NEWSFLASH: Industry regulator warns online agents against making ‘unsubstantiated’ claims in advertising

Estate agency businesses are being reminded to ensure that their advertising claims are accurate and truthful.

The National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team issued the warning this afternoon following a ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which recently upheld a complaint about Purplebricks.

James Munro, head of the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team, said: “We have seen many examples of online agents making unsubstantiated and inaccurate claims about their selling fees when compared to traditional or high street agents.

“These businesses should ensure that they are making comparisons against like-for-like services.

“It is wrong to make general claims about savings when the headline price does not include facilities such as a sales board, floor plans, photographs, accompanied viewings, sales progression or other facilities which are normally included with traditional high street firms.

“We recognise that online-only agents have a role in the marketplace for customers who wish to do more of the work themselves but they need to remember that they are subject to the same legal requirements as any other estate agency business.

“Firms advertising estate agency services for a fixed fee of a couple of hundred pounds or less need to consider whether they are little more than portal listing services and should therefore be very careful when making comparative claims in their advertising.

“They also need to make clear the difference between an upfront non-refundable fee and a commission which is payable on completion.”

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82 Comments

  1. dave_d

    Two years too late..

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    1. PeeBee

      But nevertheless it’s here now!

      Let the fun commence…

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      1. Oldtimer

        No, it is two years too late the horse has bolted, the public perception is they do the same thing but cheaper. 

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  2. MarkRowe

    Great to see the head of Trading Standards making these comments, but the last quote.. “They also need to make clear the difference between an upfront non-refundable fee and a commission which is payable on completion.” …

    …why on earth are they not ripping all of their adverts apart?? Crazy.

     

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    1. AgentV

      And that they don’t sell homes for free, as many of the public I speak to believe from seeing the adverts!

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    2. cyberduck46

      Just had a look at PurplBricks’ commissery advert. States “Viewing service costs extra. Saving based on Purplebricks’ flat fee vs using a high street estate agent paying an average 1.5% commission. November 2016”
       
      This is the advert that created the reported record sales from January until the end of April. Why would anybody of average intelligence or better believe they sell your house for free?
       
      Do people think traditional agents are free? I’ve had quite a few visit me over the years and the only way you find out what they charge typically is when you read the contract they leave behind.
       

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      1. EdC74

        You seem to forget that by definition, 50% of the population will be of below average intelligence…

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      2. AgentV

        The TVs adverts were designed to create that impression, so people pick up the phone and call them. Once that is done and a visit arranged, that’s half the battle in winning the business. 

        I have spoken to several people that have asked me or stated about PB selling for free…. so clearly those people believed it, although their intelligence told them not to trust it. 

        Watch the adverts! All it says verbally is they don’t charge commission. It doesn’t say verbally ‘we charge a non refundable flat fee whether you sell or not’ does it?

        If they wanted to be totally open and honest with everyone that’s what would be verbally incorporated isn’t it?

        There is something in the small print visual statement about flat fee, but that is gone before you know it, and very few people read wording on tv adverts anyway, because they think it will talk about t&c’s applying. 

        If people walk away from watching a tv advert, with a false impression of the truth, then I believe that is misleading, not allowing the customer to make an nformed choice!!!

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      3. cyberduck46

        If adverts on the TV are anything to go by then textual disclaimers would appear to be fine.
         
        In regards to the OFT, RICS provide some information and they state for a practice to be a breach of CPR “it must cause, or be likely to cause, the ‘average consumer’ to take a different ‘transactional decision”.
         
        They define ‘average consumer’ as “someone who is reasonably well informed and reasonably observant and circumspect, taking into account social, cultural and linguistic factors. It is someone who takes reasonable care of their own interests, as opposed to a statistically ‘average’ consumer”
         
        So they have to be reasonably observant which I believe would include reading disclaimers on adverts.
         
