How this company are still in business I have no idea. Rarely am I moved to write a bad review but sometimes a business crosses the line of incompetence by such an impressive margin, it needs to re recorded. It seems there are a lot of people posting negative comments about this firm so my advice is to steer clear.
I tried to rent a house through this company. The process wasn't pleasant, they were difficult to get hold of and made me feel I was putting them out simply by inquiring.
I did view the place and quickly made an offer which was accepted by the vendor. I asked if I should come sign something or pay a deposit and was asked if I could do that later in the week as they were busy but was assured the place was mine and they wouldn't arrange viewings with anyone else. A few days later, after trying to get hold of the agent, they informed me they had let the property to someone else, no apology, no explanation. They were rude and got aggressive on the phone when I pointed out that they had accepted an offer from me.. Quite incredible.
I was really annoyed as I quickly had to change plans in my old place and it caused some minor problems, however, I wasn't too put out - they are estate agents after all, no, it wasn't what they'd done but the way they spoke to me when I came back to them asking what had happened, a simple 'We're really sorry, these things happen' would have made thing fine with me. I'm easy going and people make mistakes but they were just rude and really confrontational and made out it was my fault somehow.. incredible attitude.
This gets worse. A work colleague was also renting a house via Simmons (she's not longer there thank goodness) and a few weeks after my experience, she was dropping something off at their office. She has a baby in the back of the car and was dropping an envelope off. She pulled into a parking space which turned out to be a 'staff parking' space, left the child and nipped in to give them the envelope - a member of Simmons staff arrives at the office and blocks her in.. My colleague apologised in that typical English way 'Terribly sorry, just dropping something off' and she received a verbal assault, she swore at her at her and really laid into her for taking her parking space! She was only there for 2 minutes and was a customer! She refused to shift her car until she'd been into the office for a couple of minutes then came out all surly and moved her car, my colleague was close to tears when she got back to work.
Next up, I find another house for rent that is in the right location, again, through Simmons. They were the only agent so I had no choice but to call them, and to be fair, being an optimist I decide that perhaps the experience so far is isolated and down to one bad apple - lets hope! I viewed the property and said I would like to take it but politely reminded them that last time they had let me down after accepting an offer and asked if they would do this again - I was making the point in a half jokey, half serious way but wanted to make sure they weren't going to string me along and leave me homeless. They then tell me they will refuse to rent a house to me and wont pass an offer to the owner.. hardly in the Owners interest and was purely a childish response because they realised I was the one who had the neck to complain a couple of months earlier about them. I was moved almost to laughter at this, fortunately, it's a small world and I happened to know the owners through the local network and I got in touch and put them in the picture. They ditched Simmons and I rented the place, not through Simmons of course.
This has been my experience and I'd like to think that it's just a bad apple in Basingstoke but the mention of Simmons in a pub or local village fete will bring stories of all sorts of negative experiences people seem to have had. I can only suggest steering clear, there are other really good alternatives and if anyone from Simmons is reading this, and I hope you are, my advice is to change jobs, dealing with the public is not your thing.
What agent could do to change your mind?
It wasn't a one off, it was a number of issues over a period of time, not just with me... I can only suggest moving staff about, it was more than one person I dealt with and seems to be a cultural issue in the business in that office, thus the review.