Drivers & Norris are a perfect example of what you hope to never experience in an estate agent. Two of my friends and I hoped to rent a place together and found a suitable house through Drivers & Norris. We went in to discuss the holding deposit and fees, and we were informed that the reference fees were non-refundable because the £120 we paid each, plus the extra £60 for every guarantor, would be passed straight to the referencing company that Drivers & Norris use (FCC Paragon). We were satisfied to pay these amounts as we were excited to move in the following week, and we were given a provisional move in date conditional upon our references being approved. We were then informed that we could pay our outstanding amounts over the phone, which we did the following day. This is the point at which our satisfaction with the service plummeted. One of us phoned to pay the reference fees and the lady she spoke to did not take down any of her details. This meant that although we put our holding deposit down on a Friday, we did not receive the reference forms until Monday just before midday. Two of us completed our forms on the same day, but because our third flatmate had not been asked for her details and she had not completed her form by Tuesday evening (due to work commitments), Drivers & Norris placed the property back on the market on the Wednesday, and then informed us on Thursday that they had handed over the keys to some other tenants. At no point was it made clear that there was a time limit for our reference forms to be completed before the property would be put back on the market. Furthermore, no attempt was made to contact the third flatmate who had not filled in her forms, despite the fact that Drivers & Norris clearly had her email address because they had emailed her the form in the first place. The agents at Drivers & Norris seemed to feel that it was adequate to leave voice-mails and speak to one of the other flatmates, rather than contacting the actual person that hadn\'t provided enough information. They failed to try any other form of communication to warn us of the urgency, such as email or text, and ultimately we lost the property and we also lost the "reference fees". I contacted the referencing company and discovered that the actual cost of each reference is closer to £45 rather than £120, so I will be pursuing Drivers & Norris for the return of at least some of our money. If they fail to pay, we may be willing to pursue them not only for the profit they made through their laziness and their deceit, but also for the damages we suffered as a result of losing the property. My advice to anyone else that has to deal with these unprofessional swindlers is to inform them that you know what the actual cost of these references are, and to ensure that you are fully informed of any time limits they may put in place when they take your holding deposit.
What agent could do to change your mind?
If the agents had not been so unhelpful and rude when we lost the property, if the agents had communicated with us in a professional and efficient way, and if Drivers & Norris were ultimately able to find us another suitable property within a reasonable amount of time, we may have been a bit happier with the service. However, Sean Corrigan was particularly rude, aggressive and unhelpful on the phone when we tried to complain, and after a week of waiting for another suitable property to show up, and after being constantly shown properties well above our budget and pressured into accepting them, we gave up and found a property elsewhere.