Responsibility of costs incurred

Just wondering if anyone had any advice on how to proceed with this matter further.

Ok back story time

I have recently sold a house and had to go through 2 agents to complete the sale. The first agent is where the issue is.

The agent in trying to sell the house jumped the gun on contracts of sale. The agent contacted my solicitor directly and had them draw up contracts for exchange and send them, as there was an offer that was presented, and acceptable. The sale ultimately did not go through, because the offer was never firm nor final by the prospective buyer. This then resulted in leaving the solicitors costs for work performed, which when confronted the agent agreed to pay.

Shortly after this the agent agreement was terminated and in the termination letter sent, and accepted by the agent, mention of the monies owing by the agent was made.

Post termination the agent is no longer returning any phone calls, nor responding to any other forms of communication. Needless to say there has been no money forthcoming from the agent.

While I know that ultimately the responsibility for payment of solicitor would be mine, (which has been paid due to how long this has dragged on) I don’t see how this can be anything but the agents responsibility for incurring this cost, which mentioned above was agreed to.

So any thoughts on the issues at hand

1) How responsible is the agent for the cost?, I can see an argument forthcoming about what offers can be presented to sellers in good faith
2) How legal is a verbal agreement to pay, let alone accepting a termination letter detailing what is owed, and how is it enforceable?
3) What options are open to get agent to respond/pay without incurring costs?

Any thoughts ideas advice would be appreciated.
Seeing as though ;

1. Your solicitor had detailed knowledge of the contracts.
2. The bill is from your solicitor.
3. Your questions are legal ones ;

I'm just supposing that the best person to clarify your legal position would be.....
The first agent is where the issue is.

The agent in trying to sell the house jumped the gun on contracts of sale. The agent contacted my solicitor directly and had them draw up contracts

It appears to me, that either the Agent employed the solicitor, or the solicitor acted on instructions from someone who didn't employ him/her?
The way I read it is like this;
The REA approached a solicitor on your behalf to draw up a contract, in reliance of a flimsy, verbal offer, which ulimately did not eventuate.
The cost of the solicitors efforts in regards to that matter need to be met by someone. Chubbabk believes that he/she should not pay because the REA was the one that procured the services of the solicitor based on a very weak offer, without his/her consent.
You may need to read the fine print of your agreement, as often, when you appoint an agent to act on your behalf, you may become liable for any expenses incurred in the process. Unless you have explicitly agreed that this is not the case, you may have a hard time getting your money.

Thought is was illegal to show a property without a contract.

In WA this is not the case. (I have read it somewhere that what you are saying is correct though in some states, just not sure which ones:))

The only contract that must be in place is that between the REA and the Vendor. Most resi contracts over here are filled in on the agents standard pro forma contract at the time of writing the offer. Not necessarily the best way to do it, but this is just how most deal are done.

We had something similar happen - had contracted signed by buyers & sellers (us) - with a subject to blah blah clause. The buyer used this clause to cancel the contract but in the meantime the agent had forwarded the contract to the our conveyancers.

After the contract was terminated, we received a bill from the conveyancers for around $200 - conveyancers had looked over contract, confirmed dates with us blah blah. Had the agent waited until contract was unconditional (do they ever do that anyway??) this wouldn't have mattered.

We paid the bill as they had done work for us which would have been necessary had the contract not been canceled.
The agent knew we were not happy and would not accept a similar clause again without a penalty applying.
Lesson learned