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Complaint against Ombudsman Services Property


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Well I have decided that if I can't get justice I will at least name and shame them look up about-esurv.com. I expect to be sued but hey ho, at least I will have some fun in the meantime! You have just got to love the world wide web sometimes... :wink:

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Ok, I'm in for a fight and I'm not looking forward to it!

 

I've not heard back from the Ombudsman yet but I've heard back from Citizens Consumer Advice and they said it's outside of their area of knowledge. I will contact Shelter tomorrow as well. I'm hoping that Ombudsman will be keen to investigate this because the address that is registered to them for the agency is different to the one I went to and this agency only has one branch.

 

If all fails, my friend is a member of the press. Maybe they will respond better to her? I'm not sure. I wouldn't like to go through small claims court.

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[quote=girlsjustwannahavefun;3430597

 

I for once had a complaint which was resolved by this Ombudsman. Although it was eventually resolved, it took a while since the investigating officer (i feel tempted to name and shame here) dragged her feet until the Lead Ombudsman had to intervene. :mad2:

 

 

 

We're going through a similar nightmare with the Ombudsman Services Property and would love to know how you managed to get the lead ombudsman involved as there is no way we will get anywhere if the case is reviewed by the same officer who is clearly biased in favour of the firm.

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We're going through a similar nightmare with the Ombudsman Services Property and would love to know how you managed to get the lead ombudsman involved as there is no way we will get anywhere if the case is reviewed by the same officer who is clearly biased in favour of the firm.

 

It's very difficult - at the moment, it's a three stage process. Each time they issue a provisional decision, you can accept or reject. If you accept, it becomes the Final Decision. If you reject you have to provide new evidence or show that they made some kind of error in the decision making process. If this works, your complaint gets bumped up a level. You start with an Investigation Officier, then it goes to Investigtion Manager, then up to Ombudsman him/herself. If you get as far as the Ombudsman, when they write, it's the Final Decision regardless. You accept or reject. If you accept, it becomes binding on both parties. If you reject, you get nothing but you can pursue other methods of complaint (court proceedings etc).

 

I can't find anywhere on their website where this process is detailed and it's not made clear from the outset that this it works, so I can't refer you to anything 'official' to show this is how it works, but that's our experience. Our case was reviewed by the Ombudsman in the end, but it took a very very long time. You just have to stick with it and keep writing the letters. Brace yourself for a long battle.

 

In the meantime, please contact Steve G (ombudsmans61percent) who has already posted on this thread - he's trying to get everyone to work together to highlight the practices of this terrible unfair process.

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Bit of an update... I am pleased to report that my outstanding concerns have now been fully addressed by e.surv. I am satisfied with the manner in which they have resolved my complaint and regard the issue as closed.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Having used this service a spart of an agents complaints procedure I found that they did not provide copies of responses from the agent, nor have they investigated inconsistancies in what the agent was saying even blatent misleading information which was quoted to us in a decision letter. The first letter decision favoured the agent and completely failed to show rational investigation or deal with the balatant mistruth given by the agent... the second line of review was similarly weighted for the agent despite 6 pages of evidence and no investigative enquiries by this services as to the agents actions... in my view nothing more than an obstacle in the complaints process, they keep asking the complainant for mor eevidence whilst ask the agent to provide nothing. They are not independant and are funded by RICS and the agents. The agents actions were in our view unethical failing to notify us of serious environmental issues .

Hi everyone,

 

I wondered whether anyone had complaint to Ombudsman Services Property before and had been treated in an unfair manner by the investigating officer?

 

I for once had a complaint which was resolved by this Ombudsman. Although it was eventually resolved, it took a while since the investigating officer (i feel tempted to name and shame here) dragged her feet until the Lead Ombudsman had to intervene. :mad2:

 

I complained about this officer, but no response until today and it has been three months now. I suspect they simply brushed my complaint about this ape under the carpet. I wrote to the people in the complaint procedure such as the Director of Corporate Service and Independent Assessor, but to no avail.:mad2:

 

Does anyone know how I can take this further?

 

Ta muchly

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  • 1 year later...

I find after waiting nearly a year for my reply from the property Ombudsman

 

 

, it's to be a complete one sided [problem] to protect Estate Agents and lazy Surveyors from bad publicity.

 

 

My home buyers survey was a complete joke as so much contradicted it self, no cracks when there was etc.

 

 

What really annoyed me the most was marks around the fireplace due to Carbon fumes.

