Rightmove confirms launch of inquiry into ‘portal juggling’

Rightmove last night confirmed that it is conducting an inquiry into alleged ‘portal juggling’.

That is the alleged gaming of the system, by which some properties are taken down and then added again as though they are new listings.

Sometimes, it is alleged, the properties are taken down after being advertised at one price.

They are then added again at a new price, and then very shortly afterward can be viewed as under offer.

That, says a circle of agents which has been conducting online research into listings and using Twitter to make some of their claims, allows some firms to claim that they are achieving a high percentage of the asking price.

Other properties apparently include some that look as though they were listed after open house events were advertised.

Yesterday evening, a Rightmove spokesperson, speaking after being sent alleged examples, told EYE: “We have a process in place for all data quality queries that we receive, which involves thoroughly researching the properties on our system and speaking with the agent in question, to find out if there is a legitimate reason for a property being added.

“We do not tolerate reloading properties as new and if there is found to be no legitimate reason for a property coming back on the market this is escalated in line with our process, and dealt with accordingly.

“This is an ongoing query and we can update you once it’s been completed.”

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45 Comments

  1. PeeBee

    This apparent practice is LARGE SACALE.

    Agents seeing properties being re-listed; ‘bumped’ – call it what you will – should report instances to the relevant portal.

    It is THE PUBLIC who are being potentially misled here – and we are in business to serve them.

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    1. PeeBee

      New Year – old fat fingers…

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    2. Robert May

      I think it is worth mentioning that the practice of gaming, bumping or juggling is not confined to Rightmove  and I applaud the Rightmove Data team for taking the most proactive interest in investigating  the cases, however I do think they might need a few more staff in the department to deal with the volume and frequency of instance that  are being uncovered.

       

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      1. PeeBee

        Well said, Robert – although having endured several weeks of ‘radio silence’ from RM I’m more than a tad sick of white noise to be honest.

        They could have at least put some half-decent chamber music on while keeping me ‘on hold’ since November… ;o)

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        1. Robert May

          At least Rightmove are taking your reports seriously, I suspect  the volume  of cases might be an issue, something that takes  under 2 minutes to spot, screen shot and report will take  far longer to investigate.

          We’re dealing with another matter where we have found 117,000 errors with an organisation that undertakes to resolve all issues within 21 days. Technology makes it easy to spot and record inconsistencies it doesn’t help rectify the problems.

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    3. PeeBee

      It’s on days like this that simple ‘Dislikes’ serve to epitomise what’s wrong with our industry.

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      1. Robert May

        Not quite Peebee the people disliking your comment are sat there with a nasty sinking feeling in their guts knowing the game is up, that the portals have a very clear obligation to the greater % of the industry who operate cleanly and professionally.

        The  motivation for all 3 levels of portal juggling is clear , however as even the lowest level appears to breach CPR  it needs to be stopped. That might be a real ball ache for those reliant on juggling to keep stakeholders happy but this is a competitive industry so they shouldn’t be surprised when  honest and decent agents simply out-compete their malpractices.

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  2. PeeBee

    THANK YOU, EYE, for breaking news of such an important enquiry.

    NEWS reporting at its’ finest.

    I wonder whether the Anti-AM Brigade will even read the first line.

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    1. PeeBee

      I guess that answers THAT question, then… ;o)

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  3. eduardo

    It’s pointless them investigating this, a PLC under pressure to retain customers and grow its business isn’t going to ban an agent from its website and lose income.

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    1. AgencyInsider

      eduardo. Wanna bet?

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    2. Robert May

      With respect corporate interest and income is top trumped by legislation.

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    3. Breaking Dad

      Not sure how they’re going to grow their base when they accept business from Purple Bricks, EMoov, Tepilo and Easy Property per sae.  If those guys send us the way of Blockbuster they wont have a business anymore…like the rest of us.

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      1. PeeBee

        “If those guys send us the way of Blockbuster…”

        But they won’t – so there is no issue in that respect.

