The troubled online agency House Network has amended its website after a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority about its claims over fees.
House Network has in recent weeks been the subject of speculation concerning redundancies and financial difficulties, although as of last evening it still accepts telephone and email enquiries from prospective customers.
However, the ASA has received a complaint regarding the agency’s ’20 point customer promise’ displayed prominently on the home page of its website.
At the time of the complaint - and last evening when checked by Estate Agent Today - the House Network site says there is “no commission”.
The complainant to the ASA challenged whether the ad was misleading because they themselves had charged commission for selling their property.
The authority got in touch with House Network which explained that its ’20 point customer promise’ came into effect in February 2018.
Therefore a customer who had transacted through the agency before that time would have been charged commission - irrespective of what the website says now.
“House Network showed us a copy of the current contract which stated that no commission is charged. House Network agreed to amend its website so that it was clearer for consumers” a spokesman for the ASA told Estate Agent Today.
The most recent figures from The Advisory, a consultancy monitoring online agency activity on a fortnightly basis, suggest that between February 7 and February 21 House Network took on just 79 new listings.
House Network was set up back in 2003 by Mark Readings, who remains the lead figure at the agency, and by Graham Lock who is no longer linked to the firm and is now setting up the Federation of Independent Agents.
Its current business model involves sellers paying £795 upfront or a split of £385 upfront plus £600 after a completed sale or after six months of marketing if the property fails to sell.
House Network has not responded to EAT enquiries about its future plans or alleged financial problems; last week we ran this story on the agency’s problems.