 

 

The surveyors said they checked with the Estate Agent details and there was none,

 

 

but closely i inspected the sales photos and this clearly showed carbon monoxide marks escaping.What lies

 

I had a phone call from the property Ombudsman today 24/01/14 or so i believe,didn't understand what it was about then they put the phone down on me

 

Also contacted Surveyors Solicitors ,after explaining to him my issues and waiting for him to deal with it,you probably can guess he also took no further action.You cannot in the UK sue a Surveyors for neglect,impossible

 

I will name and shame this firm and Estate Agents myself for there neglect if i cannot take action

 

I say to everyone here who is thinking or has already bought property DO NOT TRUST THE BUYING SIDE OR PAY HUGE SUMS OF UNNECESSARY MONEY

 

It's a triangle of of lies and theft my friend, Solicitors,Estate Agents,Surveyors

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30 January 2014

Hi,

I submitted a complaint to the Property Ombudsman in December and have just received a 'run around' reply saying they can't take any action - despite the blatant dishonesty of the managing agent of our block who wouldn't even comply with her trade association's rules (ARMA). The email evidence is crystal clear in my firm opinion so I am composing a letter of complaint to the Ombudsman but skimming through the posts in this thread it would seem that I'll be wasting my time.

However, I don't quit easily so will be taking the matter as far as I can.

I'm wondering if anyone has complained to their MP about the Ombudsman? As mentioned above, I skimmed the posts so may have missed something about this possible line of attack.

And does anyone know which Government Minister is responsible for the Property Ombudsman?

I have previously complained successfully to the Insurance Ombudsman and to the Law Society, in both cases getting financial compensation, so why is the Property 'service' such rubbish?

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  • 2 years later...

I'd be grateful to hear from anyone regarding their experiences of taking further action (of any sort) after the Investigating officer has issued his "final decision".

 

I am really interested in post 29, which indicates that further investigation is possible after the "final decision". I would also love to hear from anyone who has taken action through the courts.

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neither have logged into cag since 2012 sorry

 

 

why don't you start a new thread

of your own

then p'haps others can help.?

 

 

dx

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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  • 2 months later...

Hi 0080934.

This has become a bit of a zombie thread but, since you posted only a few months ago, I thought I'd reply.

 

 

I had a terrible experience of the OS:P too and I went to court and won, with help from the CAB!

 

 

It is possible to make surveyors accountable, indeed the OS:P is, in many ways, just a buffer to stop people getting to court.

 

I have also been campaigning to my MP for two years now but without any action

- what can you do if you're ignored by your elected representatives?

 

 

I've now approached my MSP in the hope of getting something done in Scotland.

 

 

Here's the body of the letter I originally sent to my MP:

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

As your constituent, I write to request action to make chartered surveyors more accountable by the establishment of a statutory property industry ombudsman. My personal experience and subsequent inquiries have convinced me that this is necessary.

 

My wife and I purchased a house in 2013.

The home report had identified no issues, however it soon became apparent there was an extensive damp problem that would cost around £5,000 to fix. Upon complaining to the surveying firm, they offered us £1,000 (if we accepted non-liability on their part), which we felt was derisory.

 

We appealed to Ombudsman Services: Property (OS:P) who found fault with the surveyor.

However, to our astonishment, they merely recommended the firm maintain their offer.

 

 

Rejecting much advice to settle, we proceeded to the small claims court where we were awarded £3,000, the maximum possible.

 

 

The entire episode lasted more than a year, has been exhausting and stressful and has hampered our renovation plans.

 

 

We also had to settle for less than we felt entitled to as other legal avenues could have exposed us to extensive legal costs.

 

I can only speak of my own experience however I feel the ombudsman process currently favours surveyors as:

 

• It is not a statutory body but funded by RICS members, who have board representation, thus it is not truly independent.

 

• In our case I felt an exclusion identified by the ombudsman was illogical and weighted in favour of the surveyor but it could not be challenged.

 

• The ombudsman assesses damages based on DMV (diminution in market value) rather than the cost of putting things right, a fundamental flaw.

 

• Even where liability is established, as in our case, the ombudsman’s approach is for both parties to share the cost equally. This is unfair, especially as surveyors will have professional insurance and are not left out of pocket.

 

It is worth pointing out some of the findings of the OS:P’s own customer satisfaction survey from 2010/11:

 

“Many (around two thirds) felt the report was completely or on balance against them, in line with previous years. This did not change even after further representations were made.”

 

“Overall satisfaction levels remain low.

Around two in three were dissatisfied with Ombudsman Services: Property’s handling of their complaint. Around one in two would not recommend the service and would not be likely to use it again.

As a result, around two in three felt their confidence in dealing with property professionals had decreased.”

 

In my view the OS:P is failing to protect consumers. It is short-changing those who have suffered from the negligence of their surveyor and acting as a buffer to keep cases out of the courts.

 

My wife and I were capable of pursuing our case, but it was still a fraught experience.

Moreover, many people are more vulnerable and they need the protection of the state.

I think it is time that we had a statutory and truly independent ombudsman for the property services industry.

 

 

I hope you agree and that I can count on you to seek action in parliament to this end.

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Thanks for the reply. Most interesting.

 

Can you tell me if you decided to go to court after the initial decision by the Ombudsman, or did you appeal their decision?

 

 

I have appealed once - following a decision by an investigation officer,

the appeal was reviewed by an investigation manager

- and now I am appealing for the case to be reviewed by The Ombudsman.

