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Online agency Hatched agrees to withdraw marketing letters

The online agency Hatched has agreed to withdraw marketing letters following a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority.

The ASA says a direct mailing for the agency featured the claim: 

“Dear Homeowner, We’re very sorry to see that your sale has recently fallen through with Haybrook, Swinton, but we wondered if we could help you find a buyer (whilst also saving you £1,000’s in the process?!)”.

The complaint filed to the ASA suggested that the mailing was in breach of the authority’s advertising codes as it was not made clear that it was a marketing communication; the claim that the sale had fallen through was also misleading according to the complainant.

A spokeswoman for the ASA has told Estate Agent Today: “We contacted the advertiser who agreed to withdraw the letters from their marketing. We reminded them that their mailings should be clearly labelled as marketing communications and told them not to repeat those claims in the future.”

As with many complaints involving estate agents’ advertising, this matter was categorised by the ASA as being resolved informally.

Although last week there was a more substantive ruling against HouseSimple, in recent months there has been a spate of complaints ‘informally resolved’ with online agencies in particular, including YOPA, eMoov and Purplebricks.

Some weeks ago EAT asked the ASA to explain its informal resolution process - you’ll find the authority’s response here.

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    This is so tiresome now. Surely if the letters were 'in breach of the authority’s advertising codes' then rather than an informal resolution, the letters should be banned and the complaint upheld by the ASA.

    Examples need to be made of repeat offenders otherwise there is no disincentive.

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