An agent which claimed to sell more homes in a postcode than any of its competitors, quoting Rightmove Intel, has been told not to repeat the claim.
Leftmove, which has branches in the north-west, said on its website in January that it was the official market leader in a Preston postcode.
It said on its home page that in 2017 “we successfully sold more properties in the PR4 postcode than any other PR4 agent. Source: Rightmove Intel”.
Leftmove also posted on Facebook last November a claim that “you can now find us in 12 locations” with a list of locations with a different phone number alongside each one, including a “Poulton branch”.
Competitor Farrell Heyworth complained to the Advertising Standards Authority, challenging whether the claim to sell more in the PR4 postcode was misleading and could be substantiated.
Farrell Heyworth also questioned whether the Facebook post misleadingly implied that Leftmove maintained an office in Poulton-le-Fylde.
Leftmove provided the ASA with a spreadsheet from Rightmove showing properties sold in the postcode.
However, the ASA upheld the complaint, saying the spreadsheet showed Leftmove’s own sales figures in the postcode, but there was no data about its competitors.
The ASA said it understood not all sales agreed completed, and that not all agents would list all of their properties on a portal.
The ASA said: “We therefore considered that there were limitations on the applicability of Rightmove’s data to the claim that the advertisers were the ‘market leaders’ in the area.
“Because we had not been provided with sufficient evidence, we concluded that the claim had not been substantiated and was therefore misleading.”
On the claim to have a branch in Poulton-le-Fylde, Leftmove told the ASA it did not have a physical branch but maintained a service office in the area with a receptionist who could help customers.
But the ASA said that consumers would understand the claim to mean a fully operational branch, staffed by individuals with local knowledge.
It said: “We considered that a photograph on the ‘Our Branches’ page of Leftmove’s website contributed to this understanding.”
The ASA said that this claim was also misleading, and told Leftmove it must not repeat either advert.