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Something very fishy is going on……urgent help needed

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Hi All,


I hope you are all well, I have a scenario which I need opinions and expert advice on.


·         House almost purchased (value 800/900k – residential home not BTL)


·         5 days before completion buyer received call from solicitor saying ‘the seller has pulled out’ no reason given


·         Buyer called Estate agent immediately who said ‘we contacted your solicitor to get an update and gave them 3 days to reply with an update of progress if no reply received seller will pull out’ apparently no reply received so seller pulled out


·         Buyer argued surely agent should have called the buyer, and argued this is highly unorthodox to pull out 5 days before completion. During the conversations back and forth between solicitor/agent/buyer the agent let slip the seller has received a higher offer by 15k from a cash buyer.


·         Buyer offered 25k more and explained if the seller switches to the cash buyer now it will still take longer than 5 days to complete which he is in a position to do within 5 days + is offering £25k more. Agent replied ‘the seller just doesn’t want to deal with you anymore, you could offer £1m they do not want to sell to you’


·         Sellers are an elderly couple. This sale has not taken any longer than any usual house sale and there have been no issues, quite standard progress.


·         Theory: Someone (this cash buyer) has greased the agent who has then told the seller some cock and bull story which the seller has just believed as they know no better being inexperienced in the housing game and being elderly (no offence to any elderly readers). Whilst this unfortunately does happen doing it 5 days before completion is strange and on property of such value as buyers are going to be rare. 


·         The agent is not a national chain but an independent small business. Seller has contacted business owner and complained to the Ombudsman, and also sent a letter to the seller explaining the situation as does not believe the agent. Ombudsman has said can take 8 weeks to process a complaint which is too long as the house will be long gone by then (I appreciate it may already be long gone).




1.       What can be done to find out what has happened here as the story of solicitor not replying in 3 days sounds highly dubious. Surely it’s in the agents interest to encourage the seller to stay with the current buyer who is 5 days from completion?


2.       Does anyone have any experience of being gazumped in this fashion and what did you do?


3.       Thousands in the various surveys and fees have been spent – can this be clawed back from agent (I presume if it can be proven that a bribe was taken then yes)?


4.       What can the ombudsman do?


This is an effort to try to get the house back (appreciate could be unlikely) but more about a matter of principle to take action against the agent who it seems has vested interest.


Many thanks in advance for your replies.



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Funnily enough, an acquaintance has just gone through exactly the same thing (with lower figures!).  They wrote a letter to the sellers explaining what the estate agent had told them and laying out their increased offer, drove over there and put it through the front door.  They had a phone call from the sellers within 30 minutes, who'd known absolutely nothing about what was going on, and it turned out the EA was trying to pull a fast one and sell it to a mate.  Acquaintance moved in last week.


Worth a try?

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