Here is a copy of my complaint to reed rains...
Dear Mr Beastall,
I am writing this complaint on several grounds. Primarily I have been issued with a bill for £120 which I do not believe I should be charged for since the service I was promised for this fee was delivered with such appalling service that it caused months of hassle, two complaints to be raised (one of which was completely ignored), I have incurred considerable costs and have had to contact Reed Rains over 50 times in the 5 months that the delivery of the service was overdue. I will address my concerns below, in order.
In early Jan 2012, I was visited by Emma Eyre to discuss putting my property (137, Industrial rd, Halifax) on the market, while it is also rented. I agreed to use Reed Rains for both of these services, for the sale and the rental.
Assured short hold tenancy agreement
The tenant who was to take the full tenancy of the property was already living there, with myself, as a lodger.
It was agreed with Emma that I just needed Reed Rains to draw up the contract for me, as a condition of my mortgage agreement the property must only be let through a reputable agent, so I just needed the contract drawn up.
It was agreed that I would not be charged any other fees, e.g. managed services or tenant finding or tenant vetting, since I did not want or need any of these services.
This was early January 2012.
I was told the contract would take two weeks to draw up and would cost around £100.
I wanted to let out my house as soon as possible to rent somewhere closer to where I was working as a consultant in Manchester, to save over a two hour commute each way.
The contract was finally completed at the end of May 2012. Four months after it was supposed to be finalised!
My problem with the service was this:
1) No one contacted me to tell me what was going on. I had to phone up nearly every day to demand an answer, since my emails were often ignored.
There were over 50 phone calls / emails that I had to make asking for updates, trying to find out where the contract was and what the delay was.
My contact was met with several excuses; everything from just \'I don\'t know\' to \'Someone will get back to you\' - but no one did to \'someone\'s on holiday, we\'ll wait for them to get back and ask them...\', occasionally I\'d just be lied to to stop my demands for the contract to be completed. On several occasions I was told that it would be done \'this week\' only to find that again, no contact and no contract a week later, it had been forgotten about again.
2) I explained that I could not move out of the property until I had this contract as not having the tenancy agreement in place invalidated my landlord insurance. If there was any need to claim on the insurance, I would not have been able to. I would\'ve been left without any buildings insurance whatsoever, which in the event of incurring any damage, would have left me hundreds of thousands of pounds in debt.
3) While being forced to stay in the property was costing me 4 hours a day in commuting time and the cost of train tickets to Manchester from Yorkshire every day.
4) when the contract eventually came back, it has the incorrect rental amount and the incorrect address for myself (I\'d given you the correct one on 3 separate occasions, and phoned to confirm you had the correct address) - but I cannot wait another four months to have yet another contract drawn up.
5) it has been backdated to the original date it should have been issued - which is not entirely legally valid, and could easily be disputed in court by the tenant, myself or an insurance company or third party, if there was a problem with the property occuring before the contract was actually signed.
I cannot stress enough the inconvenience, time, money and worry that not having this contract in place and being messed around and ignored by your agents caused both my tenant and myself during those months.
Two complaints regarding repeated unsolicited sales calls
Whilst your agents refused to keep me informed about what was happening with my contract when two weeks turned into four months, I did receive calls every day from your sales team.
Every time I answered the phone, I told them that I did not want to receive anymore sales calls, but they continued to hassle me every day, sometimes several times a day.
They would call with the line that it was Reed Rains calling to discuss my property - so of course, I came out of meetings to take the calls, believing it to be about the sale or rental of my property, before realizing they were trying to sell me insurance that I told them many times I did not want, and asked them to stop calling.
I made several complaints to the sales team themselves, but they refused to stop calling me. They were quite rude when I told them to stop calling me. I made several complaints to the branch about this asking repeatedly for them to not pass on my details to sales departments and to stop the sales calls. The first 5 complaints I made, I was assured it would not happen again until I eventually escalated a complaint to the complaints department - after initially being told that there was no complaints department!
Harassment of my tenant
After the complaint was dealt with and the calls stopped, I then received a complaint from my tenant about exactly the same thing happening to him. He emailed me to say that he was sick of being harangued by your sales people. He\'d asked you several times not to call him during work hours and told you that he didn\'t want sales calls anyway, that he didn\'t need a mortgage or insurance of any kind, yet still the calls would be made during work hours every single day.
I raised another complaint to you, via Jamie in the branch, and Matthew Berry has assured me twice now that he has seen and escalated this new complaint, yet I have heard nothing back. This complaint was made at least two months ago if not longer.
I included an excerpt from my tenant\'s complaint email to me, and asked that you stop harassing him. He stays my tenant because he is more than happy with the arrangement he has with me, as his landlord. However, you as my estate agent, are harassing myself and my tenant to the point where we\'ve both made complaints, after asking repeatedly for this to stop.
I asked him if he would agree to sacking Reed Rains entirely and we use a different estate agent, however - at this point, we were both very busy with work and I was about to leave the country, so we thought that now the contract was finally in place, we wouldn\'t have to deal with you again, so we\'d leave things as they were.
Ignored complaints / billing for services that were not delivered or delivered late and unsatisfactorily
I am now disappointed to find that my complaints have been ignored and I\'ve been billed for services that
- I did not ask for or receive and was told that I would not be billed for i.e. the tenant finding service.
- I have been billed at full cost for the tenancy agreement - which caused several complaints to be raised and ignored, weeks of harassment of myself and my tenant, several months of having my inquiries ignored by your agents, delaying my moving date, and invalidating my house insurance.
The very least I would expect from you is for the contract fee to be waived, and minimal compensation for all the emails and telephone calls I\'ve spent chasing up your agents who\'ve expertly ignored all my correspondence.
Difficulties making / escalating complaints
I am now told by Jan Johnson that to complain, I must but my complaint in writing. This is interesting since one of my earlier complaints was dealt with over email, have you changed your procedures or are you simply trying to put more barriers between me and the complaints department.
First I was told that there was no complaints department, then I was told to complain to the branch manager, who was on holiday, and I\'m now told I must print this out and post it. It seems increasingly likely that you are just adverse to receiving complaints and try to make the procedure as obscure and ridiculous as possible. I am writing this by email and have no intention of printing it out for you. If you wish to see this complaint in print, I suggest you print it out yourself.
If this matter does not meet with a response or resolution, I will be contacting the property ombudsman, as you have already failed to respond to earlier complaints which I have written sent in months ago to address the "financial loss and/or aggravation, distress and inconvenience" caused by your agency, all of which are in the powers of the ombudsman to adjudicate upon.
What agent could do to change your mind?
They could\'ve responded to my complaints or stopped harassing me and my tenant with sales calls EVERY DAY when we asked them to. They could\'ve NOT IGNORED all my calls and emails to ask where my contract was when it was 4 MONTHS LATE.
First they pretended they didn\'t have a complaints proceedure, then that it had to go to the branch manager who was on holiday, then that I had to write a letter, not an email, tried every stupid lie to prevent a complaint about their incompetency.