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  1. ITV Report

Somerset estate agents admit to price-fixing

Photo: PA

Four Somerset estate agents have agreed to pay fines totalling over £370,000 to the Competition and Markets Authority, after admitting illegal price-fixing.

The following businesses have admitted breaking competition law by taking part in a price-fixing cartel in the Burnham-on-Sea area.

  • Abbott and Frost Limited,
  • Gary Berryman Estate Agents Ltd (and its parent company Warne Investments Limited),
  • Greenslade Taylor Hunt and
  • West Coast Property Services (UK) Limited

This saw them collude to set minimum commission rates for residential property sales at 1.5%, with a view to denying local home-owners selling their property the chance of securing a better deal.

Credit: PA

"Moving home is expensive and this shouldn’t be made worse by estate agents conspiring to deny their customers the best possible deal, by agreeing not to compete on fees."

"Price-fixing cheats customers, and we are committed to tackling it regardless of the size of the businesses involved. We have taken action against estate agents before, and will do so again if firms break the law."

– Stephen Blake, Senior Director, Cartel Enforcement

The businesses involved agreed to settle with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) after a year-long investigation.

Another company, Annagram Estate Agents Limited (trading as ‘C J Hole’), will not be fined - as long as it continues to cooperate – as it was the first company to confess its participation in the cartel.