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Online agency amends website after competitor makes ASA complaint

A dispute over claims made on online estate agency HouseSimple's website has been 'informally resolved' via the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

Competitor eMoov challenged whether a number of claims made on HouseSimple's website were misleading and could be substantiated. 

The first centred around text that stated: “£22 Million UK customer savings” and “By the end of this year we will have saved our clients around £22million in fees”.

EMoov also challenged the text: “Sell faster. 20 days versus 68 days with high street agents” as well as claims made about average customer savings for landlords and vendors. 

The ASA reports that HouseSimple agreed to amend or remove the claims so they weren't 'making direct comparison'.

HouseSimple's claim that it will save clients £22 million in fees by the end of this year appears to have been removed from the website. 

Meanwhile, its 'Sell faster' claim has been amended to an average selling time of 25 days and no longer includes a comparison to 'high street' estate agents. 

The agency's average customer savings figures have been amended to show an 'average vendor saving' of £5,594 – based on a survey carried out by the agency to find out what fees their vendors were quoted by high street estate agents before using HouseSimple. 

The website states the saving figure is based on an average house price of £305,648.  

HouseSimple's average landlord saving fee has been reduced from £2,722 (for a fully managed service) to £1,877.

It says this saving has been calculated based on average letting agent fees provided by the National Landlords Association and average fees paid by 948 HouseSimple landlords.

"Following feedback from the Advertising Standards Authority, we made some minor amends to the content on our website," Alex Gosling, HouseSimple's chief executive told Estate Agent Today.

"At no point were we asked to remove statements made on our website, and unlike eMoov, we have never had a complaint upheld by the ASA." 

"We are very proud of our achievements and take pride in shouting about them, and we will continue to do so in the future," he added.

The complainant, eMoov, has itself had to change wording on its website earlier this year after a complaint was made to the ASA.

And in June last year the advertising watchdog upheld two complaints made against the agency by Chris Wood of PDQ Estates.

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