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      2. Chri Wood

        The average call-centre agent has seen customer numbers fall by over 35% in the past 6 months. Disruptors about to storm the market they ain’t

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    4. Chri Wood

      If a firm is actively or passively colluding with a firm/s who are carrying out deliberate attempts to mislead consumers/ investors, the financial damage and legal consequences that arise will be out of all proportion to the subs they will make from the few bad eggs.

       

      Hats off to everyone who has made this happen, for Ros and the PIE team for their part and to Rightmove for, finally, investigating this.

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  4. Peter

    This “Juggling” will reduce substantially when Rightmove stop noting the listing date. It does not assist their clients.

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    1. PeeBee

      But they aren’t going to do that.  They want MORE information for “consumers” – not less.

      Next they will offer a random number generator – sorry – “value estimate” for every property to confuse the selling and buying public even more than they are now over ‘values’.

      If you want a site without gimmicks – try onthemarket.com

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      1. Peter

        Providing consumer information should not be detrimental to their client’s (US Agents) marketing of a property.

         

        I accept there is a need to drive traffic to the site and offering additional consumer services increasing page views, but “Added on Rightmove” date does nothing but hinder.

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  5. Breaking Dad

    Rightmove is too busy to police this, so it falls to us as agents to report abuse of the system.  Personally I report everything in my area because after all I hate my competitors and will do anything to disrupt there spurious approach to portal marketing.

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    1. Chri Wood

      Rightmove have a legal obligation to police this to us as customers and, under a fiduciary duty of care to the public who reply on the information they publish.

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  6. Property Paddy

    I hope RM are taking note: 10 comments before 9AM on a workday should tell them we do rely on a fair advertising platform

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  7. Eric Walker

    Portal juggling is widespread. An inflated market share may kid investors and funders, but it must really annoy buyers / tenants when nothing is available. I am glad RM is addressing this.

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    1. PeeBee

      “An inflated market share may kid investors and funders…”

      …and thereby potentially lies the truth of the matter in certain instances.

      Someone had to have the cojones to say it – I take my hat off to yours, Mr W!

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      1. Eric Walker

        Whatever the reason, its a short term view. I am looking to move in the next couple of months. One agent I have found has over 500 properties listed, yet less than 10% are actually available. I don’t expect many people would visit them twice.

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        1. Chri Wood

          Clear breach of ASA and CPR. I hope you have reported them

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  8. the message

    If you want a site without gimicks, try OTM…good one PeeBee.

    And again, we see to the heart of the OTM debacle, the punter wants gimmicks, they like what RM has on its site, thats why they go there. A site without “gimmicks”, is a site without the data and content necessary to grab the consumers attention.

     

    On this note, its a good move, all of the portals need to be robust in how they police things. Sadly, the brutal truth is a number in our industry cannot be trusted, and R/Z/OTM have to employ people to police the site properly.

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    1. Shaun77

      I’m afraid, like RM & Z you seem to believe that the “punter” is the buyer. Any agent will tell you the client is the seller, not the buyer, and portals should be geared to meet their needs along with those of the agents that represent them. The only portal that understands this is OTM.

      At one of their early meetings, they raised the issue of “date stamping” instructions and it was met with an overwhelming negative response from the agents present. As a result, it was dropped.

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  9. Kyle

    We had an agent near us on a daily basis adding and removing 2 flats in the same block for sales, both on Rightmove & Zoopla.

    In my opinion RM & Z had a lax approach in stopping the agent, despite the evidence provided after I reported them.

    Don’t hold your breathe.

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  10. Robert May

    “the punter wants gimmicks” really? are you seriously suggesting vendors want to under sell property or purchasers be placed in  negative equity  because they want gimmicks?

    I might be a ‘seriously deluded’, ‘sherry soaked’, ‘absolute tool’ ( 3 of the insults collected this week) but I reckon punters will kick back like a mule against the gimmicks once they realise the harm  that is being done and the cost to their pocket.

    I’m not sure how much was set aside to pay PPI mis-selling but I have calculated how hard professional indemnities could be hit by punters’ want for gimmicks going bad.

