Humberts’ website signs off with a fake phone number for clients to call

The company's website was taken offline yesterday afternoon amid strong speculation that it is entering administration, some 19 months after it was bought by Natural Retreats out of a previous period of administration.

The website of estate agency Humberts has been down since yesterday afternoon following leaks from shocked staff claiming that the company has gone into administration.

A holding page has been uploaded that, for any page accessed, says the company’s website is ‘Under Maintenance’ (see above) and customers seeking to contact the company are directed to call ‘01234 56789’ which is not a real number, while an ‘email us’ button does not work.

No official denial or confirmation of the company’s status has been released so far by the company, which is not responding to requests submitted by media organisations for more information.

This includes what vendors who are selling their homes through the company should do, or whether its handful of franchisees would be able to continue trading.

So far only shocked employees have released information about the company’s claimed demise, telling Property Industry Eye on Sunday that 47 people were affected after being sent an internal memo.

Hub approach

Humberts has only just finished setting up its network of hubs which, apart from a few franchises, replaced its directly-managed high street branches, and only seven months ago it promoted the architect of its ‘hub’ approach, COO Tim Symmons, to be CEO.

Its first and flagship hub was is Poundbury but others followed in Sevenoaks, Cheshire, Taunton, Exeter and Bath.

If its fall into administration is confirmed, it will be just 19 months after the company was bought out of a previous administration by upmarket holiday rentals firm Natural Retreats. It had been hoped that the deep pockets of its parent company, lower operating costs and increased revenues from holiday lets would buy the company more time.

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