        Disclaimers aside, if anybody believes they get something for nothing then you really do have to ask questions about whether they meet the challenge of the average consumer test.
         
         

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        1. AgentV

          As I said, people have said they were given that impression by the adverts. If that then causes them to pick up the phone and make a call, that they wouldn’t have done if they had understood fully there was a non-refundable up front flat fee  involved, then is that not the start of a different transactional decision? 


          But let’s be clear about this. If not to encourage consumers to do something they wouldn’t otherwise do……why do the adverts not incorporate verbally ‘you don’t pay commission just a non-refundable up front flat fee’
          .

          Answer me that one please Cyberduck? Why not avoid any criticism by being open an honest in the most noticeable way to give consumers the choice? Why? Why? Why?

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          1. AgentV

            Cyberduck46?

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          2. cyberduck46

            >Why not avoid any criticism by being open an honest in the most noticeable way to give consumers the choice?
             
            I’m sure you can work that one out for yourself AgentV. The more relevant question is whether there is anything wrong legally speaking. In business you can expect your competitors to try to maximise their profits.
             
            You will see that the reason you yourself do not publish your prices is because you don’t want competitors to be able to undercut you. Is that being competely transparent to the consumer? Of course not.

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            1. AgentV

              I don’t however produce adverts leading my potential customers to believe I won’t charge them anything…..and even if I had the opportunity and money to do it, I wouldn’t. 

              But once again let’s be clear about this, the discussion is not about me, it’s about large scale tv advertising. You won’t even answer the question because you know the answer as well…..and you know it’s not one that’s favourable!

              I would suggest that for any major business it is better long term to be open and honest from the start, and not to encourage any misunderstandings! 

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              1. cyberduck46

                Agent V, as far as I can see the PB TV advert is fine. It’s targeting internet savvy homeowners, either of these factors would take them out of the gullible market segment.
                 
                I’d be very surprised if any homeowner believes that they’ll sell their home for nothing through PB. Who in this day and age believes that a company will pay for TV adverts without potentially making a profit? It’s more likely that people who claim this are lying to you in my eyes.
                 
                Anyway must dash. Things to do.
                 
                .
                 
                 
                 
                 

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                1. AgentV

                  I don’t go around accusing anyone of lying. People are being mislead about many things…..not least about how you get the very best final ‘walk away money in pocket result’ for your property. But time will tell, won’t it?

                  Put it this way…….if I had money invested in any online lister, I would sell up now while the going is good. Make my gains or cut my losses. 

                  The last three years have been easy pickings, with little resistance or competition and an unusually easy market to sell in, but lots of things are changing. Lots of things, and this story is just the beginning!!!!!

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                  1. cyberduck46

                    AgentV,
                     
                    Investing is always risky. Some companies are more of a gamble than others.
                     
                    If you look at Woodford for example, he invests in a lot of high risk companies because when you get it right with these companies the rewards are high. He reduces his overall risk by not putting all of his eggs in one basket.
                     
                    Woodford invests in a lot of tech. companies doing research and development. The most risky have no profit or even revenue (I guess). Investors take their losses but keep ploughing money in when required and when they think it’s worth the risk. If the research from one of these companies finds for example the cure for cancer then jackpot.
                     
                    I see PurpleBricks as a high risk/high reward investment. There are many questions that need answering along the way to whatever they will be in the future but the so called experts posting here have repeatedly got it wrong so I’ll do my own research and if I invest it will be in the knowledge that it is a high risk/high reward investment at this point in time and I would only invest what I can afford to lose.
                     
                    In my eyes traditional Estate Agent should also be interested and I’d advise they do their own research because a lot of what has been said has been proved wrong already, some of what is being said will be proved wrong (if my own research proves accurate) and some of the things said might come true but not have the effect traditional Estate Agents are hoping for because they have misjudged the situation.
                     
