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May 2009

Name change for OEA

New title designed to reflect expansion

THE Ombudsman for Estate Agents scheme has changed its name to The Property Ombudsman Service.

The change, which came into effect on May 1, is designed to reflect the greater scope of a service which is now in its 20th year.

The OEA was founded as the Ombudsman for Corporate Estate Agents in 1990. Christopher Hamer is the current Ombudsman.

Following the name change, there will be a new logo for window displays, in blue with the OFT Approved Codes symbol alongside for sales offices and green without the OFT logo for lettings. Commercial property sales members will have a black logo when the scheme expands soon to cover some of their activities.

“Expansion of our scheme will help ensure its healthy future and spread costs over a wider membership base,” said Bill McClintock, chief operating officer of the service which expects to be known commonly as TPOS, adding that there will still be no charge to members when a complaint is brought against them.

“As the principal means of redress for consumers in the property sector, reflected by 95 per cent of UK estate agency offices being covered by our scheme, and our widening fields of activity which will also extend to include Home Information Packs and property search providers, we considered the old name no longer reflected all that we do.

“Membership has increased dramatically in the past few years and at the same time the OEA has also expanded to take in lettings as well as its original remit to cover agents selling residential property. In the near future, we will also be embracing some commercial property activities as well as the UK end of foreign residential property transactions.

“We have submitted our lettings Code of Practice to the OFT for endorsement under its Consumer Codes Approval Scheme, which we see as vital in current market conditions where lettings are dominating activity.

“There is already great awareness of the OEA symbol and we want that to apply to the new identity as well so the old and new are closely related.

“Consumers have come to recognise the value of the OEA being available to them and we want them to be aware of and understand this change.”