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Online agency subject of another complaint about website wording

Online agency HouseSimple has once again been the subject of a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority.

Earlier this month a HouseSimple advertisement was banned because it could not substantiate a claim that “High street estate agent fees are usually worked out as a percentage of the final sale price of your property. This can range from 1.5% to 4% (plus 20% VAT - which often isn't clearly highlighted as an extra cost), adding up to an average bill of £5,247.”

Now the agency has been the subject of another complaint - this one has been ‘informally resolved’ by the authority.

The ASA has told Estate Agent Today that a complainant challenged whether three claims on HouseSimple’s website were misleading and could be substantiated.

The first was that once a seller instructed the firm the property would be advertised “on up to 500 of the UK’s top sites”. The ASA says it is satisfied that this claim can be substantiated.

However, the complainant also challenged another claim on the agency’s website. This was that “Our average client is not only 40 per cent more likely to sell than with a high street agent, but also achieves more on their sale (99 per cent vs 95 per cent with High Street agent)”.

The ASA says it approached HouseSimple on this claim. It “agreed to make changes to the 40 per cent claim and the 99 per cent vs 95 per cent claim by clarifying their meaning and updating information on their website to show the claims had been verified.”

The authority says that with that agreed, it closed the case informally.

Yesterday we reported on a warning by consumer group Which? urging would-be sellers to be wary of some claims made by some online estate agents.  

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