The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has banned a Southampton-based estate agent because it did not belong to a redress scheme.

In the first move of its kind, the OFT issued prohibition orders against Wolfgang David Dunn, Sean Allen Wren and the estate agency they work for; Astons GB.

An independent OFT adjudicator found that Dunn, Wren and Astons GB had breached the requirement on estate agents to belong to a redress scheme and had failed to pass on an offer from a potential purchaser of a property.

It also found that they had intentionally failed to provide the OFT with information as required by the Estate Agents Act when it was conducting its investigation.

Dunn and Wren were served with a £1000 penalty charge by Southampton Trading Standards Services for not being a member of a redress scheme – and after they failed to join a scheme, the case was referred to the OFT.

Dunn and Wren were given 28 days to appeal, but have not exercised that right.

Since 1 October last year, all residential estate agents are required to join one of the two redress schemes currently approved by the OFT and operated by The Property Ombudsman and the Surveyors Ombudsman Service.

Charles Wallace, OFT head of estate agency enforcement, said: 'These are serious breaches and a reminder to all estate agents that by failing to join a redress scheme, they are likely to face a ban from the profession.

‘Home buyers also have the right to know that the estate agents they are dealing with are trustworthy and observe the law, and we will continue to take the strongest action against those who have demonstrated that they are not.’