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Survey finds widespread dissatisfaction at factoring services in Scotland

Campaigners who want Scotland's property managers to be properly regulated say factors have a licence to print money and are an industry which is failing homeowners.

A survey commissioned by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has revealed widespread dissatisfaction at the standard and quality of factoring services in Scotland.

Campaigners who want Scotland's property managers to be properly regulated say factors have a licence to print money and are an industry which is failing homeowners.

Recent events prove that even in the most regulated of environments consumers can get ripped off. Perhaps no surprise then that in the largely unregulated Scottish Property Management Industry, consumers feel they are getting a very raw deal. 

Following a study by the Scottish Consumer Council, the Office of Fair Trading launched its own investigation and its findings make further harsh reading for Scotland's property managers.

For the first time the opinions of flat owners across the whole of Scotland were canvassed. 

Fifty-three per cent of owners said they wanted to make a compliant against their factors, 67% said were unhappy at how their complaint was dealt with, and 42% said their factors were ineffective and just under half thought they were getting value for money.

If those kind of results were levelled against other businesses there would be an outcry say campaigners who say that time's up for Scotland's factors  and its time for proper statutory regulation.

Solicitor Mike Dailley said: ""If you want to be a property manager in Scotland you've got to meet a proper standard, that now that applies for anybody else in business in Scotland. Why is it they're the only people who don't have to meet any standards?"

Many respondents believed it would be too problematic to sack their factor but for those who do take them to task, it can be beneficial.

The residents of one Glasgow development pay the same monthly charge but they have negotiated an improved service. 

Flat owner Kimberly Hamilton said: "We've got new plants, CCTV in the car park, a breakdown of our charges and a concierge.

Under pressure to clean up their industry, some property managers are admitting that there is a need for greater transparency.

Nicola Brady from Peverel Management Services said: "Those who operate good practise are really pleased to see this coming forward but there are some who will be shaking in their boots and know they wil have to pull their socks up."

Whether the OFT take a robust stand or opt for a revised voluntary code will be revealed when it publishes its recommendations at the end of this month.

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