Can Estate Agents Lie About Offerings?


When it comes to buying or selling a property, trust and transparency are paramount. As a prospective buyer or seller, you may find yourself questioning the honesty of the estate agents you’re dealing with. Can estate agents lie about offers? This is a common concern among many people navigating the property market in the UK. In this blog, we’ll explore the extent to which estate agents can mislead clients, the legal ramifications, and how you can protect yourself during the buying or selling process.

Understanding Estate Agents’ Roles and Regulations

Estate agents in the UK are bound by a code of practice and legal regulations aimed at ensuring fair and transparent dealings. The primary legislation governing estate agents is the Estate Agents Act 1979, which mandates that agents act in the best interest of their clients and treat buyers fairly. Additionally, the Property Ombudsman and the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team oversee compliance with these regulations.

Misrepresentation and Its Consequences

Misrepresentation by an estate agent can take various forms, including lying about offers. Here are some common scenarios where dishonesty may occur:

1. Phantom Offers: An estate agent might invent fake offers to create a sense of urgency or to push a buyer into increasing their bid. This practice is not only unethical but also illegal.

2. Inflating Offers: Sometimes, agents may exaggerate the amount of an existing offer to coax higher bids from other prospective buyers.

3. Suppressing Offers: Conversely, an agent might withhold information about lower offers to favour a buyer who offers more lucrative commission opportunities or to close a deal more quickly.

4. Selective Disclosure: Agents may also selectively disclose information to benefit one party over another, undermining the transparency of the transaction.

These practices can lead to significant consequences for estate agents, including fines, revocation of their licence, and potential legal action from affected clients.

Legal Protections for Buyers and Sellers

In the UK, there are several legal protections in place to safeguard buyers and sellers from dishonest estate agents. The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) requires estate agents to provide truthful and accurate information about properties and transactions. Under these regulations, any action or omission that misleads or is likely to mislead consumers and affects their transactional decisions is prohibited.

What to Do if You Suspect Misconduct

If you suspect that an estate agent is lying about offers or engaging in other forms of misconduct, there are steps you can take to address the issue:

1. Ask for Written Confirmation: Request written confirmation of any offers made on the property. Genuine offers should be documented, and an honest agent will have no issue providing this information.

2. Report to the Property Ombudsman: If you believe an estate agent has violated the code of practice or engaged in unethical behaviour, you can file a complaint with the Property Ombudsman. This independent body can investigate your complaint and take appropriate action.

3. Seek Legal Advice: Consult with a solicitor who specialises in property law to understand your rights and explore legal recourse. If you have suffered financial loss due to an agent’s dishonesty, you may be entitled to compensation.

4. Switch Agents: If you lose trust in your current estate agent, consider switching to another firm. There are many reputable estate agents who adhere to ethical practices and provide transparent services.

How to Protect Yourself

Protecting yourself from dishonest estate agents involves a combination of due diligence, clear communication, and awareness of your rights. Here are some tips to help you navigate the property market safely:

1. Research Agents: Before engaging an estate agent, research their reputation and track record. Look for reviews, testimonials, and any past complaints. Membership in professional bodies such as the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) can also be a positive sign.

2. Verify Information: Whenever possible, verify the information provided by the estate agent. This includes property details, offers, and valuations. Independent surveys and valuations can help ensure accuracy.

3. Keep Records: Maintain detailed records of all communications and transactions. This includes emails, letters, and notes from phone conversations. Having a paper trail can be invaluable if disputes arise.

4. Ask Questions: Don’t hesitate to ask questions and seek clarification on any aspect of the transaction. A trustworthy estate agent will be transparent and willing to provide the information you need.

5. Use Solicitors: Engage a qualified solicitor to handle the legal aspects of buying or selling property. A solicitor can offer impartial advice and ensure that all legal requirements are met.

The Role of Trust in Real Estate Transactions

Trust is a critical component of any real estate transaction. While most estate agents are honest and strive to provide excellent service, the actions of a few can undermine trust in the profession. By understanding the regulations that govern estate agents, recognising signs of potential dishonesty, and taking proactive steps to protect yourself, you can navigate the property market with greater confidence.


Estate agents play a vital role in the property market, acting as intermediaries between buyers and sellers. While the majority adhere to ethical standards and legal regulations, there are instances where some may engage in dishonest practices, such as lying about offers. It’s essential to be aware of your rights and the protections in place to ensure fair dealings. By conducting thorough research, asking for documentation, and seeking legal advice when necessary, you can safeguard your interests and make informed decisions. Trust and transparency are the cornerstones of successful real estate transactions, and taking the right precautions can help you achieve a smooth and fair outcome.

If you have any further questions or require assistance with selling or buying your home, don’t hesitate to contact Michael Anthony Estate Agents. Our team of experienced professionals is here to guide you through every step of the process, ensuring a seamless and stress-free experience.

For personalised guidance on selling your property in the UK, consider consulting with Michael Anthony Estate Agents who can provide expert advice tailored to your specific circumstances.