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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Online agency seething about ASA complaint from High Street agent

Online agency EweMove says it is seething about a complaint made to the Advertising Standards Authority by a high street estate agent.

The boss of EweMove.com Glenn Ackroyd - who describes himself as Head Shepherd - has posted a lengthy video blog rejecting the method and details of a complaint by Daniel Pilley, co-owned of CXG, an agency in Haverhill.

Ackroyd says he is particularly incensed that, firstly, Pilley sent the complaint to the ASA without trying to resolve the dispute fully and directly with EweMove and, secondly, the complaint was sent to the ASA and copied to the local press covering the Haverhill area.

Specifically Pilley’s complaint alleges that EweMove contends in its advertising to be open 24 hours a day and seven days a week and that it declares to be a Haverhill estate agency with a local telephone number.

Pilley says he disputes these points because he claims to have called and requested a valuation of a property at 3am and was told this was not possible. He also says that when calling the Haverhill telephone number given in an advertisement it was answered by someone in Saffron Walden. 

In his video blog, Ackroyd says this action is typical of traditional estate agents in areas where EweMove launches its new branches.

“A routine pattern emerges: 1. We launch, 2. Our marketing goes live with leaflets sent and press adverts hitting the streets, 3. The existing estate agency elite jump on us with ‘complaints’. They all come with tell tale traits, i.e. attacking the USP’s that we provide, that they cannot compete with” says Ackroyd. 

Ackroyd concludes in his video blog by saying he takes the complaint as “high praise for EweMove’s innovation”.

EAT only obtained a copy of this video blog last evening, so has not been able to contact CXG for any response.

  • Daniel Roder

    But does he actually dispute the claims made in the complaint? He seems to be skirting around the issue by going on the attack against traditional agents, but he doesn't seem to answer the central issues of the complaint.

    If you're going to promise a 24 hour service it's probably best to provide a 24 hour service. Otherwise people will have a legitimate right to point it out.

  • Glenn Ackroyd

    Hi Daniel - The video explains, but we are open 24/7. 38% of calls come in outside office hours, 24% at weekends and 49% of LIve Chats are out of hours. This enables people to book viewings, make offers, pay rent, submit tenancy applications, report repairs etc. So it is not a 'message taking call service'. Thanks

  • Daniel Roder

    Oh right, fair play. Thanks for responding. I'll admit I read the article and only skimmed through the video - that'll teach me!

    In that case, your grievances with the complaint would appear to be justified.

  • Glenn Ackroyd

    Thanks Daniel - to update on this - I've had a conversation with CXG where they have confirmed that they are also 24/7. So going forward I've confirmed that I'm happy to remove 'We're the ONLY 24/7 agent in Haverhill', to 'We're open 24/7...' etc - i.e. removing the 'only' reference.

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    • R M
    • 18 May 2015 22:15 PM

    Any agent can add an out of hours recetion service (moneypenny is my favourite) and live chat (Yomdell is the best I found) and then claim 24 hour service so I am a bit puzzled about the explanation of being open 24hours. recording details of message isn't actally being open is it?

    I tried to take advantage of the PB 24 hour service, the live chat was switched of, it wasn't possible to have a 6 am appt and the claimed 'agency trained staff' weren't on duty 24 hours a day.

    My claimed as local PB rep has a local patch which is 75 miles from end to end, how is that local?

    I am a vendor (an informed one), I am not agency elite if I feel an advertisment is misleading I will complain to ASA. The simple solution to avoiding a complaint to ASA - just tell the truth.

  • Glenn Ackroyd

    Hi Robert - I agree that message taking PA services does not amount to providing a service other than message taking. But we don't do that. You can do the things at 1am that you can do at 1pm - eg book an appointment, make an offer etc. We also have Live Chat via Yomdel operating 24/7 - they will guide people on their online experience, eg booking a viewing online, or suggesting they make a call if it needs a 1-1 conversation. Quite a lot of people prefer chat to speaking. Our online chats account for 49% of out of hours enquiries, compared to 38% calls.

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    Due to legal reasons I am unable at this stage to comment with regard to the video. However I am pleased to see following our complaint The Head Shepherd (Glenn Ackroyd) has agreed to back down and make his advert factual. Until other issues are resolved CXG will not make any further comments.

  • Andy Soloman

    Seems to me that the question of whether someone is open 24/7 is somewhat splitting hairs. Let's consider what the customer expects or wants, not how an agent's claim of 24/7 service can be undone. The key thing here is that buying or selling property is a big decision for people and an emotional decision too. Most people these days are searching on the web and by offering 24/7 live chat an agency can be open online. They can offer human interaction and a friendly helping hand. After all, people are browsing online after work hours, and having a real person available to chat, give answers to common questions and set up an appointment is hugely popular with the people that use it. Would someone genuinely want their home valued at 3am. Doubtful. Would someone like to be able to speak with someone at 3am to arrange to have their home valued? Yes, absolutely.

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    Ridiculous, Now the ASA Advertising agency can investigate marketing on websites its making it so easy for a competitor to lodge a complaint. All these other agencies like KwikChex are springing up, I had been reported as one of my sites says "having over 20 years experience" we was asked to prove it and it had been reported by KwikChex. A personal friend of mine has had over 8 complaints of little things, and yet from consumers he has had no complaints. Its getting neon impossible to make a living these days out of anything. I think the 24/7 thing is petty anyway and I'd be mad as well as you end up with the ruling on the ASA website which could damage business.

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