Unfortunately this email is a little dour, but necessary sadly. 

We’ve been made aware of a “Property Finding and Purchase Management” service on the market that can tie personnel into aggressive contracts, with the unfortunate consequence that some have fallen of the Ts&Cs. They’ve ended up paying out money they can’t afford for a “product/service” that ultimately isn’t delivered. Some terms are not compatible with Forces life, and more importantly sometimes the services just aren’t necessary in the UK. 

Unfortunately, as you’re aware when an individual takes out a commercial agreement independently we the MOD aren’t in a position to take on that person’s case and engage in a contractual disputes. We can offer welfare support and advice of course, but more importantly we need to educate our personnel on being financially astute to avoid these situations in the first place. In particularly the vulnerable, such as the young and those for whom English is not the first language. 

I appreciate almost all of you will be doing this in your day job, and it’s a mountain that never seems to be climbed…but with this in mind my key messages of the week I need your help in amplifying are:

1.Read read read Ts&Cs and seek advice if unsure before signing : Anyone signing a commercial contract really needs to read and understand all the terms and conditions. Seek support/advice if the information is too difficult to understand and never feel pressed into signing – that’s usually a red flag.

  1. Be informed: do you need this service? Is it regulated

Useful signposting can be found here for house-buying: https://www.gov.uk/buy-sell-your-home/estate-agent.

And as ever we continue to signpost people to the impartial and fantastically useful MoneyHelper org: 

Free and impartial help with money, backed by the government | MoneyHelper

  1. Check the credentials of a company. Pasting the AFC logo all over a company’s website doesn’t automatically confer an alliance to the Armed Forces Community and our core values. Companies need to make profit at the end of the day, so be aware and do your checks on the community – don’t be sucked in by the marketing.