                    Personally I don’t ignore other peoples opinions but I always think about the motives of the people saying them. Sometimes these may be financial, sometimes egotistical. Sometimes it’s just wishful thinking. I always take into account how reliable their opinion has been in the past.
                     
                     
                     

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  3. Chris Wood

    This is not the level or timing of intervention that many will have wanted but I believe more is to come. I sincerely hope that a proper investigation and appropriate action will now be taken against serial/ the worst offenders.

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    1. gk1uk2001

      Let’s hope so Chris

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    2. cyberduck46

      Let’s hope that action is taken about unsubstantiated and false claims made by traditional agents too. Such as that cheap agents are costing consumers around £500 million a year. 🙂
       
      The hypocrisy just amazes me.
       
       
       

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      1. AgentV

        In what context? Can you give us a link?

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      2. Thomas Flowers

        £500 million is a lot of money.
        Is that similar to a 50% drop in PB’s share value?
         

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  4. gk1uk2001

    About bloody time

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  5. ianc

    Hoorah – at last. At least it is a step in the right direction.

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  6. AgentV

    Yaaaaaaaaaay!!!!!

    Fantastic news to add to my other great news of the day. And we all know who to write to with our observations now don’t we 😉

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  7. Frown Please

    bit of a ‘no s##t sherlock’

     

    took them long enough.

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  8. marcH

    Statement of the bl**ding obvious but better late than never! By the way, what are they going to do about the obviously misleading stuff it and have they got what it takes?

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  9. SteveBaker19

    They will dtinn carry on doing NOTHING to the online agents as usual so sameo sameo  toothless rhetoric !!

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  10. paulnewboy26

    Now it is surely up to all high street agents to get this statement and general momentum into the mainstream press. If only we had a strong network / affiliation group that could take up the mantle and earn their money…….

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    1. PeeBee

      If only there was one…

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  11. g4lvo17

    They need to also make a clear statement on the status of self employed listing agents and adherence to the property ombudsman scheme

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  12. jamesBee

    NAEA were the hell are you

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    1. AgentV

      Down the pub consoling their new found ‘online lister’ friends who are sobbing into their pints.

      You can imagine the conversation;

      ‘Don’t you worry about those little old time members being nasty to you. We’ll  sort them out’. 

       

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      1. AgentV

        Talking of which shouldn’t they now be called the NAOL……’National Assosciation of Online Listers’

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  13. smile please

    Well done to all who have helped this comment come out today.

     

    A clear message from a regulator has now been sent out.

     

    Rightmove may wish to comment regarding the last part regarding listing agent masking themselves as estate agent so FSBO sellers can get on RM

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  14. FromTheHip64

    Um……funny isn’t it. The only estate agents to give an idea of what they charge are criticized and warned for doing so. We’re a high street agent and  openly advertise exactly what we charge both in media and if somebody calls our office. Our fees are not hidden in any way and we don’t avoid discussing them in any way.

    Other high street agents will avoid talking fees at all costs until they’re in the vendors home. I’d reckon over 90% of vendors will have no clue what you cost until you visit them. Last month we rang 10 agents in our town asking what they charged. One gave us a fee. That’s hardly clear, honest and transaprent.

    How many of you are happy to give your fee out over the phone or put it on the front page of your website?

    If every high street agent looked through their marketing agreements for properties they’ve got on the market you’d find a lot of different fees…0.5%, 0.75%, 1%, 1.25%,1.5%, £4,000 fixed, £2950 fixed blah, blah, blah. You’ll have two similar houses with two vendors in similar situations and you’ve charged one £1,000 more than the other….simply because one was a pushover and the other dug their heels in.

    Until traditional agents all start being honest about their fees and start advertising what they charge (and charge the same to all) it’s hardly right to knock the online agents for giving the public a far better idea of the cost than high street agents are prepared to before the valuation.

