News & Blog

Welcome to the Property Redress Scheme

July 2014

Welcome to the Property Redress Scheme from Sean Hooker, Head of Redress

We are delighted to be launching the Property Redress Scheme this summer. We are the new consumer redress (ombudsman) scheme for the property industry, authorised by both the Department of Communities and Local Government and the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team.
 

All property Agents will by law have to join an authorised redress scheme by 1st October 2014. We are also open for other professionals working in the property industry. These professionals can join the Property Redress Scheme to provide peace of mind to their consumers that they treat customer service as paramount.
 

I am the Head of Redress, (alternatively known as an Ombudsman) at the Property Redress Scheme and have responsibility for upholding our Terms of Reference when it comes to complaints being made against our Members. I will also report on statistics and build relations with other organisations in the property industry.
 

We have set up a Property Redress Scheme Advisory Council. Their job is to both advise and scrutinise the running and working of the scheme and also to make decisions on terminating Membership due to a Member’s non-compliance with the Terms of Reference. We currently have four members on the Advisory Council – Lord Munroe Palmer of Childs Hill, Tessa Shepperson, Paul Shamplina and Richard Price. I also sit on the Advisory Council.
 

The Property Redress Scheme is committed to improving relations between Property Agents and Professionals and their consumers by first providing help and guidance and then if necessary making a binding decision on a valid complaint.
 

We have looked at the industry and spoken to a number of interested parties and have decided to do certain things a bit differently. We are offering two membership options to all agents and professionals. They can join on the entry model and then pay a fee for us to deal with their complaints, or they can join on our enhanced model which includes all complaints made against the Member. We have kept the fees for joining and dealing with complaints as low as possible to give accessibility to agents and professionals who have not yet joined a redress scheme.
 

When it comes to a complaint we have considered the process and designed it to put the Member in back in control in the first instance. When we receive a complaint we will check it to make sure it is valid. We will then pass it on to the Member and give them 10 working days to try to resolve it directly with the person complaining. If that is unsuccessful we will then become formally involved and a case assessor will draft a resolution plan. This will involve collating all the evidence and discussing the matter with both the complainant and the Member. The case assessor will try to resolve the matter but if that proves unsuccessful the complaint will be passed to a Property Redress Scheme Ombudsman, such as myself, to make a binding decision on the complaint.
 

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Property Redress Scheme is approved by Government under the Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015