Ombudsman Services (OS) is withdrawing from the property industry today. This leaves any agents who have not changed provider high and dry.
The withdrawal follows the announcement in February that it would be leaving the sector. At the time it said OS no longer wanted to offer a “broken solution to a broken market”.
The not-for-profit organisation has also fired a parting shot over the industry’s bows as it exits. Its says the 40 organisations who help regulate the sector are “failing consumers”.
“Redress in the housing sector is a really confusing picture for all involved,” its Chief Ombudsman Lewis Shand Smith said in February.
“The patchwork of Alternative Dispute Resolution and ombudsman schemes is a mystery to consumers and is incredibly difficult for them to navigate.” OS also said it would be developing a new model of redress for the sector, but this has yet to materialise.
Any agent who has been using its services but who has yet to find an alternative now has just a few hours to sign up with either market leader The Property Ombudsman or rival the Property Redress Scheme.
“Today marks the culmination of a six-month managed withdrawal process, a key part of which has been informing property and housing companies registered with OS of our decision to withdraw from the sector,” says Ombudsman Services spokeswoman Nicolette Granite (pictured)
“We have contacted participating companies on numerous occasions as part of a comprehensive communications and awareness campaign. As a result, many have taken the important step of signing up with a different scheme.”
Complaints received about agents by OS up until the end of today will be investigated “to resolution”, she says.