estate agent 'cartel' bosses disqualified
bosses of an estate agency in Burnham-On-Sea have been disqualified
Baker and Julian Frost oversaw Abbott and Frost Estate Agents in
College Street, pictured here.
Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) discovered they were part
of a cartel that secretly fixed their commission fees at 1.5% which
meant that homeowners could not negotiate lower moving costs from
February 2014 for just over a year.
Baker will be unable to act as a company director for three and
a half years, whilst Mr Frost has been disqualified for three years.
a result of its investigation, the CMA found that a number of directors
were actively involved in the cartel or were aware of it and failed
to take steps to stop it," said a spokesman for the CMA.
CMA has secured legally binding undertakings from two of these directors
Mr Baker and Mr Frost which have the effect of disqualifying
them as directors and preventing them from being involved in the
management of any UK company."
CMA is continuing to investigate whether to seek the disqualification
of other directors of companies involved in the fee-fixing agreement."
CMA has the power to seek the disqualification of an individual
from holding company directorships, under the Company Directors
Disqualification Act 1986, where they have been director of a company
which has breached competition law and their conduct makes them
unfit to be a director.
continue into a number of other agencies involved in the cartel,
which we previously reported
Grenfell, executive director for enforcement at the CMA, said: "Agreeing
prices with competitors is one of the most serious ways a company
can break competition law, as it harms individuals, businesses and
as in this case, estate agents agreed among themselves commission
fee rates, the effect is to stop people from shopping around for
the best deal to help them with one of the biggest financial decisions
any of us make selling a house."
directors have an important responsibility to ensure that their
companies dont engage in illegal anti-competitive practices."
news should send a clear message to directors that if their companies
breach competition law they risk personal disqualification."
May 2017, the CMA issued a decision finding that 6 estate agents
had infringed competition law. The CMA imposed fines totalling £370,084
on Abbott and Frost Estate Agents Limited, Gary Berryman Estate
Agents Ltd (and its ultimate parent company Warne Investments Limited),
Greenslade Taylor Hunt, Saxons PS Limited and West Coast Property
Services (UK) Limited.
sixth party, Annagram Estates Limited (trading as CJ Hole), was
not fined as it was the first undertaking to confess its participation
in the arrangement under the CMAs leniency policy and co-operated
with the CMAs investigation.
Frost previously told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "The episode regarding
the CMA represents a dark day in our company history. First and
foremost, we wish to apologise unreservedly to all those Abbott
& Frost customers who may have been affected by this. In addition,
we wish to express our apologies and regret to the people of Burnham,
and also to the loyal staff who serve us and our customers well."