The Advertising Standards Authority has banned an advertisement by estate agency Redman Casey accusing it of misleading statements over customer recommendations and the period of time the firm has been trading.
The agency’s www.redmancasey.co.uk website ran a statement on its home page claiming: “97% of our buyers and sellers would recommend us ...” and then later claimed in a banner: “50 YEARS ESTATE AGENCY EXPERIENCE”.
However, the ASA received a complaint challenging whether the claims could be substantiated.
Redman Casey told the ASA that the "97% of our buyers and sellers would recommend us" claim was first made in an advertisement in January this year and was based on information that was taken from correspondence dated up to December 2014, including email, personal communications and a questionnaire, with their vendors and purchasers.
The firm provided the ASA with a large number of customer testimonials, one of which derived from a questionnaire, and the results of a customer survey conducted more recently, in June this year.
However, the ASA concluded that as much of the evidence for customer recommendation for the company was gathered between January and June this year, it could not have appropriately been used to justify the “97%” claim as early as January.
“Therefore, we concluded that because Redman Casey Estate Agents had not provided robust data from customer feedback dating back to 2014, the claim had not been substantiated and was misleading” says an ASA statement.
On the second point of the complaint, Redman stated that the claim “50 YEARS ESTATE AGENCY EXPERIENCE” were based on the number of years’ experience the staff had in real estate and did not suggest that it reflected the duration of time the firm had been trading.
However, the ASA says Redman Casey was incorporated in 2014 and noted that the positioning of the claim on the home page, and its juxtaposition with another statement referring to its relationship with solicitors, “implied that the business had been trading in its current form for some years.”
The authority concluded that the claims misleadingly suggested that Redman Casey had been trading for a substantial period of time.
Overall, the ASA judgement concludes: “The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Redman Casey Estate Agents Ltd to avoid making customer recommendation claims in the absence of adequate evidence and that their advertising must not misleadingly suggest that they have been trading for a substantial period of time.”