Property Professionals in Administration – Next Steps

Since the ‘renowned’ training provider Property Professionals went into administration there has been a flurry of people and organisations offering advice, guidance and support.

Initially, estimates calculated that there were approximately 800 affected prospective domestic and commercial energy assessors and home inspectors. The list of training courses that they provided does extend past energy assessment and home inspection but these were the main thrust of ‘Property Professionals’ sales and marketing campaigns. Recently, more updated reported figures place the number caught up in the debacle at nearer 2,500 with people coming forward who have previously been reluctant to do so.

The amount of information on the situation which is being described as the ‘property professionals scam‘ on the moneysavingexpert forum is increasing by the day.

Next steps for trainees with Property Professionals

Get hold of your assessment portfolio

If you have not already, it is your property and has no value to Property Professionals. The administrator has arranged various days on which collection can be arranged. Contact the administrator – HJS Recovery, Telephone: 02380 234222

Once you have this you can then transfer your ABBE registration to another ABBE training centre (which can be found on the ABBE website) if you choose to continue.

The cost of completing your qualification will depend on what stage you are at:
1. registered with ABBE, failed exam, and not completed portfolio
2. registered with ABBE, passed exam, and completed portfolio
3. passed exam, and had portfolio successfully assessed by an approved assessor.

Differing training providers will charge differing amounts, there is no set fee for any of the above scenarios. Please make due consideration whether any further outlay is sensible or viable.

Property Professional payment methods

The 3 main ways people have funded the training courses provide different scenarios. If you paid by:

Credit card

You should contact your credit card company and claim a refund. It is not apparent how successful this will be at present.

Finance agreement with Barclays

Barclays should write to you shortly explaining the process. However, the address is Barclays Partner Finance, PO Box 3979, Glasgow G51 1YL or call them on 0844 811 9000.

Cash

Unfortunately, if you paid in cash you are another creditor and will have to wait to see if the administrators can sell the business or not. If they are not successful selling the business and Property Professionals is liquidated it will be dependant on whether there are enough assets that will allow them to refund you.

You can get free expert advice on the situation from Consumer Direct. Their telephone number is 08454 04 05 06 or their website is www.consumerdirect.gov.uk.

If you are still unclear about your position, Joseph Pestell (secretary@ihi.org.uk), secretary of the Institute of Home Inspectors has been working closely with many of those affected looking at possible solutions and future options available and maybe able to help you clarify the situation.

But… should I continue training as a DEA or Home Inspector?

We have highlighted issues facing those considering or actually trained as a DEA or Home Inspector and previously highlighted the outrage of industry professionals at the type of self-promotion by training providers in past articles. Whilst many prospective trainees reconsidered the option it is clear many more than was required decided to train.

Certainly, it is not a given that those who have unfortunately been affected will simply pay the additional money to a new training provider, complete the course and go onto make a successful career in the industry. We have always advocated research by the individual and now is no different.

For those who were training as a Home Inspector and have paid in the region of £5-10K whether spending ‘good money after bad’ is the correct decision when there are more trained Home Inspectors than actual Home Condition Reports carried out is questionable. The same could also be said in regard to Domestic Energy Assessors; based upon a FOI Application we made in June 2009 there were approx 12,000 DEAs which is roughly 4 times more than is general recognised is needed within the industry, i.e. 3,000.

We will try and update our site with any new progressions or news in regard to the Property Professionals Administration as and when it becomes available.

As always we look forward to hearing your thoughts; especially if you have been involved or are already within the industry and may be able to offer your advice or thinking towards potential prospects.


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36 Responses to “Property Professionals in Administration – Next Steps”

  1. I am embarassed to say i am caguht up in this. What an absolute shambles and i really do not know if i will carry on. How were they allowed to sell the home inspector course if HCRs are not even being done. Not how they made us all believe. With reexam fees etc i have now paid over £8k and is unlikely i will get any back

  2. It is an absolute disgrace and i have read today that David Cameron opened the actual training centre that many of these people were ripped off by.

    The only saving grace may be that as the amount was pretty large not many will of paid using their own funds.

  3. There is a lot of misleading information flying around. We all know we have now been scammed but there seems to be a further onset of leeches trying to take more of our money.

