Body that approves TV adverts says it is seeing more submitted scripts for online agents

Clearcast, the organisation that clears adverts for TV and radio, has said that anyone wanting to market an online estate agency on a broadcasting medium should submit full details as to how the business works.

Clearcast said: “This market is evolving, and whilst there may be similar general principles between online agents, not all of these services are the same.”

It said it is seeing more adverts for online agents.

This year, Clearcast has approved TV adverts for online estate agents, only to have the Advertising Standards Authority rule against them.

In February, HouseSimple offered a “chance to ‘sell your home from just £495 upfront”.

The ASA found that the price was only available to customers who used HouseSimple’s recommended conveyancing and mortgage services, otherwise they were charged an additional fee.

Clearcast had concluded differently – that because customers could sell their homes for the featured price, the advert was acceptable.

In August, the ASA upheld other complaints against HouseSimple, including a claim that HouseSimple saved customers an average of £5,000.

That TV advert had also been cleared by Clearcast.

Last month the ASA upheld a complaint that Purplebricks’ ‘commisery’ adverts did not make it clear a fee was charged whether the property sold or not.

Again, this advert had been cleared by Clearcast.

Clearcast now requires Purplebricks and other online agents to state that the flat fee is always payable.

The full Clearcast blog is here: https://www.clearcast.co.uk/blog/online-house-buying-services/

* Separately, a case involving an agent has been informally resolved by the ASA.

A spokesperson said: “We received one complaint about an ad for a property as it was listed as a detached property when it was actually a semi-detached property. We approached the advertiser with the concern that had been raised and the advertiser agreed to remove the claim from the ad.

“On this basis, we considered the matter resolved and closed the case.”

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15 Comments

  1. Garret2

    The lights are on at Clearcast but that’s about it…

    They can’t even get the title of their blog post right 🙁

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  2. Property Pundit

    Will Clearcast now talk to the ASA before ‘approving’ any further advertisements?

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  3. AgentV

    Clearcast now requires Purplebricks and other online agents to state that the flat fee is always payable.

    Lets be clear about this Mr Clearcast…….a few words added on the disclaimer wording that is there for  a few seconds on the advert, that no one reads, does not make this clear.

    If the content of the advert spoken by the actors refers to costs, fees or anything relating to comparison, then the ‘flat fee always being payable, whether you sell or not’ should also be spoken.

    Is that clear enough for you?

    Otherwise it’s like hiding ‘Your home is at risk etc.’ warnings on mortgage adverts in the small print at the bottom, that no one reads. It has to be as prominent, if not more so, than the advert content.

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  4. PeeBee

    In view of the above, I have asked them a single question via Twitter:

    Can I please confirm that a company ‘clearing’ an ad with yourselves doesn’t actually guarantee that it complies with relevant Legislation?

    I’ll let you know if and when I get a response – but would strongly recommend no-one to hold their breath.

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    1. cyberduck46

      I can answer that for you PeeBee. In fact I’m surprised you don’t know the answer.

       

      The only people who can decide with any authority about whether legislation is complied with are the Courts and even then it’s possible to appeal all the way up to the Supreme Court.

       

      Of course I may have misunderstood your post. You may just be being facetious and wasting people’s time.

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      1. PeeBee

        “Of course I may have misunderstood your post. You may just be being facetious and wasting people’s time.”

        The more of yours I waste the less of an @r$£hole you can be with others.

        Win:win in my book.

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  5. Bless You

    “This market is evolving,”

    I cant believe systems arent in place to stop this cat and mouse game.

    Its true you cant keep an eye on every crook claiming to be the best thing since bleeched bread , but come on…

     

    The fines should be heavier and any profit made from misleading clients should be paid back.

    Surely lessons have been learnt from the car industry etc in the 80’s.

    I also think govt. should be charging online businesses to operate in every county they spend money on  adwords in.

    Why should they get away with paying no rates like real businesses that are governed by their conscience not shareholders.

     

     

     

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  6. PeeBee

    Last month the ASA upheld a complaint that Purplebricks’ ‘commisery’ adverts did not make it clear a fee was charged whether the property sold or not…  Clearcast now requires Purplebricks and other online agents to state that the flat fee is always payable.”

    I would suggest that the current wording –

    Flat fee payable regardless of sale

    – placed on the advert following the ruling is not fit for purpose.

    Whatever happened to the old mantra of bold, precise and compelling?  It didn’t have to die with PMA.

    Which promotes another question.

    Why, on a 30 second advert, is it permissible that the teensy-weensy disclaimer is only on screen for TWELVE of them?

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    1. PeeBee

      Apologies, AgentV – I appear to have posted a long-winded version of your earlier post.

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      1. AgentV

        Just proves that it’s not just me that thinks it!

        People will still fall for the adverts and end up being deceived in the process, because very few people ever read the worded disclaimers. 

        The ASA ruling achieved nothing whatsoever, and ‘you know who’ chose to pay pursed lip service to it, as opposed to enter into the true spirit of the ruling by making it open and clear…..so that there could not possibly be any misunderstandings.

        Why did they do it this way? Because they feared making it open and clear with no misunderstandings would lose them a lot of business.

        #CYNICAL MARKETING

         

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    2. MrLister

      PeeBee

      If I call your office  asking what your fees are will you tell me?

      Will you put them on your website?

      Will you put them of your flyer?

      No of course you won’t….and please don’t give all that old cr*p about needing to see the job before you quote. You know as well as I do that you’ll get what you can depending on the seller…not their house. Until us high street agents are clear and open about our fees we can hardly criticize the purple brigade.

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      1. PeeBee

        MrLister

        In answer to your questions

        1. Yes.  Would you?

        2. No.  Do you?

        3. No.  Do you?

        “please don’t give all that old cr*p about needing to see the job before you quote.”

        How about you don’t put words into my mouth.  I have TWO Fee scales – a Minimum Fee for lower value properties (probably 65% of my yearly sales) and everything else – and I mean EVERYTHING – is at 1.5%. of sale price.  The only reason I would have to need to “see the job” is where the property would be a borderline case – in which event I would normally take the percentage gamble as I like living dangerously.  What about you, MrLister – do you need to see the job – or weigh up the seller – before you commit to spilling the info?

         

         

         

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  7. PeeBee

    “The ASA found that the price was only available to customers who used HouseSimple’s recommended conveyancing and mortgage services, otherwise they were charged an additional fee.”

    Just like the advertised price for at least one other NSPR Agent has strings attached but fail to be mentioned in any hypertising…

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  8. PeeBee

    You have to laugh that the piece – embarrassingly incorrectly entitled

    Online House Buying Services

    was apparently written by one of theCopy Group Managers”.

    You’d think that someone with such a title would get the basics right – wouldn’t you?

    Unless of course it was spewed out by one of the multitudinous “Copy Group Executives” – who surely should then have passed it by their ten or so “Senior Copy Group Executives” for a once-over before letting Ms Leyland take the ultimate credit… or flak… for the piece?

    I wonder if it was passed by the “Head of Copy Clearance”?  Or HR for that matter – they usually like their snouts in whatever trough is going?

    Maybe there’s just too many cooks in the kitchen… and the broth is royally bu99ered.

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  9. Cardiff Agent

    It seems to me that you can say or claim what you want and if you are not too sensitive, you wont mind it being raised and have to change it when asked to, probably after some considerable time.

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