Four reviews of my court case with Strutt & Parker. They all say the same thing but I’ve tried to write each with a different approach as each was posted in different places on the internet. They are long for reviews but that is a reflection on how the episode has significantly impacted my life and continues to do so.
After the title of each is the hyperlink to where the review is posted on the web. The shorter reviews are 3 and 4.
That Moment in Court
The developer vendor Stone Homes was almost being dealt with as an irrelevance. Strutt and Parker were to pay all my claim costs at which point Dale Robinson of Stone Homes visibly started. Did he think he’d won? I couldn’t take much in as the judge quizzed Annabel Cleary from Strutt and Parker on improvements to their sloppy procedures. It never really sank in, that I’d won as we went for a late light lunch. Everyone was wrung out. The thought of an appeal denied by the judge but to be lodged with the circuit judge dampened any relief.
In the courtroom Strutt and Parker claimed I was a knowledgeable house buyer, irony from them as they have been estate agents for 130 years and work with homes 24/7. Me, with one home, a lifetime “of trying to do the right thing”, my life’s investment, now as their defense brought up only on that day in court, accused me as a knowledgeable property buyer. They showed no respect for pre-trial disclosure.
I performed weakly in court, tired, anxious, ill, worn out, but my case was sound, it’s difficult to refute material facts. But in naivety of taking two companies to trial, one a national company using a trained advocate it’s difficult to preempt how ugly they can behave towards you. I had to understand points in law, court procedure and learn quickly any standard practices of bedevilment they might use, and use them they did. But they would never mediate, even when ordered by the court.
Traversing their gauntlet of dismissiveness, indifference, intimidation, calling for a change of track, expert witnesses, strikeout, accused of bad law, a paltry settlement offer to avoid costs, feigned mediation and bundle agreement, inference to pathology, last minute and in court disclosures, inadmissible evidence, counterclaim, appeal to the judge and on denial, appeal to the circuit judge, I had drowned under legal speak. But I hadn’t been placed in multi-track that could give a substantial award but would add intolerable pressure of the possibility of huge costs leading to bankruptcy and homelessness.
Even winning the full award at that level it would never cover the losses they had caused me or the stress endured with further losses to accommodate as I try to move on from an incorrectly sold home, now requiring disclosures and the lost historic artifact demolished after viewing, the very thing that initially drew me to the property. Now going back into the marketplace due to their misstatements, which haven’t allowed me to settle, I am nervous, frightened, non-trusting, depleted emotionally, and with less financial resource to cushion me. I have abused and used my friends by requiring their help through Strutt and Parker’s and Stone Homes misstatements and mistreatment of me. They have turned me from being a supportive mother to a mother needing support.
Any good company listens to customer complaints and acts on them to improve their business and resolve problems. Not Strutt and Parker, not to anybody. If you’re purchasing at the lower end of Strutt and Parker’s marketing range, I would strenuously discourage anyone using them. Whilst I can’t vouch for the higher priced property Strutt and Parker sell, the farms or mansions, I’m not sure you’d get better treatment given Lord Malmsbury took them to court for £100 million.
Whilst under stress to see if they were going to appeal, as a sign off Strutt and Parker’s bad treatment of me didn’t end. They used my name veiled into their flimsily researched
I had expected a service at least equivalent to other estate agents from Mayfair based Strutt and Parker.
After viewing, then subsequently purchasing a property through Strutt and Parker, my home, I found they had made many misstatements. There were many inaccuracies, but one, in particular, would have changed my transactional decision, one that would have negated my viewing in the first place.
When moving in the misstatements became apparent. On informing them they argued that my surveyor or solicitor should cover it. But one, a historic feature demolished after viewing would have required skills in clairvoyance that neither profession had.
Other misstatements included claims of luxury and refurbishment by the “best developer in the Northeast” who they knew well as a business associate. The central heating, fireplaces, egress of waste not only failed but caused ruin of everything I owned. It became equivalent to surviving a complete flooding. I lost my lifetimes heritage which changed the course of my life. Sorting through everything was distressful and coming on top of disruption of moving home was intolerable.
After an exchange of letters of what they later called treating me with ‘decorum’ Strutt and Parker refused further correspondence hiding themselves behind the hearsay of their vendor developer Stone Homes. They offered me the property ombudsman who I used, who didn’t award against them. I later saw why a few days before trial. Being economical with the details Strutt and Parker had also mislead them making a mockery of the ombudsman system.
As anything I said was deprived of relevance, my only option was to take them to court.
Financially I was limited to small claims where the threat of their legal costs become higher than the claim that could be awarded. They knew I didn’t have funds for higher court but they argued for it, adding further insufferable pressure. Taking a national company to court is daunting. Why go to court, as a layperson when the stress is unbearable? Like so many fighting for their homes there’s a sense of loss of everything and not much more to lose.
I had to understand my point in law, understand court procedure, and learn quickly any practices of bedevilment they might use. And use them they did. But they would never mediate even when ordered by the court at a preliminary hearing. The process has been long one with Strutt and Parker referring to it as my “continued dissatisfaction”; it wasn’t, it was devastation, my whole life’s heritage gone.
