By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.
Written by rosalind renshaw

A mailshot looking like a personal, handwritten note has landed Haart estate agents in trouble with the Advertising Standards Authority.

Haart will now have to stop using the mailshots, after sending out thousands.

A recipient complained to the ASA saying it was misleading and caused her distress, as she did not realise that it came from an estate agent who was interested in selling her home. Inside the apparently hand-written envelope was a Haart compliments slip which also appeared to be hand-written and which said: “Re: Your home. Please call me as a matter of urgency.”

The ASA in its ruling published today said that Haart must not use such marketing material again.

The compliments slip – from a Lesley Miller – included small print which said: “haart is a trading name of Spicerhaart Limited ... If you have instructed another agent on a sole and / or selling rights basis, the terms of those instructions must be considered to avoid a possible liability to pay two commissions.”

However, the recipient said she did not realise until she called one of the two numbers given that she had been sent marketing material.

Haart told the ASA that the mailing was sent only to consumers whose property was being actively marketed in areas where Haart had a branch. 

They said a significant number of consumers who were sent the mailings did not object, because they had subsequently instructed Haart to sell their property. 

They had received a very low level of negative feedback, having sent out thousands of the mailings. However, they would make changes to the envelope.

Haart also said the mailing was not intended to mislead consumers and pointed out that the compliments slip included the Haart logo and strapline as well as the small print warning.

Haart did, however, say it was regrettable that the complainant had been alarmed by the use of  “ ... as a matter of urgency ...” but did not believe the mailshot would distress the majority of recipients.

But whilst the ASA noted that the compliments slip displayed the Haart logo and branding, the envelope had a postage stamp and did not include any branding. Text on both the letter and envelope appeared to be hand-written. 

The ASA considered it was not immediately apparent that the mailing was a marketing communication and the hand-written appearance of the text was likely to give the impression that a note had been prepared specifically for the recipient.

The ASA concluded that the mailing was misleading and likely to cause distress.

A statement from Haart said: "We’ve taken on board the ASA’s ruling and have amended our advertising accordingly.

"We were surprised to learn that one recipient had expressed concern as we have sent out thousands of these mailers without any other negative reaction."


  • icon

    all you other agents are just pissed because it works and you didnt think of it get a life and do some work to get your houses sold rather than bitching about haart

    • 09 October 2010 01:02 AM
  • icon

    Haart are now posting cards with pseudo hand writing saying "Please give me a call, there is something I want to chat to you about that I think you will find interesting".

    As they send it to the address rather than a person they aren't subject to the Mail Preference Service.

    • 22 May 2010 10:52 AM
  • icon

    here we go again, this pathetic practice was also carried out by Allan darlow, (DARLOWS) who spice no haart took over. PATHETIC.

    • 10 December 2009 18:47 PM
  • icon

    All these so called "big boys" have self bestowed, undeserving opinions of themselves and believe they can act with impunity. They are greedy, ruthless, unprofessional and generally bring our industry into disrepute.They should be tackled "head on" by trading standards and NAEA.

    • 10 December 2009 18:02 PM
  • icon

    Do they not have surveyors on board, how do they get round RICS rules, surely their professional status should be questioned???

    • 10 December 2009 11:30 AM
  • icon

    I've said it before and I'll say it again...If you're doing a good job, why are you worried by touts?

    • 09 December 2009 19:04 PM
  • icon

    About time Haarts were sorted out. We are all sick of them touting our properties and winding our Vendors up. Hopefully, they had a huge fine although it is not obvious from this article.

    • 09 December 2009 15:40 PM
  • icon

    I agree with Kelvin Francis about Estate Agents touting tactics. Two companies spring to mind - Goadsbys (Hampshire & Dorset) and Connells. They are both big enough to know better but rely on pure greed to obtain instructions. Take a look at the Touting Poll on the Brightmove website - the only known survey of its type to have been instigated.

    • 09 December 2009 13:50 PM
  • icon

    This firm, a large multiple, see themselves as 'professionals'!
    Says it all.

    • 09 December 2009 11:26 AM
  • icon

    they do it every month in Derby its the only way they get business that and the repossesions from there own in house company. its a shame that they cant cocentrate on and spend the money on winning new instructuions if you look at there adverts most have other agents boards in the picture.

    • 09 December 2009 11:04 AM
  • icon

    This is another example of touting tactics that bring Estate Agency as whole into disrepute. It is a pity companies like this are unable to obtain instructions by the straight forward means of reputation, recommendation and advertising, but have to resort to door knocking the Clients of other Agents and to use underhand means such as this.

    • 09 December 2009 10:42 AM
MovePal MovePal MovePal