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Letter: I felt like the estate agent blackmailed me

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SIR – I sympathise with the person who overheard an estate agent who seemed to willingly encourage a gazumping deal of £30,000 in excess of an accepted offer (Letters, 16th July).

This practice seems to have raised its ugly head again after it was rife in the late 1980s.

We bought a cottage in Pilley then and agreed to pay the asking price of £115,000 because we loved it so much, even though it needed total renovation. Our offer was accepted.

We had sold our house in Southampton with no chain and were ready to complete on the cottage (that also had no chain). But after waiting for 6-8 weeks and hearing nothing from the solicitors or agents, I called the solicitors to ask what the delay was.

The solicitor asked me why the estate agents had not contacted me, because they believed an increased offer of at least £5,000 had been accepted by the owners and they were proceeding ahead with that offer.

As we had sold our property, were ready to proceed and were in a better position than the other party, we had to agree to match their increased offer in order to proceed, which we reluctantly agreed to do.

I remember thinking that I had been blackmailed, and that this practice must surely be illegal – maybe in an ideal world!

My father warned me many years ago that there were three professions that could not be trusted, and estate agents were one of them!

It's unfair to tarnish all agents with the same brush, but it would appear there are still some cowboy negotiators with few morals still in the trade!

Shame on them!

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