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Countrywide plc cover-up may result in police investigation of ‘illegal dealings’

By John Donovan

MY NEPHEW, RICHARD DENTON.

Regular readers of this website may recall that in mid-February, I published an article about the the astonishing incompetence and mendacity of Carsons Estate Agents (a subsidiary of Countrywide plc) in its dealings with my nephew Richard Denton.

When I published the article, I challenged Carsons/Countrywide to issue defamation proceedings against me if they disputed the assertions I had made. It speaks volumes that no such action has been taken to protect the reputation of the UK’s largest Estate Agency Company.

As a result of Richard placing his trust in their claimed integrity, competence and experience, he was made homeless for over a year.  This was despite owning a house worth nearly £400,000. He could not live there because he made the mistake of  instructing Carsons to act as agents in the sale of the property. After accepting their advice and assurances, he ended up with a tenant, supposedly a purchaser, occupying his home. Richard never ever put his house up for rental. Only for sale.

So how, you may ask, did he end up with an unwanted tenant who soon stopped paying any rent, while Richard was made homeless?

Carsons Reading, Berkshire branch, introduced a would be purchaser who they now describe in writing as a ‘con-artist’. Richard was told by Carsons that there was a short delay in the arrival of transferred funds to facilitate the purchase and that to save the deal falling through, he should vacate the property and allow the purchaser to occupy it on a temporary rental basis.

They promised that he would be fully protected, claiming that their Lettings Department had the necessary expertise and experience to safeguard his interests.

In an act of breathtaking incompetence and irresponsibility, Carsons neglected to carry out any reference checks of any kind and supplied a hopelessly flawed so called “Lettings Agreement”. Most of the normal terms and conditions used in short term tenancy agreements were entirely missing. Their Lettings Agreement was a joke.

Richard had never rented a property or ever seen a Lettings Agreement, so he was entirely reliant on Carsons/Countywide and thought he was dealing with a trustworthy diligent Estate Agency.

Carsons suggested and drafted the Lettings Agreement. It was prepared and printed at their premises on their paper, using their ink and equipment. Carsons/Countrywide has subsequently attempted to deny any connection with the Lettings Agreement and in an attempt to evade responsibility has fabricated (manufactured) false evidence.

It is claimed by Carsons/Countywide plc that my nephew dictated the Lettings Agreement over the telephone to a then Carsons/Countrywide employee, Mr John Munday. This is a complete fiction. No such telephone conversation ever took place.

Carsons/Countrywide carried out two investigations into the dubious circumstances surrounding what they have themselves described as ‘illegal dealings”. The Carsons employee who dealt supposedly on Richards behalf with the “con-artist” accepted a valuable celebratory gift from the ‘con-artist’ for his help in the “illegal dealings”, in which Richard was the victim. This has been admitted in writing.

Carsons/Countrywide has given two different explanations as to the origination of the Lettings Agreement. One version as a result of the first investigation and a different account in the second investigation. Both are untrue and amount to a cover-up.

As a result of action taken by Richard, Carsons/Countrywide is now legally obligated within a prescribed period to supply him with all relevant Carsons/Countrywide internal documents, including statements obtained from relevant Carsons/Countrywide employees, Christian Wicks and John Munday. We note that more than one statement was obtained from Wicks in the first investigation.

When all of the information is received, a decision will be made on whether to bring in the police, as ironically twice recommended by Carsons/Countrywide to investigate the “illegal dealings”. The “illegal dealings” may involve a criminal conspiracy.

I suggested in my article that Grenville Turner, the Group Chief Executive of Countrywide, should intervene immediately to find out the truth about the provenance of the so called Lettings Agreement foisted on my nephew in very dubious circumstances.

I repeat again that it is in the best interests of Countrywide Plc investors that the cover-up strategy is stopped before more damage is done to the reputation of the company. How many more Carsons/Countrywide employees and directors are going to be sucked into this sorry tale of incompetence, audacious deceit, evasion (and corruption?) before responsibility is accepted for the “terrible ordeal” inflicted on my nephew.

Correspondence file/website

Countrywide Plc: The UK’s largest estate agency and lettings network. 46 high street estate agent brands.

Abbotts Countrywide; Buckell & Ballard; Alan de Maid; Chappell & Matthews; Austin & Wyatt; Bairstow Eves Countrywide; Bridgfords; carsons; Dixons Estate Agents; Entwistle Green; Faron Sutaria; Frank Innes; Freeman Forman; Fulfords; Gascoigne-Pees; John D. Wood & Co; Mann Countrywide; Miller Countrywide; Morris Dibben; PS Palmer Snell; Countrywide Scotland; Geering & Colyer; Hetheringtons Countrywide; Slater Hogg & Howison; Spencers Countrywide; Stratton Creber Countrywide; Taylors Estate Agents; Watson Bull & Porter; Wilson Peacock Estate Agents; King & Chasemore; Lock & England; R A Bennett & Partners; Rentons Countrywide; SLM; Andrew Butler; HamptonsInternational

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