The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld two complaints made against online estate agency eMoov.
The first centred around eMoov’s claim that it achieves 99% of the asking price on a typical property sale, compared to 96% achieved on average by other agents in England.
Despite the complainant providing no evidence to refute the claim and eMoov providing evidence to support its statement, the ASA upheld the complaint.
eMoov was then required to adjust the wording on its website to reflect the fact that its claim did not account for all locations or in a specific timeframe.
The second complaint related to eMoov’s claims about how much money it has saved sellers in the 4,000 property sales it has completed since launch.
eMoov claims it has saved sellers a total of £11m – a figure which it says was calculated from data provided by sources including The Home Owners Alliance, Countrywide and The Office of Fair Trading.
The ASA upheld the complaint due to the sources provided not having a large enough data set size and therefore ruled that it was not ‘robust’ enough to make a like for like comparison.
There was a third complaint, focusing on eMoov’s assertion that it works hard to ensure that it sells more properties than traditional agents.
This complaint was not upheld. The ASA agreed that eMoov operates a business model whereby ‘selling a higher proportion of inventory’ is instrumental to its success.
eMoov says it has already altered the wording on its site to satisfy the requests made by the ASA in relation to the two complaints which were upheld.
All complaints were made in 2014 by traditional agent Chris Wood, director of PDQ Estates based in Helston, Cornwall.
Russell Quirk, director of eMoov, commented: “I am grateful to the ASA for its investigation which did not dispute the ethos of our statements. eMoov typically over-perform on property price achieved versus asking price and we are able to demonstrate substantial fee savings achieved for the consumer over our five years of operation.”
“In spite of his competitive motivations in bringing the complaint I’m thankful also to Mr Chris Wood of PDQ Estates, for taking the time to assist us in ensuring that our proposition is now even clearer and even more compelling to the consumer. Particularly in Cornwall,” he adds.
Chris Wood says he is delighted with the ASA ruling and that eMoov's advertising has been regarded as 'unsubstantiated' and 'misleading'.
"A successful defence but not one, I suspect, that will leave current or potential customers with a warm fuzzy feeling that eMoov's primary objective is to sell their home," says Wood, a former board member of The National Federation of Estate Agents.
Last year Mr Wood carried out research of his local area which determined that vendors choosing to sell with high street agents were achieving a better success rate than those choosing to go with online agents.