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A West Midlands estate agent has this week been sentenced to six weeks in jail, suspended for two years, and fined £4,000.
Wolverhampton Crown Court handed down the sentence after Amerjit Singh Dhuga pleaded guilty to engaging in estate agency work while banned together with two offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
The offences took place between August 2016 and November 2020, when, despite previous convictions for fraud and breaching consumer protection regulations. Dhuga deceived customers by continuing to work as an estate agent
An investigation by the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team concluded Dhuga, of Oldbury, West Midlands, had been playing an active part in running Love Your Postcode Limited.
Trading Standards found that Love Your Postcode Limited had provided valuations, ‘more often to the sum of £10,000 less’ than market value, and this its own advantage.
Love Your Postcode Limited also pleaded guilty to breaching professional diligence requirements by failing to declare to customers that Dhuga could not lawfully undertake estate agency work. The company was fined £16,000 which was reduced to £12,000 because of its early guilty pleas.
‘Buying or renting a home is a major financial transaction for people and it is important that the public can rely on legitimate estate agents to provide a professional service. Working as an estate agent while banned is against the law and we will take action against dishonest fraudsters who try to con the public’, said National Trading Standards chairman Lord Toby Harris.