Estate agents fees?

When did estate agents cotton-on to the percentage idea for their fee, I seem to recall that they used to charge a set fee regardless of the size of the property. I think they are on the "gravy-train"
Update: Apparently it makes no difference if you live in a cottage or a castle, there is the same amount of work involved.
Update 2: I have just found out that ANYONE can set up an estate business ( UK) with ZERO qualifications.
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