    There does seem to be some with honorable intentions but it is so hard to identify them amongst the vultures. There is a person who does not want to identify himself and goes by the alias of con detective. Are we not just jumping from ther frying pan into the fire?

  4. is it worth it? Says:

    I have been quoted £700 to finish my portfolio as a home inspector. I now understand there is not alot of demand for HCRs but will it be possible to make a living doing epcs? thoughts from those qualified would be appreciated.

  5. No it is certainly not worth it. We have really been done over and ABBE and the ASA who received numerous complaints am now told over HIT/Property professionals should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves and resign immediately.

    I paid using cash i took from my mortgage, who is going to pay that back, no-one thats who. I will lose my house, they should lose there jobs.

  6. Hi to all i’m one of the ones that kept on going and jumped every fence and went through it all coming out fully qualified as an HI i only received 2 commissions from HIT over a period of a year and have only managed to do 3 EPC privately one asks was it worth the 10k which includes travel and accommodation answers on a postcard please!!!!!!!!!

  7. Hi David,

    Glad am not the only one who has been caught by this scam. It appears the subsidy i was given was merely part of the sales techniques used as there was obviously no demand from sister company to do HCRs

  8. I was studying in birmingham and find it hard to beleive that no-one ever looked into these guys if what they were saying was lies. What did ABBE do, what did the advertising watchdogs do, and where were the institutes.

    Everyone is reacting now but can anyone actually say they were doing something before it happened or are we witnessing yet more scams happeneing without realising yet?

    I have made a formal request for more information about what these bodies knew about Property Professionals and what they did, watch this space as i am not going to be ripped off.

  9. @Ty Some organisation did try to highlight potential issues with the manner in which some training providers were promoting themselves. If you read some of the articles linked to in the above you will see these concerns stretched back into 2008.

    External organisations we are aware of did also make complaints to ASA and others, though they would be able to tell you better of their exact actions

    There seems to be many differing scenarios and stages people have reached and it is a decision which requires some research before any actions are taken.

  10. Am sorry if this shocks you guys, but wake up and smell the coffeee. What did you do before you started and paid for the course?

    Certainly this site is on google and moneysaving experts thread is very old about this exact subject and pitfalls, have you black mints for eyes? It suprises me that you can all find the sites when you come to complaining and whingeing.

    Did you bother reading up on the course before you signed the dotted line or did you just beleive the propaganda, of course the trainer was going to say it was worth training. But that is like asking a cow if milk is tasty. A fool and his money is easily parted and all that….

    Property professionals certainly marketed themselves well to fools. Maybe they could help the politicians with their campaigns

  11. Will the ABBE exam venue now be at Birmingham university now that the great beast H.I.T/PP is finally slain?

  12. i’m another person caught up in this mess i too have remorgaged and am now struggling to find a new career
    but i did pay on credit card so fingers crossed cos i will loose my house if i cant retreive the money all £10,235 of it!

  13. Have any of you seen the new association for Home Inspectors,trainees etc (RSPA) run by FPIP? They are approaching the Parliamentary Ombudsmen to look for compensation and are talking to Legal experts to see if there is a “class action” that can be brought against CLG for the HCR shambles. Any avenue to get my money back will be welcome. See what you think at hipassociation.co.uk.

  14. Hi Richard, are you involved in these organisations?

  15. A new thread has just gone up on Money saving expert I know alot of affected people were participating in the discussions and some very helpful and useful points were being raised. Lets keep helping one another.

  16. Please sign the No 10 petition to support trainees affected by this
    http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Help-PP-trainees/

  17. There was a thread on moneysavingexpert.com for PP+ trainees, however they have closed it down and put up this message:

    MSE Official Insert:
    “This thread (and the previous) have been quarantined pending investigation. If you have a complaint against Property Professionals, please e-mail us at investigations@moneysavingexpert.com, enclosing any evidence you can provide to support your complaint. In the meantime we would ask you not to start any new threads on this”

    So please feel free to bombard them with tales of woe.

