Online agent Hatched has been rapped by the advertising watchdog for giving an address online that looked like a business address but was in fact the home of one of their Local Property Consultants.
The address given on www.hatched.co.uk was “Hatched, Hatched House”, with an address in Pudsey, Yorkshire.
Homebuyers Property Services challenged whether this was misleading.
Hatched told the Advertising Standards Authority that they had 16 Local Property Consultants in 16 different locations.
They worked from home when they were not otherwise engaged elsewhere, and had company equipment and office-based phones in order to carry out their employee duties from their address.
Hatched confirmed that a Local Property Consultant lived and worked at the address given, but considered this was a business address.
Hatched said the purpose of including the address was to provide customer service and sell property locally.
However, the ASA upheld the complaint.
It suggested that the address “Hatched, Hatched House” suggested that the property was a conventional business premises, purposefully named to reflect that.
It considered that the reference to the property as a “branch”, together with a list of opening hours, strongly implied there was a conventional public-facing business address at that location.
It believed that, without information to the contrary, most consumers would assume that Hatched’s employees were based at a physical branch.
However, the address was an employee’s home address and even though they conducted business from that address, the ASA ruled that the advert was misleading.
Connells’ brand Hatched was told to ensure its future advertising did not state or imply it had physical office branches in locations if that was not the case.