Propertymark chief challenged to speak out when member agents are in hot water with ASA

An EYE reader has criticised Propertymark for allegedly not speaking up when its members get into hot water with the Advertising Standards Authority.

However, Propertymark said it would not make public comment.

Marketing specialist Malcolm Barnard has called on NAEA Propertymark chief executive Mark Hayward to use the trade press to remind agents about good practice.

The two men discussed the matter by phone. But in a subsequent email to Hayward, Barnard said: “I don’t feel our conversation moved anything forward in any positive way.

“I approached NAEA Propertymark on the basis of having a shared interest in the protection of consumers.

“Whilst I am not an estate agent I would have thought my concerns regarding the activity of some NAEA Propertymark members would have met with more of a ‘listening ear’ than it did.

“You, and NAEA Propertymark, clearly feel that communication with your members is best done via your regular newsletter. Obviously this has many merits and is to be applauded.

“You should be aware though that I have spoken to two of your members today who do not recall seeing any information or reminders about good advertising practice in recent NAEA Propertymark communication.

“I still feel that some form of communication via the trade press would have bolstered the position of NAEA Propertymark and showed leadership at a time when there appears to be a great deal of negativity surrounding certain sectors of the industry.

“I was extremely interested in your assertion that you didn’t feel that the trade press was the right vehicle for communication on NAEA Propertymark matters. Particularly relevant as only yesterday the new NAEA Propertymark TV campaign was announced in the trade press.

“I was particularly struck by one of the quotes in the press release: ‘At present, consumers don’t know where to go for property advice or can’t be sure if they are dealing with a professional. Propertymark is changing this by acting as a stamp of approval for consumers when they seek property expertise.’

“Laudable comments which I support but where is the ‘public’ leadership of the industry body on matters relating to misleading advertising by some of your members?

“It could help to offer reassurance to consumers that any misleading advertising by NAEA Propertymark members is noted and dealt with by their industry body.”

In earlier correspondence, Barnard had specifically raised the cases of online agents which had had a number of complaints against them either upheld or informally resolved.

He had asked the NAEA’s regulation team if it was aware of the number of issues raised against these firms; and whether the team looked into repeated instances of ‘rule bending’.

We invited Hayward to comment.

He said: “This was a private conversation which took place over the phone.

“We have a very clear, robust and transparent process to deal with these issues internally with members. They aren’t a matter for external comment.”

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8 Comments

  1. revilo

    “It could help to offer reassurance to consumers that any misleading advertising by NAEA Propertymark members is noted and dealt with by their industry body.”

    Propertymark would do well to scrutinise their own consumer guidance on their website and their TV advertising first!

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    1. Chris Wood

      Agreed. I don’t know who wrote them/ proof checked them, but they don’t appear to have a good working knowledge of estate agency or the laws and codes that surround it. Shocking.

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      1. revilo

        Yes, I was shocked too!

        I have written to them and await their “response’ / ‘amendments”.

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  2. PeeBee

    “…transparent…”?

    Like ‘glass houses’ are “transparent”, perhaps?

    I’d be putting those ominous-looking stones down if I were anyone who is anyone in NAEA.

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  3. AgentV

    That’s ok NAEA, you just continue to say and do nothing as the majority of your smaller members are publicly ridiculed by some of your larger newer online lister friends.

    We’ll see how many members, who are your customers, you have left after you have continued to neglect and outrage them for a couple more years.

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  4. Chris Wood

    The current way in which the executive team of Propertymark is behaving and communicating with its members is, for many of us, deeply concerning.

    Well conducted conversations and quiet diplomacy are an ideal and usually the best way to achieve any goal, especially for an organisation professing and required to support its members. However, the apparent lack of any pro-active, vocal stance in support of its members and consumer interests in a fast-moving digital arena of property news is breathtaking.

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    1. AgentV

      Perhaps the board are preparing to launch an IPO, substantially enhancing their own financial gain ….I seem to have seen this somewhere else before…..let me think….

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      1. PeeBee

        Just a reminder – ‘The Board’ are already set to profit from one.

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