Online estate agency eMoov has changed the wording on its website after a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority.
The words under the spotlight were: "99 per cent asking price achieved* We're achieving 99 per cent of asking price per sale compared to 95 per cent by the typical UK estate agent.”
A complainant challenged whether the claim "99 per cent of asking price per sale" was misleading because it was understood that this referred to the last asking price before sale, rather than the initial asking price. The complainant also challenged whether sufficient information was provided for the comparison against other UK estate agents to be verified.
The ASA approached eMoov with the concerns raised in the complaint, and the agency agreed to amend the claim and make qualifications more prominent.
“On those grounds, we considered the matter resolved and closed the case on an informal basis” an ASA spokesman has told Estate Agent Today.
However, in a separate case, an advertisement for a quick sale property company that contained the claim “we can exchange within two days” has been given the green light by the ASA following a complaint.
The site of Property Rescue included the claim “At Property Rescue, we guarantee to buy your home for cash and can exchange within two days” but a complainant challenged whether the firm could substantiate the claim.
A statement from the ASA says that Property Rescue Ltd explained that if a seller was interested in receiving an offer for a property, the firm would ascertain the full details of the property, financial situation and requirements.
Its underwriting team would then decide whether to make an offer, and if one was made it would be tailored to suit the seller’s circumstances. If a seller requested an urgent exchange of contracts, or if their circumstances required it, the underwriters would prioritise the file and an offer could be made very quickly. If accepted by the seller, the transaction would then be set up to facilitate that.
The firm highlighted that it was rare for sellers to request a two-day contract exchange turnaround as in most instances they would want to review and consider the contract papers and discuss any queries with their solicitor.
However, the firm provided details of two instances in 2013 where it had exchanged contracts within two days on the request of a seller. It also provided an email from its conveyancing solicitors in which the solicitors confirmed that they had proceeded with exchange of contracts within 48 hours of initial instruction for several properties purchased by Property Rescue.
Property Rescue said there had not been any instances where they had been unable to exchange contracts within two days when requested by the seller.
Property Rescue acknowledged that the complainant’s property purchase had taken around five months but said that he had not requested that contracts be exchanged within two days and so their offer was not issued on that basis.
The firm added that the exchange had been delayed due to the time it took for documents to be issued by the freeholder of the complainant’s property.
The ASA concludes that it believes consumers would understand the claim to mean that it was possible for Property Rescue to exchange contracts within two days if necessary, rather than that they always, or usually, did so.