Spicerhaart has again been rocked by allegations of ‘pressure selling’ after a whistleblower revealed at least two cases.
This time the claim relates to the sale of deposit policies offered by Flatfair to tenants.
An email seen by The Neg urges staff to remember tenants cannot be forced to take a Flatfair policy, and mentions two cases being investigated by Spicerhaart directors and Flatfair.
The Flatfair scheme offers an alternative to a cash deposit, with tenants paying a membership fee, which is much less than a deposit would be.
Spicerhaart said last month it was ‘baffled’ by claims that staff were ‘forcing’ insurance on customers.
The email says: “Please can I remind you that Flatfair must be offered as a choice to tenants, it should not be mandated that tenants have to take Flatfair.
“It is ok to say that a landlord would prefer a tenant to have Flatfair, but you cannot advise that a landlord will only accept a tenant if they have Flatfair.”
Fine of £5,000
The company could face a fine of up to £5,000 if it is found to have forced a tenant to take a product, the email warns. Flatfair checks whether the membership was offered as a choice, the email continues.
“We’ve recently had two cases go through where the tenant felt forced to take out a Flatfair membership,” the email says. “These cases are being reviewed by Flatfair and the area directors.”
A Spicerhaart spokesperson says: “Our lettings staff are trained in offering the correct advice regarding products.
“Flatfair informed us that two tenants had said they were not aware the Flatfair No Deposit scheme was optional. As a precaution, and at Flatfair’s request, we have therefore issued a reminder to our team that all tenants must be given the choice to pay a cash deposit if they don’t want to use the Flatfair No Deposit scheme.”