Berkshire estate agents directors banned for price-fixing

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For sale signImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The four estate agents in Berkshire colluded to set minimum rates for commission on home sales for nearly seven years

Two former directors of estate agents have been disqualified for six-and-a-half years for their part in an illegal price-fixing cartel.

Stephen Jones and Neil Mackenzie were directors at estate agents Richard Worth and Michael Hardy respectively.

Four firms ran the racket and set minimum rates of commission on the sale of homes.

A Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigation found the activity was kept up for nearly seven years.

Three of the four estate agents, including Richard Worth and Michael Hardy, were fined more than £600,000 in December.

They colluded to set commission rates on the sale of homes in Wokingham, Winnersh, Crowthorne, Bracknell and Warfield.

Prospect agency was fined £268,765, Michael Hardy fined £142,843 and Richard Worth, which is now run by a different firm, was fined £193,911.

The fourth estate agent, Romans, was not fined because it informed the CMA about the illegal activity.

The CMA said the scam meant homeowners were "denied the chance of securing the best possible deal" because they could not "meaningfully shop around their local estate agents for a better commission rate".

The latest disqualifications mean 18 people have been banned following CMA investigations.

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