2013 saw us list our Sunshine Coast family home with an agent that we selected because we liked her and the company she worked for – pretty good reason, so we thought. The sign went up on the street front and all was good.
Next thing we know, the agent calls in and tells us that she has moved to another company. It was a reputable firm, but one that we had heard a series of horror stories about and would never have selected ourselves purely based on our values. We indicated that we were not comfortable with the change and proceeded to exercise our rights to cancel our Appointment of Agency contract in writing, pointing out the terms and obligations that had been breached.
I made my way to the agency offices to submit my letter in person, what happened next will amaze you…
I told the receptionist why I was there, I was then asked to leave the reception area and take up a seat in the corner of a poky little room (like a naughty boy on school detention). Then in walked a gentleman who I would easily tag as Mr Attitude. “So Mark, why do you want to cancel your Appointment of Agency with us?” No hello, no handshake, just pure attitude. He then went on to say, “I am this agency’s bestselling agent, and you haven’t given us the opportunity to even try to sell your place.” I replied with, “and your name is?”
From here I verbally outlined what I had written in my letter and requested that I speak with the principal of the agency, but apparently she was busy with a photo shoot and an interview, and Mr Attitude was adamant that he was going to deal with the situation. I went on to ask for a written release from my contract which was quickly denied due to his belief that I was ‘lying’ about my concerns and that I really just wanted out in order to pursue a private sale. I was certainly taken back by this, as it was the first time I had met anyone else from the new agency, let alone the fact that this was coming from someone who had never set foot in my home or had a conversation with me.
As my anger grew, I once again asked for a release and outlined where the agency was in breach. When I asked him to produce the Appointment Contract he told me it wasn’t necessary and he would call the principal on speaker-phone to progress the conversation. We went on to agree amicably that they were to re-visit some sales leads from prior open homes on the proviso that if there was no offer in place by the end of the day, I would return to collect my house keys and the release. I thought this was a fair compromise.
At 5pm I called to see how things were going, and what do you know? There was no answer. So, I went into the agency expecting to collect my release and keys as agreed. Upon my arrival the receptionist told me that everyone had gone home. I asked if there was a letter and key left for me – there was not.
The following day I was waiting in their car park at 8:30am and to my delight I could see two cars with personalised plates, which indicated that the people I wanted to see were in the office. The receptionist asked me to take a seat where I was kept waiting for 45 minutes before Mr Attitude strolled in with a smile on his face, he proceeded to tell me that he had generated some interest in my home. I asked if it was a formal offer in the form of a contract – but of course, it wasn’t. Apparently it was ‘in the pipeline’ (so now he’s a plumber?) and they needed an extension until the end of the day. I politely requested that he call the interested party right then and there, but there was no answer. My immediate thought was that it was probably his own home number where he knew nobody would answer. I couldn’t help the cynicism.
I asked for my keys once again only to be informed that the principal had withdrawn her offer to release us on the grounds of the ‘hot lead’.
This time I heatedly outlined the legal breach, demanded my key and stood up to leave. I was told that the keys could not be found and that an agent most likely had them, but they couldn’t be sure who! So, the deal was now that they find the damn keys and drop them to me personally later that day. It didn’t happen.
So, back in their reception the following morning I was handed a key but no release letter. That key did not fit my lock! They had given me a key that belonged to someone else! NOT HAPPY. Of course I called them and they swore black and blue that it was my key. This was getting crazy. So, running with a bit more crazy, I offered to write down all the listings on their website and personally visit each and every home and try the key in order to return it to its rightful owner. Amazingly, I had my own key delivered in 15 minutes.
Still shaking my head to this day.