Estate agent accused of engaging a contractor to systematically tear down rivals' signs
A national newspaper has accused, Chiswick based estate agent Foxtons of engaging in "board wars" with rival estate agents.
It has alleged that Jon Hunt, the multi-millionaire founder of Foxtons, contracted teams to remove rivals' signs in an attempt to drive up market share in the London property market. They claim that up to 500 signs a week are being removed at night.
According to the Times they are in possession of documents which they claim are signed by Mr Hunt and order contractors to target particular agents. The designation given to agents singled out is "EA" or enemy agents.
Earlier in the year Hamptons International had threatened to sue Foxtons over board removals in the North London area and according to the Times several London agents are planning to sue Foxtons claiming losses running into six figures.
Foxtons is one of many agents that have been fined for putting up boards outside properties that they were not selling in order to get cheap advertising. The firm was forced to apologise to Government spin doctor Alastair Campbell after putting up a bogus board outside his house. The controversial firm has been in the news for all the wrong reasons over the last year with the Advertising Standards Authority upholding a complaint that their advertisements were misleading and a judge supporting a client who they had sued for withholding part of their fee after what he said was substandard service.
Charles Lankester, director of communications for Foxtons reportedly described the allegations as being preposterous. They are accusing the Times of using an unreliable source for the information and that this person had previously tried to blackmail Foxtons and Jon Hunt.
Foxtons signs have been appearing more widely across Chiswick recently as part of their sponsorship of two local school fairs. They donate money to the school in return for parents displaying their sign outside their property for a limited period.
June 14, 2003
Comment on this story on the