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safe-agent  Just how SAFE is your AGENT?

A number of years ago I made a mistake, yep I know it’s hard to imagine but I did, the internet had not long been up and running and I decided to book a holiday on it. Today this is a simple procedure, numerous well known sites, super fast broadband and secure locations, easy! Not then though, it would take 3 minutes to down load each page, line by line, with limited companies advertising, but I soldiered on until… “booked it!”, then straight to the pub to boast to all my mates about how clever I was booking a bargain and all online, that was until the holiday company went bust 2 weeks before departure and I lost the lot!

These days this situation would not happen, every company you use for holidays are covered by ABTA or ATOL, protecting you as a consumer, ensuring you do not experience what I did. Let’s face it, if you found a holiday company offering “Benidorm Madness” for half price and they were not ABTA or ATOL protected you wouldn’t book it, would you? So why then do thousands of people make the same type of blunder every year with their letting agents?

A couple of weeks ago I was emailing about this subject to our lettings crew (Carrie and Frewy) and I asked the question about the organisation we belong to, Safe Agent, and this was the response…

Dear Bushy,

The best thing about Safe Agent is that it does what it says on the tin. The Landlord and the tenant’s money are safe, you wouldn’t book a holiday without using an ABTA/ATOL travel agent – it’s the same thing.

It’s that simple, we are SAFE agents.

How it works is to become a Safe Agent the lettings company must be a member of a recognised body – ARLA, the law society, NALS or RICS. This then provides built in “client protection insurance” safeguarding the consumers’ money, therefore should something happen to the agents business the customer will still get their funds – brilliant! Well, you would think the word brilliant is the right one wouldn’t you? The problem is that this is not compulsory and not all agents are members (there are certain criteria on joining etc) and so far the Government has held back from making this law….why?

This weekend marks “Safe Agent Day” as the organisation continues to rally support ensuring that every customer in the UK is protected (more information – http://www.safeagents.co.uk/). All registered agents carry a Safe Agent logo, so my advice would be don’t hand over your money unless the agent has one!

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I did get a holiday that year, but as nice as camping in the Gower is, it’s not a boys holiday in Lloret de Mar!

Andy Bushell