The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors is the latest body within the industry to warn its members against portal juggling.
Following statements in recent weeks from National Trading Standards, the National Association of Estate Agents and The Property Ombudsman, RICS has now posted a message on its website.
It explains that portal juggling is a practice which markets a property as ‘new to the market’ when it is not. The RICS site then carries a message from John Baguley of Ombudsman Services:Property.
“The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (CPRs) clearly sets out what is required of estate agents and that customers must be treated fairly” he says.
“Unfairness can arise from giving false or misleading information to consumers, or hiding or failing to provide material information to consumers.
“The CPRs specifically define inaccurate marketing as an action which would materially affect a buyer’s decision and therefore, because of that, would fall foul of CPRs.
“The CPRs state that the misuse of words and phrases, such as ‘new instruction’, ‘new’ or ‘new on the market’, when the property for sale has already been on the market for some time or has been taken off the market previously for only a very short period, would be seen as a material breach” he concludes.
The RICS statement goes on to say that the insitution’s own Blue Book and Ombudsman Services - the scheme approved by RICS to provide redress for its members - can advise agents on issues related to the problem.
The statement then goes on to says that “If there is an allegation of portal juggling...investigation will consider the complaint against the relevant rules, which includes the Blue Book and CPRs.”
It adds that any RICS member agent who is in The Property Ombudsman should also read its code to ensure it complies with its requirements.