My expectations of estate agents in general are pretty low, but Central have managed to scrape the very bottom of the barrel in terms of their behaviour and general dishonesty. When we were looking to buy recently, they were the only agency in E17 we refused to deal with altogether, regardless of the property they had on the market.
Our first experience of Central came when we rented a flat via their lettings department. It quickly became clear they were utterly incompetent, and incapable of responding to even the simplest problems. Things reached a nadir when, having repeatedly failed to get through to the lettings management person who was meant to be our contact, we rang another number in the office and asked to be put through. The person who put us through mistakenly failed to put us on hold, and we listened in to the conversation in which the lettings management person said they were refusing to answer their phone due to an angry client who was after them. Eventually, we made contact with the couple who owned the flat, and dealt with them direct, rather than have to deal with Central.
A year or so later, we agreed to buy the flat we were renting from the couple. All this was done with no help whatsoever from Central, but as they had technically introduced us as tenants to the owners, it meant they were entitled to a cut of the sale. Due to various reasons, the completion of the sale dragged on for a while, and after 6 months I got a call out of the blue from Central, asking how the sale was going. I was a bit bemused by the call, but said it was going fine, and that it was just taking a little longer than expected. I subsequently learned from the sellers that immediately afterwards Central had rung them and asked them to break off the sale with us, and put it on again with Central, who claimed they could get them more money. Luckily, the sellers were trustworthy people, and told Central 'no'.
Our most recent experience with Central came when attempting to buy a new house in the area. We made an offer on a house via King's Estate Agent's. Unfortunately (for us), the owners had just made Central co-sellers of the property. Central, realising that they were going to lose out on the sale to King's, did everything in their power to try and scupper the sale. This included putting a Central 'Sold' sign outside the property while ripping out the King's 'Sold' sign and chucking it away in the owner's front yard (after our offer had been accepted). When we investigated, Central claimed they had sold the house to one of their clients! We told the seller of the house who rang Central to ask them what the hell was going on, especially as he'd already told them to take it off the market. They then claimed that they had had an 'offer', and considered it acceptable and that they had sold the house - as if the seller himself didn't have any say in the matter. The supposed 'mystery buyer' was someone who hadn't even turned up for his scheduled second viewing previously. According to the seller's account, he was so enraged with Central's behaviour, that they ended up handing up on him.
I could go on - friends in Walthamstow have also had bad experiences with Central. But to sum up - AVOID CENTRAL AT ALL COSTS!!!