 

 

I have found out from my own enquiries that this appeal process is possible, although it is not detailed on their website at all.

 

 

The whole process just seems to me

- exactly as you say

- a buffer (to make the public believe they are dealing with "a fair, unbiased professional") to keep cases out of court.

 

 

It seems very much that they offer a derisory figure in the hope that you will just give up and go away.

 

As my case is still ongoing I am unable to post specific details on here

- however I am considering the small claims process if the Ombudsman appeal does not have a satisfactory outcome.

 

 

I would like to hear further about the assistance you were provided by the CAB and if there is any contact you could suggest within that organisation who may be able to assist me?

 

Many thanks.

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I exhausted the process as it was advised to me. That is, I appealed the initial decision and, when I didn't accept the outcome of the appeal, I was told that was the end of the matter. From their correspondence:

 

To date, we have investigated your complaint and then reviewed our decision

based on your further representations, as per our process. There is no appeal against the

ombudsman’s final decision and our involvement in this case has now ended. As previously

indicated, you are free to follow other routes to try to sort out the problems in a way that suits

you better, but as you have confirmed your rejection of the final decision in writing, you have

now lost the right to any remedy we have set out.

 

I wasn't aware of any further level of review (though this may have been different three years ago) and proceeded to contact the CAB who were most helpful in handling my small claim submission to the Sheriff Court. They completed most of the paperwork and even served papers to the surveyor's office.

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Hi - I had the same reply as this to my initial decision and appeal.

 

I think it is actually on this thread that I picked up the fact that there is a further process. Interestingly Ombudsman Service (Property) make you think you cannot take things further as they say you cannot appeal against the Ombudsman decision. (and we think we are dealing with the Ombudsman!). It seems to me that you can appeal against the decision made by an investigation officer, or investigation manager! They just don't want to make this known at all for obvious reasons. The whole process is shambolic.

I came across information somewhere that indicated only something in the region of 10% of cases actually come to the attention of "The Ombudsman". I have now spent over a year on this process.

 

Was your decision made by "an investigation officer"? The final decision only becomes final once accepted. I didn't accept, so the process still goes on.

Edited by 80934
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I dealt just with my local CAB office. The case worker was a distinguished elderly gentlemen who had previously been a lawyer so his expertise and knowledge of the process was a great help. I guess the levels of service may vary locally as the CAB is staffed by volunteers and their levels of experience may differ. In Scotland the maximum award in a small claim was £3,000 at the time. I could have gone to Summary Cause (IIRC) to claim up to £5,000 or to the High Court for up more but that would have exposed me to defence expenses had I lost (and would have meant I hiring a lawyer too). The process elsewhere in the UK is similar.

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Thank you - I believe you were very lucky in being allocated a case worker with the experience and knowledge required.

I will certainly look into this when I know the final, final outcome from the Ombudsman. My case is particularly complicated unfortunately. I have had advice from a Solicitor and to appoint him to deal with my case would not be a viable option. The small claims process currently has a limit of £10,000 which would be suitable for my case.

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I can't currently post links as I haven't been active enough on this forum but I saw a 2015 article on Property Industry Eye entitled "Ombudsman Services rejects 80% of initial complaints against agents", it should be easy to Google. Things clearly aren't improving! Interestingly after several years of appalling reports from the survey company they were using in 2011, OS:P ditched them. There is a link in that article to their 2014/2015 report. It's all about the numbers but the qualitative stuff, e.g. how people felt about the process, is notable by its absence.

 

I found the whole episode extremely stressful. It took a year and a half to exhaust the surveyor's complaints process, then the ombudsman (a waste of time as we agree) and then court. It set us back a lot of time in renovating our property as we had a small budget and had to retain enough money to cover the remedial work in case we were unsuccessful. For the money we eventually received it was just about worth it but I imagine that a lot of people would just have thrown in the towel or taken the palm-off figure at the first round. Think carefully before proceeding as anything can happen in court. Our case was never actually heard; as the surveyors didn't send any representation, we were awarded a default decree. They then (rather bizarrely) claimed they hadn't been made aware of the proceedings (the court records showed they had been served) and would contest the ruling but a cheque eventually came through in the post.

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Thanks - did you also know that there are actually 3 different Ombudsman services for Property? This is something else that makes me feel very strongly that they are far from "fair and unbiased". If they find too many cases against their members who pay their salaries, then the members can chose another Ombudsman.

 

I am also unable to pm or post links, but I will try to update on here when any further developments occur.

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I would urge anyone who has been a victim of the OS:P to write to their elected representatives (MP, MSP, AM, etc) and demand action to establish a statutory ombudsman for surveyors. The profession has, for too long, been able to regulate itself and the complaints processes they have established are demonstrably failing. They are getting off lightly compared to the focus financial services firms have received for example (FOS, FCA, BoE, etc, all statutory bodies).

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