Estate Agent Directors Disqualified
Stephen Jones Director at Richard Worth Estate Agents and Neil Mackenzie Director at Michael Hardy Estate Agents have been disqualified by the Competitive Market’s Authority (CMA) after they both took part in an illegal price fixing cartel.
The pair worked at the agencies from September 2008 to May 2015. A CMA investigation discovered, that it was during these seven years that the pair’s two agencies took part in the cartel.
Working alongside two other local estate agents, they all conspired to set minimum rates for commission of the sale of residential properties in Wokingham, Winnersh, Crowthorne, Bracknell and Warfield.
This meant that homeowners in the affected areas were denied the chance of securing the best possible deal when selling their property because they were unable to meaningfully shop around all their local estate agents for a better commission rate.
Both Mr Jones and Mr Mackenzie have been disqualified for 6 and a half years, and thus cannot act as directors of any companies or get involved in the management of any company in England, Scotland or Wales during this time.
And, as a result, three of the four estate agents – including Richard Worth and Michael Hardy – were fined over £600,000 for their illegal behaviour.
Michael Grenfell, Executive Director of Enforcement, said:
“Selling your home can be a stressful and expensive experience, and one that shouldn’t be made harder by estate agents conspiring to cheat homeowners out of the best deal.
“Company directors have an important responsibility to make sure their firms don’t take part in this kind of anti-competitive behaviour.
“Today’s disqualifications should send a clear message to the sector – stay on the right side of the law or face the consequences.”