The Advertising Standards Authority has intervened following a complaint about VAT savings on Purplebricks‘ website.
A member of the public contacted the ASA to challenge whether a savings calculator on the agency’s website - which showed a sliding percentage value, excluding VAT - was in fact misleading, because elsewhere on the site it was stated that savings and prices included VAT.
“We contacted the advertiser who agreed to amend the ad to make clear that VAT was in addition to the percentage value stated” says a spokesperson for the ASA.
The authority was satisfied at the response and closed the case informally.
The ASA was also in action following a complaint about Scottish online agency Mov8 Real Estate.
The authority received a complaint about a claim on the agency’s website that “On a £200,000 property You Save £1446 Versus 1% plus VAT Estate Agency Fee”.
The complainant - McEwan Fraser Legal - understood that the savings claim did not reflect the cost of services that were included in traditional estate agent fees, and challenged whether the claim was misleading and could be substantiated.
Mov8 Real Estate Ltd told the ASA that the claim was a simple comparison between its estate agency fee and that of a traditional estate agent charging a one per cent commission fee plus VAT, for a property worth £200,000.
Mov8 believed that the basis of the comparison was made clear in the ad and that the comparison did not purport to compare the overall cost of selling a property, only the estate agency service. The online firm explained that none of their additional fees were compulsory because each customer had different requirements.
“We contacted the advertiser who provided their assurance that future ads will make it clear that additional costs may be applicable to their estate agency fee. On this basis, we considered the case closed informally” says the ASA.