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    1. PeeBee

      Merry by sherry?

      I thought you were more the frisky due to whisky type, Mr May!

      Some things never cease to amaze me… ;o)

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  11. Woodentop

    I have complained and complained for years to RM over this and other goings on and all I ever get, we will look into it. Agents started using the juggling when RM came out with its league table for agents, who then used it to say they were the best agent on RM etc in their marketing. Some agents were using it to provide private house sales through the back door and others to hide their branch numbers for the fees payable. I have seen in recent months the same property listed more than twice with the same agent and even with £50 knocked off as if they are playing the price band search results. I still can’t get my head around why I have 1/4 million visits to my properties every month, same every month and my telephone only rings once or twice.

     

    This is not new news to so many agents and no wonder so many are unhappy but RM appear to go along the track of, “were so big (only thanks to you) and you are afraid to leave us now, so tuff”.

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  12. Martin Burgess

    Can anybody answer why easyproperty have less than 200 properties listed for sale on RM and over 1000 on Z..? Since they started sales they have never exceeded 200 instructions so the Zoopla 1000 total is a surprise..

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    1. Robert May

      Without know the local area everywhere they have a listing it’s hard to spot what’s what other than some properties  have been on for a fair old while.

      It is unusual for the portal upload functionality of software to only send part registers to one portal but that might be down to a commercial arrangement over listings.

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      1. Chri Wood

        Possible however; the company in question, along with other firms who have had similar disparities, all state they will advertise customers homes on both of these portals. To advertise a customers home on one but not the other would be a clear breach of contract (unless previously agreed in writing with the customers concerned) and, if this was a conscious policy by the company concerned, could be a breach of CPR and ASA regulations/ obtaining money by deception

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        1. Robert May

          they actually claim to be on 500 portals. By Martin’s numbers, 1800 are only on 499

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    2. PeeBee

      PLEASE SIR!!!!! I KNOW!

      Actually let me re-phrase – I believe I have the potential answer…

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      1. Woodentop

        How on earth did you get a dislike for that comment!

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        1. PeeBee

          I have a fanbase, Woodentop – what can I say except it’s a gift. ;o)

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      2. Martin Burgess

        ..lets have it then.. what is the potential answer..?

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        1. Woodentop

          He may be gearing up for one of his choice replies to the other thread which has turned into a scrap!

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        2. PeeBee

          Apologies, Mr Burgess – sidetracked doing ‘Estate Agent’ stuff.  Gets in the way, sometimes…

          Okay – here goes.  Let’s pick a property – any property – from the Zoopla listings pages of EP.

          Actually – no.  Let’s not.

          How about we pick ONE HUNDRED instead – make it interesting?

          Set your search parameter to ‘Most recent’.  Set it to 100 properties to a ‘page’.  You now have eleven pages of ‘Listings’.

          I’ve taken ‘Page 4’.  You pick any page you like.

          On ‘Page 4’, of the 100 properties listed, approximately (! stress approximately, as I got sick of counting after 97…) of them are 1 or 2 bedroom RETIREMENT APARTMENTS.

          Pick any five of them – I will guarantee that at least one of them will be an identical listing to that posted on Rightmove by a certain company, based in Hampshire, specialising in ‘retirement’ property.

          Hope this sheds some light. ;o)

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          1. PeeBee

            Oh – and you were right, Woodentop.  I got dragged there as well!

            Not sure it’s a “choice” reply – but I stuck my two pennorth in for what it’s worth!

            HNY, mon ami! ;o)

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          2. Martin Burgess

            Unbelieveable..! so based on EPs usual upfront fees, there could be anywhere between 360,000 and 1.3m worth of business there.. except the sheer number of ‘instructions’ dictate Mc & Stone wouldn’t pay anything like so.. the conclusion is that these will be ‘introducer’ fees only, paid per sale not instruction. It also shows us that EP have a far more flexible arrangement with Z than they have with RM. Thanks PeeBee.

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            1. PeeBee

              Always a pleasure… never a chore… ;o)

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