Purplebricks has agreed to remove a claim from its website that “on average it takes us just 14 days to find a buyer” after an intervention from the Advertising Standards Authority.
A similar type of claim made on the hybrid agency’s website regarding its lettings service – stating “on average it takes us just six days to find a tenant” – is also to be removed by the company.
The ASA says that it received a complaint about the claims, asking whether they were misleading and could be substantiated.
The complaint revolved around the claim on the website which in full said: “14 days – on average it takes us just 14 days to find a buyer”. When a website visitor clicked an icon next to the text, the following appeared in a pop up: “The average time taken from a property going live to a viewing being booked for the eventual purchaser is 14 days.”
There was a similar display for the agency’s lettings service, specifying the six day claim.
“We contacted the advertiser about the complaint and they agreed to remove the claim. Based on this agreement we closed the case informally” says a statement from the Advertising Standards Authority.
However, a spokesperson for Purplebricks stated: “With the imminent launch of a new Purplebricks website we merely agreed to take off what is not intended to appear on our new website.”
Last week the Charter for Independent Estate and Letting Agents, the fledgling organisation set up to represent independents, said it had filed a complaint to the ASA about some aspects of Purplebricks’ advertising claims; as the ASA did not in this case reveal to the public the identity of the complainant, it is not known whether this informally-resolved case is derived from the CIELA complaint or from a separate one.
CIELA has not released the details of its complaint but a previous statement from the organisation, setting out the wording of a lengthy letter it was sending directly to Purplebricks, said the hybrid’s advertisements lacked any warning about the possible loss to clients incurred through a flat fee if a sale did not occur, and seeking justification of the agency’s use of a 1.8 per cent commission for traditional agents as a benchmark.