  18. As the MSE thread has been removed, can someone please supply an overview of where we are at now.

  19. The most useful page i have seen is the HJS recovery website.
    http://www.hjssolutions.co.uk/hjsrecoverylates.html
    It has a link to the most frequently asked questions. Otherwise look for the google group ‘property professionals support’ Its a good place for info and help.
    As far as where we are at now, it seems that popular opinion is that PP+ contracts were mis sold, due to the numbers we were all quoted prior to signing up.
    That said alot of people want to continue training and get a small something from all the time put in so far.

  20. hi chris, i have signed the above petition but i can tell what the intention is. What is actually trying to achieve?

    It says help PP victims, but how?

    This company went into administration last week leaving more than 1,000 trainees unable to complete training for which they had paid up to £10,000. The company had been the subject of many complaints to Trading Standards, ABBE and Dept of Communities and Local Government but nothing was done in time to prevent this failure. Trainees include those who have invested savings and redundancy payments as well as former military personnel.

    It gives a history of what happened but surely it is wanting to do more than this, i hope

  21. I qualified as a DEA back in mid 2007. I got an estate agent to pay for the training, about £4k, and agreed to work for him at a subsidsed rate per EPC for one year. The property market went belly up, we negotiated an extension on the subsidised EPC work which lasted another six months or so. Meanwhile the rate for EPCs dropped from £75 to £50. I work for two branches of one agent, and two branches of another. Along with my mate who entered the business at the same time and on the same terms we have a fair slice of a large south west connurbation’s EPC demand tucked up. Enviable? No. Neither of us have made a living at it. For the tax year Jan-Dec 2008 my income tax liability as a self employed DEA was about £500. Year 2009 about £750.
    Expenses as a DEA are numerous; travel, report filing charges, computers, complaints, insurance, CRB checks, CPD courses, cameras, laser measures, batteries, etc., but most of all, time, time, time, it just gets eaten away on admin and travel. I reckon I work for less than the minimum wage in effect.
    So, for all those unfortunate victims of PP, continuing as a DEA has some very big question marks. I reckon there are about 3-4 thousand DEAs in the UK making something like the meagre living I ‘enjoy’. Latecomers have little chance of breaking into the market.
    The future for us ‘established’ DEAs is none too good either. If the government changes then it is likely that HIPs will be scrapped and EPCs relegated to a sideline activity – either carried out by surveyors at the time of a survey, brought in house by solicitors, or the whole caboodle given over to British Gas and other utility companies who already have a big foot in the door on certificating installations and appliances etc.
    As for the Home Energy Awareness courses now being touted watch out! Question yourself: where is the workflow and who is going to get it?
    More training? Caveat emptor.

  22. To Robert. The petiton is there to be noticed. Its as simple as that. This event has already been reported in the national press once, it would help everyone realise what a bad job has been done, all the way from CLG and how they have dealt with the need/demand for energy assessment right down to the training providers and their saturation of the profession. this includes the people responsible for ensuring the correct training is supplied. Its not just a PP+ issue, it goes the whole hog. If enough emphasis is put on what is happening, then maybe things could change, for existing DEA’s and the Profession as a whole.

  23. I should add. For more direct help there are groups of trainees to discuss more immediate issues regarding PP+/Loan agreements etc.
    Property professionals in administration on facebook Property professionals support on google.
    Just ask to join.

  24. I have a completed HI portfolio which has been assessed a couple of times and was ready for re-submission when I heard the news about PP. What to do now is the big question.
    Do I find someone else to assess it or just give up?
    To quit and walk away after all the time, money and effort spent so far would be tough.The general opinion seems to be to do just that. I’ve never been one for flogging dead horses but I don’t think I’m ready to give in just yet.
    The comments by that creep Ben (22 Feb) are beyond contempt.
    What motivates anyone to take the time and trouble to ‘kick us when we are down’ is beyond me. We all feel bad enough without some t@@@@r making ‘I told you so’ remarks.
    I was never comfortable with the hype about potential earnings but I was convinced that the lecturers believed what they were telling us was possible. If HIT/PP did exaggerate the potential to attract trainees is unsurprising but to suggest it was all some some elaborate scam just to rip off the gullible seems hard to believe at this stage. But I’ll keep an open mind.
    The training

  25. The google group that i mentioned before has some ideas about continuing with the portfolio. The facebook group is the place to chase up refunds and just get the issue of DEAs from training newcomers, right up to the current oversubscription, noticed. I completely agree about remarks like Bens’ there is no need to kick someone who is down. NOT appreciated

  26. Hi Chris,

    I understand you are trying to help so can you put some info on here as i do not use facebook and would appreciate knowing the best way of going about getting a refund as am sure others do.

