A conveyancer has described how she ended up fearing for her safety and calling the police after harassment from the buyers on the other side.
The licensed conveyancer, who runs her own firm and wants to remain anonymous, told Legal Futures that the harassment included sending her 32 identical emails in less than 10 minutes and calling a colleague 20 times after midnight.
“I’ve done this job for 37 years and I’m used to dealing with abusive people on the phone,” she said.
“Never have I encountered such aggression and harassment. I felt very vulnerable and I’m not an anxious person.”
The conveyancer, based in the North-West, said the colleague who was called in the night on her work mobile did not want to come into the office afterwards in case the buyers, an Eastern European couple, turned up.
The police interviewed the conveyancer and her colleague, a chartered legal executive, over the phone about the harassment, but the firm had not “heard a thing” since then.
The property involved was a house on the Wirral, owned by a Greek woman living in London. The woman had three different names – one for when she was in England, one for when she was Greece and she had recently got married.
It took over four months before her identity was fully checked because of the time taken to obtain documents from her.
The buyers responded by sending 32 identical emails to her in less than ten minutes and 49 to a colleague, demanding that completion happen by a certain date, using red capital letters and plenty of exclamation marks.
The harassment went on for several weeks, and the buyers ignored requests from their own solicitor and estate agent to stop contacting the seller’s lawyers.
On one occasion, mistaking her for a receptionist, the buyers demanded to speak to the conveyancer.
When told that this was not possible because they were not clients, the male buyer gave her “loads of verbal abuse” before handing the phone to his partner who “yelled at her”.
She said her conveyancing firm already operated an appointments-only policy, with locked doors. “I told the girls not to open the doors to anyone else. I’ve got to protect my staff.”
The conveyancer said that, despite everything, the transaction completed on last Friday.
Over the past 12 months, she said abusive behaviour and harassment by buyers and sellers had got “far worse”.
She suggested that part of the reason was the delays caused by the stampede caused by the stamp duty holidays, the last of which ended in September.
“There’s no respect any more for the professions. Part of the problem are people’s expectations in a ‘me, me, me’ society where people use Amazon and want everything the next day.”