Bovis Homes has been accused of pressuring customers to move into unfinished houses before Christmas by offering them cash incentives, a week before it issued a profit warning.
Several Bovis customers said they had been offered cheques of £2,000 to £3,000, or other incentives, if they completed on their house purchases before 23 December.
Members of the Bovis Homes Victims Group on Facebook, which also has a YouTube channel, have swelled to 650, with 244 people joining in the last two months.
Marc Holden, one of the group’s administrators, said: “We were getting a lot of people joining the group just before Christmas who were posting about being ‘encouraged’ to complete by 23 December, some were being offered money and other incentives.”
He said a group of at least 30 disgruntled Bovis customers would stage a protest at the company’s annual meeting in Tunbridge Wells on 2 May.
A company spokesman said: “Bovis Homes is fully aware of the customer group and their complaints, and we take these issues very seriously. We recognise that in some of these cases we have not provided our best standard of customer service and have taken too long to rectify customer issues, for which we apologise.”
Bovis, one of Britain’s biggest housebuilders, added that a “limited number of customers were offered an incentive to complete before the year end and all homes were habitable with the requisite CML industry certification, with a timetable for outstanding finishing works to be carried out in the new year.”
The firm insisted that no one was forced to move in before Christmas and that the homes only needed some finishing touches. “Customers were clearly free to decide their preferred course of action. The group often offers a range of incentives at sale and completion in line with industry practice,” the spokesman said.