London agency Portico has been warned that if there is a repeat of issues concerning its listings on portals, it may face a formal investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority.
Two listings on Zoopla placed by the agency - which is owned by Portico Property Ltd - were subject to a complaint, which alleged that the two properties in question had already been let.
The complainant “challenged whether the ads were misleading” according to the authority.
The ASA approached Portico which said it “would ensure not to publish listings as available on Zoopla or Rightmove that were already let.”
A statement to Estate Agent Today by the authority then said: “On that basis we closed the case informally; however we made clear that if the matter arises again we will likely go down the formal investigation route.”
EAT queried why, unlike other informally-resolved cases involving agencies, this one carried a warning that any repeat may prompt a formal investigation.
A spokesman for the ASA said that he was unable to give more details but “clearly our complaints and investigations team has taken the view, based on the information it has seen and assessed, that the advertiser has been given ample opportunity to get its house in order in this matter.”
In response to the ruling, Portico told EAT: “Since rebranding as Portico, we’ve substantially grown our market share in London and now have significantly more properties listed with the portals.However in this case, the properties in question were located in one specific area of London, where we have a large number of similar properties. Some of these properties had been incorrectly duplicated and were removed as soon as we became aware of the error.”