offer price or
- promising not to reduce conditional or final offer prices without a
The businesses engaged constructively with the OFT during its
investigation and the signed undertakings will provide greater clarity
and confidence to consumers considering a quick house sale. No
admissions have been requested by the OFT, nor made by the companies, as
to liability in respect of past conduct.
Published 17 December 2013