The trading standards team of a county council has taken the unusual step of challenging the sales claim of an estate agency by complaining to the Advertising Standards Authority.
A leaflet for Loughborough agency PHQ Properties, and distributed to homes in the LE11 postcode area, featured text stating: "After selling 6 properties last week surely the best way of selling your property is with us...”
The advertisement featured a pie chart comparing the number of properties sold by CHQ Properties with sales for other local agents during the period from October 27 to November 2 last year.
Leicestershire County Council Trading Standards Service challenged whether the claim that CHQ Properties Ltd had sold six properties in that period was, firstly, misleading because it did not make clear which postcodes were included in the comparison when it was understood that no properties had been sold by CHQ Properties Ltd in the LE11 postcode area where the leaflet was distributed; and secondly, whether the claim was verifiable.
The ASA contacted the agency which then provided assurance that in future similar ads it would, firstly, provide details of the date range and the specific postcode areas which the sales data relates to, and secondly clearly attribute the data to Rightmove.
“After receiving this assurance, we closed the case on an informal basis” says a spokeswoman for the ASA.