Estate agency businesses are being reminded to ensure that their advertising claims are accurate and truthful.
The National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team has issued the reminder following a ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which recently upheld a complaint about Purplebricks.
James Munro, Head of the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team, said: “We have seen many examples of online agents making unsubstantiated and inaccurate claims about their selling fees when compared to traditional or high street agents.
“These businesses should ensure that they are making comparisons against like-for-like services. It is wrong to make general claims about savings when the headline price does not include facilities such as a sales board, floor plans, photographs, accompanied viewings, sales progression or other facilities which are normally included with traditional high street firms.
“We recognise that online-only agents have a role in the marketplace for customers who wish to do more of the work themselves but they need to remember that they are subject to the same legal requirements as any other estate agency business.
“Firms advertising estate agency services for a fixed fee of a couple of hundred pounds or less need to consider whether they are little more than portal listing services and should therefore be very careful when making comparative claims in their advertising.
“They also need to make clear the difference between an upfront non-refundable fee and a commission which is payable on completion.”
The National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team is the UK’s lead enforcement authority for estate agency work. Advice and guidance is available at www.powys.gov.uk/estateagency.
For media enquiries, interview requests or more information please contact the National Trading Standards press office on 020 7025 7570 or e-mail email@example.com
Notes to Editors
National Trading Standards provides leadership influence, support and resources to help combat consumer and business detriment locally, regionally and nationally.
National Trading Standards Board is a group of senior and experienced local government heads of trading standards, representing all trading standards services across England and Wales. The Board has been set up by the Government as part of changes to the consumer protection landscape and an enhanced role for trading standards.
- NTS teams are based within local authority trading standards services
- For more information please visit www.nationaltradingstandards.uk