An online estate agency which last week claimed it had resolved a dispute over reviews it showed on its website is now the subject of new complaints to Trustpilot and the Advertising Standards Authority.
Emoov - now owned by PropTech firm Mashroom - was the subject of an earlier complaint some months ago to the ASA.
This concerned reviews on the website which were praising the agency but which actually referred to the company when it was owned and operated by different personnel, unconnected with Mashroom.
The chief operating officer of Mashroom, former Purplebricks local property expert Naveen Jaspal, issued a statement a week ago saying: “The claims made in the recent news were resolved last month, and we worked closely with the ASA to ensure that we complied fully with their request.”
However the person behind the original complaint to the ASA - Andrew Stanton, who runs the property consultancy Estate Agencies Insight Strategies - says that Emoov has not resolved the issues at all.
What he calls “fake reviews” remain in place, even though they relate to the performance of another company with different staff.
The ASA originally asked Emoov to remove from its website three things:
- the homepage claim that the agency was "rated the UK's No.1 Hybrid Estate Agent for the past 3 years” because for most of that time the agency was operated by different personnel and under different ownership;
- the inclusion on the site of Trustpilot reviews from prior to the change of ownership; and
- the inclusion of reviews and ratings in the overall ‘count’ expressed on the website relating to the agency’s performance.
Although the “UK No.1 Hybrid” claim has disappeared, when Estate Agent Today checked last evening there were still over 2,000 reviews on Trustpilot relating to the old owners, accessed via the Emoov site.
To the casual reader, it would appear impossible to tell which reviews related to the new owners and which to the old.
The current Emoov website also claims to have 2,174 reviews broken down into Excellent, Great, Average, Poor and Bad - but Stanton contents that 2,174 figure is far in excess of the number of clients Emoov has had since passing into new ownership, indicating that the old reviews relating to the different company are still being included.
Stanton has contacted Trustpilot’s compliance unit, warning the firm that it risks being indirectly in contravention of the ASA’s guideline to Emoov, and advising it to contact the agency to resolve the matter. The review company has so far sent only a holding reply, saying it is dealing with the issue.
Stanton has also been in touch once again with the ASA, which is also considering next steps.
Emoov has been asked for its comments on the latest complaints.