    There seems to be alot of people trying to get us to sign upp for this and that and am afraid i am a little sceptical now.Once bitten twice shy.

  27. Hello to all,

    We understand there are various groups, individuals and businesses trying to help affected trainees.

    Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly hard to diferentiate those who are genuinely helping and those who are trying to ‘prey’ on those who have already suffered as part of this situation. We do not want to help facilitate these people causing further pain and abusing people in this awful situation.

    So we are no longer going to allow people to request our readers to make email subscriptions, direct them to closed support groups, visit this website, contact this phone number etc etc etc. This is because it appears some people are gathering personal details to sell products, services and as you may of guessed more training.

    We rarely delete comments left, but these types of comments will either not be published or be heavily edited.

    However, we want to help use our exposure to the benefit of others affected. We are now told there are up to 2500 which have some degree of displeasure with the situation. Our site is publically viewable and there is no need to enter any personal information.

    So, if you as a group, business, organisation or individual has some advice, update etc etc feel free to post it here but not to use our site to direct them elsewhere. Thank you for your understanding.

  28. This is going to be difficult to put on here although i understand Hip consultants position.
    These sites Im afraid people will have to track down for themselves. Look on google for terms like ‘advice for victims of collapsed training schemes- investigation’. This is the Mirror newspapers story and subsequent comments regarding PP+ Also depending on your decision to either continue training or try to get any funding/loans back, the NES website has news of new courses (with costs involved) HJS solutions is the administrators site with updates in the news link. The financial ombudsman website has advice in ‘our complaints procedure and how to complain’ covering section 75 of the consumer credit act. It is up to individualls to decide what they should or shouldn’t do. My decision has been to gather as much information about this matter as i can and to make sure i act on it. The worst thing for me to do would be nothing. I dont want to sit around and let my future be decided for me.

  29. Ok i have read the folowing advice which is similar to orignal

    1. Give your details to the administrator, Shane Biddlecombe, at HJS Recovery, 12-14 Carlton Place, Southampton, Hampshire, SO15 2EA. Email: administator@hjsrecovery.co.uk. Telephone: 023 8023 4222.
    2.If you took out a loan with Barclays Partner Finance to pay for your training then contact them about the possibility of a refund under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 (see Links box below for more information about Section 75 claims).
    3. If you paid for your training using a credit card, and you spent between £100 and £30,000, then you should also be covered for the whole cost of your training package under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974
    4. If you paid for your training using a debit card then contact your bank and request a ‘chargeback’ to be made against that transaction on your card
    5. Log a complaint with Kingston Council Trading Standards who have requested all complaints are logged on the national database.

  30. stephen Button Says:

    Hi there iam also one of the “suckers”who beleived that a government subsidy and awarding body would be security enough and proved pps integrity…..i had a loan agreement with barclays which after toiling and scrapping during a recession has been paid off!!!! several complaints to pp during my first 5 modules was also met with a written response(you could never talk to anyone at pp” and despite how i felt the training was missold just got told refer to contract at every time…ive passed my abbe exam but havent submitted my portfolio where does this leave me can i claim breach of contract under section 75 consumer credit act 1974!!any answers would be welcome

  31. garry hamilton Says:

    Hi i am in the same position as you – where is a good palce to look for the info for section 75 – it seems this may be our only hope. thanks

  32. I signed up with Home Inspector Training Sept 2008. Did one week training with no exam. Tried to cancel Oct 2008 informing Barclays. No help from both parties. Bill came from Barclays £6600 to be paid Sept 09. Paid 3 months late and then had to pay another £2058 for late payment. I am absolutely disgusted with the Company, Barclays and myself. I have paid £8858 in total for nothing. Do you think its worth me trying for some kind of refund.

  33. Sona Norris Says:
  34. Thanks so much Sona.

  35. If BPF stopped financing training companies in 2009, how were PP trainees who enrolled after that date still being allowed to take out finance packages with them for training?

  36. Optimism is the content of small men in high places.

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