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Trade group claims ad watchdog is probing Purplebricks complaints

Fledgling trade group CIELA says two aspects of its complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority are the subject of ‘further investigation’ by the watchdog.

A statement from the Charter for Independent Estate and Letting Agents says that “after submitting a complaint about Purplebricks’s television advertisements and website” to the ASA, it has received an interim response.

The statement says: “Our complaint contained five points. The ASA accepted to review four of these points, and has decided to escalate two of them for further investigation.  The other two points had been raised already by other complainants and were already being investigated."

CIELA says the two points being investigated further are those it regards as “most injurious to agents and to the public.”

Those points are “(1) The advertisements are misleading because a traditional commission and Purplebricks’ listing fee are not comparable; and (2) the advertisements do not make it clear to consumers that Purplebricks’ listing fee is payable irrespective of whether a property is sold or not, whereas the common understanding of a commission is that this is only payable upon the successful sale by the nominated estate agent.”

CIELA says it has been advised by the ASA that the investigation could take ‘considerable time’.

Some weeks ago we published details of the CIELA complaint to Purplebricks; CIELA has not released the text of its complaint to the ASA.

A Purplebricks spokesperson has told Estate Agent Today: “We will always co-operate with any enquires made of us by the Advertising Standards Agency. We fully support anything that is in the best interests of our customers and wider consumers.”  

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