My small action against this national company was won against them for the demolished historic feature, receiving the maximum award at that level but it could never cover the losses or stress they caused. The district judge immediately dismissed their appeal, but I had to wait to see if their miserable approach to me would continue with an appeal from them to the circuit judge.
Through them, I couldn’t settle and need to move again as quickly as possible in the now worsening basket case housing market. So I’m still searching for a home and trying to sell a dwelling with disclosures patched up as best I could. No trust left, exhaustion, illness, less money and no cushion for the thousands it costs to move, they have added years to my age rendering me from a supportive mother to one that requires support.
To date Strutt and Parker are yet after more than two years on their books are still to sell the personal home of Dale Robinson, Stone Homes.
I trusted Strutt and Parker and placed reliance on them to get their home selling details correct. Both Strutt and Parker and Stone Homes project and hold themselves as something they are not, fronting and holding themselves up with pretenses of care. With passive aggressive assertiveness, they fob off anything said to them with hearsay and as nonsense.
It is impossible to make a valued transactional decision if you’re given incorrect information.
I had trusted Strutt and Parker, they abused that trust.
Trust Pilot goo.gl/oKsZ6u
Had I Wanted a Project I Would Have Bought a Project
As I have been passing through complaint procedures this is my first opportunity to review Strutt and Parker. From ombudsman to court they had ample opportunity to mediate regarding their misstatements. Strutt and Parker were appalling, and my losses as an older woman are insurmountable. They were fortunate I could only afford small claims court, which they opposed wanting a full multitrack trial where the cost being so prohibitive which could have left me bankrupt and homeless. Court procedures in a higher track, are robust and difficult for the litigant in person to navigate through. Although I performed weakly at the trial due to the stress and illness they caused me, my case was sound.
I won the small action against this national company, the court ruling against them and in my favour. As only a small claim it was limited in the amount of award it could give but gave me the maximum at that level.
Called a saga by the court, Strutt and Parker claimed a substantial historic boundary feature was part of the property, but that was demolished after viewing. They claimed luxury when nothing worked, the drainage and plumbing, the heating, the fires, unbelievable in the north of England; all of which damaged my furniture, damaged everything; not a home, but squalor, and frozen. They knew and know well the vendor developer Stone Homes who they recommended. In court they claimed I was a knowledgeable buyer, they with a 130 years experience in estate agency and me with my life’s investment in my only home.
I had won against them for their misstatement of the property, I won for the demolished historical artefact, I won against them on their disclaimer, which all meant I won against them on the ombudsman’s result in their favour.
Strutt and Parker should be reprinting all their UK sales particulars, their disclaimer didn’t protect them in court for simple reasons. They should also look at how they engage with the ombudsman which in my experience cannot be trusted.
They had the ability and chance to come out well but instead just show contempt for their home buying public.
I had trusted Strutt and Parker, they abused that trust.
All Agents goo.gl/K2hJI8
Strutt and Parker show only contempt for their customers.
So many negligent misstatements and inconsistencies you’d wonder if it was the same property you bought as described by Strutt and Parker. Their inconsistencies didn’t stop there. Strutt and Parker carried them over to the ombudsman. After months and years of futile correspondence, I finally got to see their withheld details, a few days before court. Their scant details had also misled the ombudsman. I gave the details to the court, who ruled against them and in my favour. The burden of proof was on me, I had shown they had made misstatements, their process was negligent, and they demonstrated no duty of care.
The tactics Strutt and Parker subjected me to as an ordinary home buyer after purchase were extremely unpleasant. They consisted of dismissiveness, indifference, intimidation, calling for a change of track, strikeout, accused of bad law, a paltry settlement offer to avoid costs, feigned mediation, feigned bundle agreement, inference to pathology, last minute and in court disclosures and inadmissible evidence.
To this passive aggressive treatment of me, they added an inference that I was aggressive whilst insisting they had treated me with “decorum”. And when they lost in court, that “decorum” included them appealing to the trial judge, who denied their appeal, when they then, requested an appeal to the circuit judge. All difficult to deal with in a midst of chaos caused a by transactional decision that would never have been made if given the correct details.
Fighting a national company on your own is a dismal experience. The whole episode was devastating. I didn’t want to go to court, the court didn’t want it they wanted mediation, but Strutt and Parker and their developer client Stone Homes left no option. After I had purchased through them, and had purchased through their misstatements, they refused to listen to anything. To place a home buying consumer in that position is extraordinary. Now with a complete shattering of my life, I’m left to pick up the pieces from an impoverished position and to resell the “luxury” home that failed basic amenities. To sell now with disclosures in a worsening housing market, with the missing historic artifact that suffered demolishment after viewing, that had attracted me to the property in the first place.
They were lucky that I could only afford small claims court. It must be exceedingly irritating for a national company to be taken to court and to lose. Their arrogant incompetence about their 130-year-old business they’re supposed to understand, shows how much contempt they hold for their home buying public.
I had trusted Strutt and Parker, they abused that trust.