APRIL 15, 2009
Fancy £26,450 for not doing anything useful? That seems to be what commercial estate agents RTA Business Consultants want.
We've written before about this lot taking fees from people wanting to sell their businesses, and who then get no offers.
But we've not come across anything like this.
Ken Bryan paid around £800 to put his Devon glazing firm The Glass Factory on the market in 2004 after RTA valued it at the hopelessly high £649,000.
"It was the biggest mistake of my life," said Ken. After no buyers surfaced, he called to end the contract and six months later sold for £150,000 to a friend.
RTA recently discovered that the sale had taken place and wants a £26,000 commission.
"No contact for five years and then I get this invoice," Ken said.
With legal costs and interest, RTA says Ken faces a bill "well in excess of £50,000" if it goes to court.
We've fallen out with RTA directors Paul O'Reilly and Nigel Davidson, who won't talk to us.
So, to be fair, here's how O'Reilly justifies the demand in a letter to Ken: "This agreement was to remain in force until revoked in writing... at no time whatsoever have you sought to withdraw our instructions."
So RTA says it deserves a five-figure payment because Ken apparently didn't follow its cancellation procedure. It doesn't try to claim it did anything worthwhile to sell his factory.
Nice work if you can get it.