Pearce & Pearce Surveyors - Scammers(14 Posts)
Hi all, my first mumsnet post - I'm normally a reader rather than a poster!
I have decided to write on here to warn other mumsnetters about a dreadful experience me and my husband have had with Pearce & Pearce Surveyors Ltd and to see if anyone else has ever come across them?
Pearce & Pearce have sent us really aggressive letters about our party wall notice which we served on our neighbours a while ago. We're based in SW London and we were thinking about doing a side return extension on our property. Our neighbours are a really nice older couple and we have always got on with them.
After serving the party wall notice and putting in our planning application with Wandsworth Council, we started to receive some nasty letters from Pearce & Pearce Surveyors. They said they were acting on behalf of our neighbours - this seemed odd to us as the tone of the letters was very aggressive, and yet we had not fallen out with our neighbours and were not to our knowledge having a dispute about the works (eg. we had already agreed to appoint an independent surveyor for them and when we bumped into eachother we had the usual small talk).
Our neighbours told us that P&P contacted them out of the blue offering to "represent" them against us regarding the party wall. I have since found out that P&P pay Wandsworth Council (and other borough Councils) to buy the data of the adjoining property owners when a planning permission application is lodged - and the Council sell the data for a fee to them. Once they have the data they cold call the neighbours to try and get instructed to act on their behalf.
We have now received a total of 5 increasingly aggressive letters since October last year. They threaten legal action and have claimed our party wall notice was invalid for a variety of reasons. The particularly weird thing about them is that, after the really aggressive first half of the letter, the second half suggests that we instruct Pearce & Pearce as our surveyor and that all of these problems would go away if we did instruct them. It's a really horrible and cynical business practice. I'm a lawyer and I am pretty sure the legality of the letters is very questionable. It seems like harrassment and bullying to me.
In any case, we are not going ahead with the work anymore (not because of Pearce & Pearce but because we decided to move house rather than extend) - and we have told our neighbours this, but we are still receiving nasty letters from Pearce & Pearce. In the last one we have received they say they have advised our neighbours to instruct a solicitor and bring a claim against us. All of this is really ridiculous, given that we are no longer doing the work and we have not fallen out with our neighbours.
I think the morals of this company are extremely questionable and I don't know how they can feel comfortable with the way they buy data and then try and cause disputes between neighbours.
We have been lucky in our case, but I imagine others have had serious issues caused by these people. My builder mentioned to me he had come across them a number of times in SW London.
Has anyone else had the same issues?
I am going to complain to the company and inform Trading Standards, as I would like these people investigated.
Would be interested to hear from anyone with similar issues or who has come across them before...
Wow, that's shocking. I would complain like hell. Also isn't it a data breach for the council to sell on personal contact details (presumably they were on the party wall notice)?
Are you sure the council sell the data? I'm in sw London and our council have all planning applications on their website. Very easy for these companies to find.
Tbh this was how we found out our neighbours were planning an extension when we received a letter saying we should instruct the sender. Our neighbours decided to move instead of extending. They were lovely (and quiet), hope they didn't receive the same sort of letters as you!
Report them to the RICS too; not just Trading Standards.
Thanks so much for posting this! We're having an extension done and Pearce & Pearce contacted our (very nice) neighbours unsolicited and encouraged them to dissent. Our neighbours appointed them, alas, without speaking to us first.
We then got what we felt was a really aggressive letter from Pearce & Pearce outlining 3 options, all of which involved paying them rather a lot.
I called RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) and they told me Pearce & Pearce aren't RICS-registered. I am really uncomfortable having them involved in any way, especially having read your post.
Even our neighbour has agreed that Pearce & Pearce's letter was aggressive, and they've agreed to un-appoint them. But she's worried about how they'll respond. Having read your experience, we're pretty worried too. Ugh. Horrible.
Hope things worked out for you.
Dear London Live,
My name is Matthew Pearce and I am the Managing Director of Pearce & Pearce Surveyors Limited. Your forum post from February this year has only just been brought to my attention.
