National newspaper , The Express has earned the ire of a property agent over an article warning the public to be wary of “tricks” being pulled by estate agents.

The national publication is advising prospective buyers to ask for proof when they are informed by the property agent that another buyer has submitted a higher bid, however, such a move could possibly overstep data protection laws.

According to the HomeOwners Alliance(HOA), such a trick is used by estate agents to force the property buyers to raise their offer. The seller in this case gets more money under false pretenses and at the same time raises the commission agents get to bring home. This is why asking for a written proof becomes important, but the chances of getting one isn’t really certain regardless of the legalities. An agent would hardly sell himself out if a buyer decides to call the bluff.

How the trick works, according to HOA, is that the buyer’s offer is accepted and that the property will be taken out of the market and the process of acquisition will begin. After some time though, the agent will inform the buyer that a previous interested party has increased their offer. This should raise the alarm bells. If you think you are being tricked, call the agent’s bluff and ask for proof that such a buyer exists.

The article further advises prospective sellers not to reveal their minimum price because even if agents are looking to get a good price they wouldn’t spend too much time earning their commission and would agree to a lower offer to get the deal done and over with.

The newspaper excerpt according to surveyor Alan Batt has resulted “to a gross misrepresentation of the industry” and encouraging the breach of numerous data protection and consumer regulation laws. He further states that agents work very hard at providing clients with a professional service. And that the industry is responsible for employing thousands and raises a significant amount of money for various charities.