Online agency easyProperty staged a three mile street ‘funeral’ procession through central London, with a horse-drawn hearse, a New Orleans-style band and 40 mock high street agents in caricature pin-striped suits, led by chief executive Rob Ellice.
The event saw mock agents carrying banners and wearing the attire of established high street agencies. The banners were held with slogans like ‘Fat Fees’, ‘Sold Out’ and ‘RIP Big £££ Fees’.
The procession started from one of Foxtons’ central London office to Piccadilly Circus, capturing the attention of overseas tourists and passersby. The mock agents passed some of the 178 estate agency offices in Westminster, the borough purposely chosen for the protest. Some genuine agents, including those from Knight Frank and Carter Jonas offices along the route, came out to see the event and ‘jeered’ back – in good spirits.
The stunt encouraged heavy criticism in online blogs and on social media from traditional agents and even from easyProperty’s online rival, eMoov, but still went ahead.
A complaint has been made to Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou and the easyGroup board by founder of the Independent Network of Estate Agent, Trevor Mealham and in an email to the board he describes the stunt as “totally distasteful”.
easyProperty’s PR firm issued a statement saying that with the majority of buyers starting searches for homes online, “age-old dodgy agents who charge ludicrous commissions will be wiped out in the next 10 years.”
See the video here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msEcx-0XU4Y