Firstly, I would like to apologise that the letters that were sent to you appeared to be more aggressive in tone than they needed to be, and I have taken on board the criticisms that you have made in this regard. Having taken on board your comments, an immediate meeting between the directors of Pearce & Pearce Surveyors Limited took place, and the result of that meeting was that we have redrafted a new version of the last letter you received concerning the Invalid Party Wall Notice which, whilst setting out the facts as to the requirement for validly serving Party Wall Notices, has a less adversarial tone.
Whilst the recent meeting of directors primarily focused on the last letter you received, we also took the opportunity to review all of our standard letters and have made minor alterations throughout, again with the intention of reducing the risk of any of our communications being interpreted as unnecessarily aggressive.
We are always seeking to improve the quality of our services, and your comments with regard to the tone of the letters have assisted us greatly. Indeed, I do not view poor feedback as a strict negative, rather I see it is an opportunity to examine our services and make improvements where necessary. On this occasion, I would like to apologise for any distress caused to you or your neighbour and assure you that this was certainly not our intention. We endeavour to offer an informative service and for the most part our communications are met with positive feedback. After having read your feedback I am sure you will appreciate that it was imperative that we acted professionally and swiftly to ensure we maintain the good reputation we have worked hard to establish. I am confident that if you would like to contact me direct to discuss the steps we have taken further to your post, you will be satisfied with our actions.
Turning now to some of the more specific complaints in your post: I would confirm that we have never paid Wandsworth local authority, or any local authority for that matter, for planning information, nor have we ever offered to pay any local authority for such information. Information relating to planning applications is freely available in the public domain.
London Live, I am very grateful to you for bringing these matters to my attention. Having had a chance to reflect on your case, I can certainly appreciate your points of view and admit that I may well have felt the same had I been in your position. I hope you will appreciate that we have not tried to sweep your feedback under the carpet once it was brought to our attention, but acted swiftly in taking on board your concerns, so that we may improve our service in the future.
If you would like to discuss anything relating to the handling of your particular case, or indeed to find out about any of the improvements we have made since your complaint, please feel free to contact me directly.
I have just received a letter from then, I thought it was a scam from the off as they got important details wrong about the house next door, which is not owned by an individual but a housing association and I have already been in contact with them, ( they have agreed to my choice of surveyor already) plus my initial planning application was turned down ( so Pearce are out of date) so now we are going down the conservatory route and I already have a sort of one in place, with foundations already done, for 17 yrs. Has anyone tracked down the individual named Mathew Pearce to see if he is real? I am just not replying and am contacting my builder and surveyor about it. I hope no one falls for this at all, my biggest wonder was that they put a name to my supposed neighbour, which is incorrect, and they thought I would not know my neighbours name!! I know this is London, but even so !!!
Oops didn't read all the posts, so the mysterious Mathew has sent an essay in, still doesn't excuse these awful letters as there are a lot of vunerable people out there who will fall for this sort of threatening and scary rubbish. I will do a report as Wowfudge says. Also on the council selling info, I accused my planning dept of this after I started to get lots of letters from builders when I submitted the planning app. They said they didn't sell it and it was in the public demain, which I think is shocking at this stage of a plan.
Anyway Mathew Pearce, ignorance is no defence in law. Stop bullying people and sending these scary letters. If you were any good you would have plenty of work.
ps. I see his reply was in April , however he has not done as he says he will as my letter arrived in August, dated 9th of August. So that post of his is more flannel. I hope he gets his come uppance and stops trying to extort money from people.
It isn't shocking that planning applications are in the public domain - it's to ensure the information is freely available to anyone and everyone who may be affected. The fact that people then decide to contact the applicants or their agents, etc is, I'm afraid, just par for the course in this day and age. Using bully boy tactics is not on though.
One would hope that those affected by a planning proposal are already aware of it as you talk to you neighbours! It is shocking that these are available for the likes of Pearce to see.
ami planning applications have been publicised for as long as I can remember - it used to be that they were published in the classified section of local newspapers (I don't know if they still are). Details of the application have to be posted outside the property. The only difference these days is that anyone with internet access can very quickly see all the week's applications via council websites.
This isn't shocking. What is shocking is a member of a professional body behaving in an underhand way in the name of marketing. That said, this firm may not be breaching any professional code of conduct; I don't know.
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