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    1. gk1uk2001

      It’s not about what the online agents charge, it’s the way that they are intentionally misleading people (lying!) about what they do and how much it costs. Hardly being transparrent when they don’t explain in their ads that it’s a non refundable up front fee is it? Or that if you defer payment it costs you more and that you have to use their extortionately expensive legal services is it? Or that the fee they’re quoting doesn’t include things like accompanied viewings and that these cost extra, is it?
       
      Personally I don’t have an issue with the online agents as currently they aren’t a threat where we operate, but I do have an issue with any competitor, regardless of the level of threat they pose to the company I work for, who deliberatley and openly lie and decieve people.

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    2. smile please

      Surely you want people to employ you on service, knowledge, trust, reputation, products, staff. exposure and not only cost?
       
      As frustrating as it is (in many industries not just property) the cost is not there at the outset as the company want to demonstrate what the fee pays for.
      You are selling your business in being allowed to pitch to the seller. – You are aware you are in sales?
      As long as the the fee is delivered clearly and the seller is not put under preassure to sign then there is no issue.
       
      All you are doing is allowing sellers to compare you on price. 

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      1. FromTheHip64

        smile please….you’re waffling and don’t get my point
        Yes I know I’m in sales and yes you’re absolutely right, it’s not just about cost.
        But constantly online agents are targeted and knocked because they hide the “extras”. At least the seller has a pretty good idea of what it’s going to cost him when he gets them out, then, granted he’ll find out about the cost of the extras (which i agree is wrong)…but you’re really no better. If I called you today, you would avoid giving out your fee at all costs. You would also charge me less than you charged my next door neighbour because I’m a shrewd negotiator and stand my ground. My next door neighbour is wealthy, single pensioner who’s easily influenced. I bet you’d get a higher fee from him.
        How often do managers ask their listers “What fee did you manage to get”. The answer should be “Our standard fee..the fee we get from everyone, because we’re fair and honest and would never charge two different vendors different fees for doing the same job.
        I’m not wrong. When you’re transparent and honest, then you can legitimately criticize the online agents.

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        1. AgentV

          I would charge a little old lady who I knew had bought double glazing and paid twice the price needed the same as I would any other customer. I would also answer anyone on the phone about what we charge.

          However I wouldn’t publish it on the website because my competitors would then publish on their websites ‘we charge £300 less than quoted on x’s website’. 

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          1. AgentV

            Actually, thinking about it, I might charge the little old lady a bit less to make up a bit for the DG ripoff. 

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        2. smile please

          From the Hip i cannot see where the waffle is but you are entitled to your opinion.
           
          To be honest, I am wondering if you are an agent at all?
           
          Obviously every agent has a standard fee between 1 – 1.5% in this market. The difference in a shrewed negotiator and a “Little old lady” as you put it will be 0.5% in negotiation.
           
          Also if my staff walk into a property well presented, take our advice on the marketing price we may very well take it for 1% if they negotiate with us.
           
          But if they walk into the next door property, poorly presented, sticking an extra 10% on our advised price we should charge them our “standard rate” as its going to take more time and money to sell
           
          One size does not fit all.

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    3. Estate_Agent_Memes

      There’s no standard client/property so there is no standard fee.
      We AGREE a fee based upon the client’s requirements. Yes, the same value house could be sold at different costs to the individual owners, but it will be AGREED up front what they pay based upon what THEY want.
      Why wouldn’t you offer a discount to someone who wants to buy through you also? Why wouldn’t you offer a client who wants to do their own viewings a slightly cheaper rate etc, etc.
      This flexibility gives proper agents the advantage – and don’t forget we are ONLY PAID ON RESULTS

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    4. Taff

      Until I’ve seen a place for myself, I would be reluctant to quote a fee.
      If it turns out (during a personal inspection) to be a realistically priced and charming property with sensible owners (which I would expect to sell relatively quickly) I would be prepared to quote a lower fee than if it was an over-priced wreck in a poor position and owned by an ignorant owner.
      It’s not rocket science folks – it’s just common sense.

