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Property advertising complaints up 10% since 2014, says ASA

Complaints made against adverts issued by property firms have increased by 10% in the last year.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) reports that 509 complaints were made against property adverts in 2015, up from 461 in 2014.

The number of overall property sector cases also increased, from 432 in 2014 to 484 last year – a rise of 12%.

Grievances about property ads remain a relatively small proportion of overall complaints, however, with the ASA recording a total of 29,554 consumer complaints about advertising in 2015.

The most complained about sector was leisure, with 3,932 complaints about 2,530 cases. 

Last year over 4,500 ads were changed or withdrawn as a result of the ASA's regulation, which the watchdog says is a record total.

The annual report shows that complaints about online advertisements are now the most common.

Some 8,633 internet advertising cases were recorded in 2015, the next highest number of cases was for TV advertising at 3,920.

“The ASA’s ambition is to make every UK ad a responsible ad and recent changes show how our regulation is becoming more proactive and having more impact,” says Guy Parker, Chief Executive of the ASA.

“Alongside our important work resolving consumer complaints, we’ve taken proactive action in areas that make the biggest difference for the public.” 

“As well as the record number of ads changed or withdrawn, the volume of our compliance work has trebled to almost 5,500 cases,” he adds.

Over the past year the ASA has intervened in a number of cases relating to estate and letting agents' adverts.

Since June 2015, Estate Agent Today and Letting Agent Today have reported on over 30 different cases relating to advertising by agents and property firms. 

The majority of cases are 'informally resolved' – in these scenarios the ASA contacts the firms about complaints that have been made against them with the aim of the advertiser making a voluntary agreement to amend or remove the offending content.

However, the ASA has 'upheld' a number of complaints against estate and letting agents, including high profile agencies eMoov and Hamptons International.  

Recently OnTheMarket agreed to make changes to claims it makes to prospective clients after a complaint from Zoopla Property Group.

Meanwhile, just this week, HouseSimple agreed to amend or remove several claims on its website after a complaint from eMoov. 

  • Daniel Roder

    Good work from the ASA to prevent these misleading adverts when they come about. My one concern is that too many of these complaints are becoming too petty or trivial and that some of the complaints made aren't worthy of investigation at all.

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