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ASA probes prompt more agents to amend websites

  • 27/09/2017
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ASA probes prompt more agents to amend websites
More complaints about advertising used by estate agents have been informally resolved by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), including one of a director accused of pretending to post a customer review.

The agents in question agreed to amend potentially misleading claims.

Bournemouth-based Simpsons Estate Agents was the subject of complaints, which pointed out that it had not included VAT in its advertised charges and fees. The claim has now been resolved after the firm agreed to amend the listings on its site.

A second complaint was raised against East London-based CityZEN Agents, over claims made on its site and social media profiles that it served the whole of London and was one of east London’s leading estate agents.

While the firm was able to prove that it does serve all of the city, it agreed to remove the claim about being one of the area’s leading agents.

The ASA itself questioned whether a testimonial on the site breached the advertising code, as it suggested one of the company’s directors was acting as a customer, which has also now been removed.

In recent months the ASA has challenged a succession of estate agents, both on the high street and online, over questionable claims made in their marketing materials. For example last week two estate and letting agents were compelled to amend their websites after complaints surrounding suggestions that they sold more properties than other agents in their local area and  misleading information around planning permission on land for sale.

Earlier this month the Competition and Markets Authority fined a group of estate agents £370,000 for forming an illegal cartel to artificially raise commission rates.

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