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'Watchdog' presenters amongst those in class action against Foxtons

It appears that the former presenters of BBC consumer programme Watchdog are amongst those participating in a class action against Foxtons over the letting agency’s allegedly exorbitant charges for repairs.

The Daily Mail reports that Lynn Faulds Wood and her husband John Stapleton are set to join 100 landlords suing Foxtons.

Faulds Wood is reported in the newspaper saying she felt ‘cheated’ after learning the agent - which manages a property the couple own in South London - was accused of charging landlords ‘secret commissions’ of nearly 50 per cent.

In an email sent to Stapleton on May 28 this year, Foxtons apparently claimed the cost for materials, shower enclosure, shower door, a mould resistant silicon seal and disposal of old enclosure and door would cost £958 plus VAT. It added labour for two plumbers for one day would be £810 plus VAT.

The couple eventually managed to find their own plumber and fix the problem for under £400.

News of the class action has emerged over the past week, following a now notorious clash between the agency and one particularl landlord.

In 2013 London landlord Dr Chris Townley was billed £616 by the agency for the replacement of a light fitting carried out by a subcontractor.

A week ago the Daily Mail reported that Leigh Day Solicitors has served the agency with a letter of claim, which is sent prior to legal proceedings.

Leigh Day believes that Townley and thousands of other landlords could be entitled to compensation from Foxtons, a claim which it says could amount to over £40m.

Foxtons used subcontractor Maintenance 1st to carry out the work on Townley’s rental property, which had been managed by the London agency since 2011.

After requesting a refund for the work – which he believed to be substandard – the landlord was put in touch with Maintenance 1st. The firm informed him that its charge for the work amounted to £412.50.

Townley then challenged Foxtons on the difference in costs and found out that the agent had charged 33 per cent commission, equating to an additional fee of £137.50.

The landlord then also liable for an ‘ad hoc management charge’ of 10 per cent plus VAT, which was incurred after Foxtons’ commission had taken the invoice over £500.

This means that Townley ended up paying an alleged £200 over the subcontractors’ original fee for the work.

Solicitors Leigh Day believe that the agency was wrong for failing to declare a conflict of interests as it earns commission from subcontractors and landlords.

The Daily Mail reports that Foxtons says all its charges were made clear.

  • Sceptical As Always

    "clear" and "buried in the small print" are two different things to a consumer. Surely they will have known this day would come... any consumer contract must point out charges that would be of significant implication - and by significant mean to carry enough weight to be a deciding factor in which the service offered would be deemed value for money or not. There's no point in boasting "only 1% management fee" and then charging £2000 for drawing up an AST in the small print, which is effectively what has happened here. They charge 17% to let and manage and then charge more if they actually have to do work to earn their 6% management fee. scandalous. value for money? no.

  • Tom  Harrington

    Shocking behaviour again from everyone's favourite agent. These 'secret commissions' must no longer remain a secret, it's ridiculous! Very poor yet unsurprising service.

  • Michael Lamoureux

    However you do get a Foxtons board outside your house for a few weeks, if your into keeping up with the Jones its worth every scandalous penny.

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    If you are the commenter 'Sceptical as Always' please get in touch with me about your knowledge of Matt Chouwdury/Roy Zohar. We are building a criminal case against them & would appreciate any information you have. You have the right to remain anonymous. Please email stopfraudsubletting@hotmail.com. Thank you.


  • Simon shinerock

    I used Foxtons to let a flat in Covent Garden. On the plus side they did eventually get the best tenant in the face of stiff competition. On the debit side they also recommended a patently inappropriate tenant first! I didn't use them for management so can't speak for the central theme.

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