Greenslade Taylor Hunt has given its reaction to the news that it and three other Burnham-On-Sea estate agents have been fined more than £370,000 by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

As we reported here last week, Greenslade Taylor Hunt, Abbott and Frost Limited, Gary Berryman Estate Agents and its parent company Warne Investments Limited, and West Coast Property Services, have been fined a total of £372,233 for colluding to set a minimum commission rate of 1.5 per cent for properties in the Burnham-On-Sea area. The four companies have all admitted to price fixing.

Greenslade Taylor Hunt was fined a total of £186,054, including a 20 per cent reduction for settlement, and a reduction of 35 per cent for leniency.

Charles Clark, Greenslade Taylor Hunt’s Chairman, told “Along with three other Burnham-on-Sea estate agencies I can confirm that GTH has been fined by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) for breaking competition law relating to activities in 2014 and early 2015 in the Burnham-on-Sea area.”

“GTH has co-operated with the CMA in its investigations, and this is reflected in the leniency applied. Any discussion of commission rates, however informal, between competing businesses, is not permissible and the firm condemns such behaviour in the strongest terms. Activity of this nature is a breach of GTH’s high ethical standards and is entirely inconsistent with the company’s long established values. We profoundly regret what occurred at Burnham-on-Sea.”

He added: “As soon as the CMA raised concerns we undertook a thorough investigation of all offices and departments. We are entirely satisfied that this issue resulted from the wholly misguided and inappropriate actions of one GTH Partner, acting entirely alone, at one branch of our group and that no other office or department was involved in any way whatsoever. The Partner’s actions at Burnham-on-Sea were undertaken with neither the consent or knowledge of other GTH Partners or staff at any other office in our organisation.”

“The Partner concerned recognises that his actions were a gross misjudgement. He has apologised to his colleagues at Burnham on Sea and to the Partners and staff throughout the firm for letting GTH and its clients and partners down in this manner. He is completely mortified, recognises his error and regrets his involvement in every way. Discussions are continuing as to the individual’s future responsibili ties within the firm.”

“GTH undertakes regular and full reviews of internal compliance procedures. Additional measures have been put in place to ensure that such activity cannot reoccur and that we continue to meet the high professional standards that we set ourselves and which our clients expect and will continue to receive in the future.”