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Yopa retracts savings claim and regulator backs PurpleBricks’ local property experts

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  • 25/10/2017
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Yopa retracts savings claim and regulator backs PurpleBricks’ local property experts
Two online estate agents have been reported to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) as the sector continues to be challenged on its advertising claims.

A complaint about Yopa Property’s claims of potential savings by using its service was informally resolved, while PurpleBricks was cleared of misleading people about its local property experts.

Yopa saw a complaint made about one of its adverts informally resolved by agreeing to remove the claim from future adverts.

The ASA received a complaint that challenged whether a mailing by Yopa Property exaggerated the possible savings a customer would receive when using its service.

After being contacted by the ASA, Yopa removed the claim.

“We approached the advertiser about the concerns that had been raised. It agreed to remove the claims from future ads and was advised to seek copy advice from CAP,” the ASA said.

 

PurpleBricks

Four complaints, including from Plymouth Trading Standards, were made about a PurpleBricks advert which promoted its “local property experts”.

The complainants challenged whether the claim was misleading and could be substantiated, however after analysing the agent’s processes, the ASA agreed that it was a fair statement.

Purplebricks said the word “local” referred to the local knowledge of a local property expert rather than their geographical location. It said this was common practice across the industry and that the firm ensured each local property expert possessed the relevant local knowledge in the area where they worked.

The estate agent also added that it recruited experienced people to these roles and that they were subject to an additional internal training programme prior to commencing their roles.

Individuals were subject to a 29-point sign-off sheet, which was completed by the area director for that region, and during the role they were subject to a number of quality control checks.

 

ASA response

The ASA agreed with PurpleBricks’ response, noting that search results would only display local property experts who worked within the requested local area.

“In that context we considered that the word ‘local’ would be generally understood to refer to an individual’s expertise and knowledge of the area that they served, rather than their physical location,” the regulator said.

“We considered that a local property expert would therefore be understood to be an estate agent who worked within a defined geographical area, and who had relevant experience within a particular area.

“Because we considered the claim would be understood as referring to the expertise of the local property experts and the area they served, not their physical location, and because we were satisfied that the local property experts generally had relevant knowledge and experience in the areas they served, we concluded that the ad did not breach the code,” it added.

The complaints are the latest in a series addressed towards estate agents, while the consumer association Which? has also warned people to beware of extra charges.

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