Easily the worst agents, or indeed perhaps the worst any-sort-of-organisation, I have ever had the misfortune to deal with.
I first encountered Cheffins three weeks ago, when I walked into their central Cambridge office and arranged a viewing for that very afternoon. Following a confirmation email regarding the appointment, my partner and I went to meet the Cheffins representative at the property. Now, since we arrived at the agreed upon (and confirmed) meeting point ten minutes early, we waited for a good forty minutes before we gave up and left. During these forty minutes, standing on the fumy main road on which the property was based, we had repeatedly called the Cheffins office for advice. There was no answer.
As we had a busy morning the following day, looking at houses let by more reasonable agents, I did not ring Cheffins up to complain. Frankly, my plan was to ignore them entirely from then on and instead to go with an agency that values its customers and has at least a vague grasp of common courtesy. Unfortunately, Cheffins are in charge of a fair few properties around Cambridge and alas we were forced to come crawling back into their deceitful clutches.
I approached Cheffins again, this time by phone, regarding viewing a different property. I was told by the polite man on the other end of the line that he would have to speak with the current tenants of the property to see what times were available for the visit. He would call me back within two hours.
When 3:30pm ticked round, a full two hours forty-something minutes after the phone conversation, I rang him. Initially sounding bored, the gentleman from Cheffins started shuffling papers noisily and (I can only assume from what I could hear on my end) swinging his phone to and fro around his head when I re-introduced myself. ¢â‚¬ËœAh yes, don't worry, I haven't forgotten about you,' the comedian said, reassuringly, voice alternating between loud and near-silent as the receiver continued its orbit. ¢â‚¬ËœI take it you've been unable to get hold of the current tenants?' I offer. ¢â‚¬ËœThat's right. Don't worry though, I will keep trying and will definitely call you back either way by the end of the day.'
That evening, after closing hours, I went onto the Cheffins website to arrange a viewing through the art of the written word. Once I submitted the form, a short message appeared on screen thanking me for my interest in the property and promising that someone will be in touch with me over the next couple of days. I didn't buy it.
A ¢â‚¬Ëœcouple of days' later I rang Cheffins again regarding the same property. Ben, the seemingly helpful employee on the other end of the line, apologised for the agency's previous incompetence after I had informed him of everything stated above and insisted on his giving me his full name. Ben then assured me that this would not happen again, that he knew that ¢â‚¬ËœTony', the Cheffins-boy assigned to the property I wanted, had been having some trouble with contacting the tenants recently but that he, Ben, would take it upon himself to actually telephone Tony and see what's going on and arrange a viewing for me if not for this Friday then certainly for some time the week following.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, was four days ago.
What agent could do to change your mind?
The agent could have changed my mind by:
1) answering phone calls
2) responding to emailed inquiries
3) actually turning up to the pre-arranged house viewing