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  15. David B

    Well done everyone who complained.

    Shame none of the larger traditional agency built and paid for networks or portals took the lead on this?

     

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  16. wardy

    The comparison for like for like services is only half of the problem. The comparison in fees and claims of savings against the average high street fee is just as misleading. It wouldn’t be so bad if they had all switched to a comparison of 1.3% (latest stat from My Home Move, which I still believe to be wrong!)

    Nobody knows what the average traditional agency fee is, so why is it allowed to be quoted?

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  17. Chris Wood

    No cyberduck today. Odd…

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    1. AgentV

      He’s down his PB online lister agent’s local pub telling him it won’t matter….he still believes in him….but can he get put up for the night as 50 miles is a long drive home. 🙂

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    2. cyberduck46

      Out playing golf yesterday afternoon. Missed the news flash. See my comments above. Not going to make a blind bit of difference. From what I can see Purplebricks don’t have to change their TV ads. and it wouldn’t matter idf they did. The perception that Eastate Agents charge too much was there a long time before any adverts came along.

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      1. AgentV

        The TVs adverts create the impression that people can sell their property for free, so people pick up the phone and call them. Once that is done and a visit arranged, that’s half the battle in winning the business. 

        I have spoken to several people that have asked me or stated about PB selling for free…. so clearly those people believed it, although their intelligence told them not to trust it. 

        Watch the adverts! All it says verbally is they don’t charge commission. It doesn’t say verbally ‘we charge a non refundable flat fee whether you sell or not’ does it?

        If they wanted to be totally open and honest with everyone that’s what would be verbally incorporated isn’t it?

        There is something in the small print visual statement about flat fee, but that is gone before you know it, and very few people read wording on tv adverts anyway, because they think it will talk about t&c’s applying. 

        If people walk away from watching a tv advert, with a false impression of the truth, then I believe that is misleading, not allowing the customer to make an nformed choice!!!

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        1. AgentV

          Of course the real risk is once the ‘ambulance chasing’ fraternity get hold of this and decide there is some scope for ‘mis selling’ claims from people who paid any online lister an up front fee but then didn’t go on to sell…..and say they weren’t adequately warned up front. 

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        2. cyberduck46

          AgentV, see my response above.

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          1. AgentV

            Have a look at my reply. I have asked you a question, thanks.

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  18. Ric

    Share and share the hell out of the story. There was a day when we would have been worried to share stuff like this, in the fear we were promoting a company they may not have heard of previously, therefore actually helping them. However everyone knows PB, YOPA and alike, so now is the time to get this out there! blog it, face book it, tweet it…. make people sceptical about even calling them.

     

    OTM, perhaps get this on your blog and let the member agents share the hell out of it.

     

    Well done to those who have pushed and pushed the buttons.

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    1. Taff

      I agree. There is nothing on the OTM Blog yet (in fairness it may be a bit early to expect something so soon) BUT in the meantime, there is nothing stopping us doing our bit and sharing the news on Facebook etc.  

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  19. Marc Cottrell

    Great news!  Will celebrate every win… and I have a feeling this is just the beginning.

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  20. Chris Wood

    Have just tweeted the following. Feel free to share:

     
    Thousands who may have been mislead by advertising by the likes of @PurplebricksUK etc. may now be able to reclaim £Millions in fees @pdqproperty 

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    1. AgentV

      Is that really possible Chris…..that people could claim back some of what they were charged?

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      1. AgentV

        Doesn’t;

        ‘instruct us to sell for £849’

        sound misleading, when you have to pay the £849 whether you sell or not? 

        Shouldn’t it be……’instruct us for £849 to try and sell’

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  21. Robert May

    Only a very few people know the  full story and background to this so to those people who have mocked, insulted and disparaged the efforts of a few, to those who seek to profit, promote themselves, their goals and ambitions, look hard and deep and understand this is what good people do. This is what good people achieve but most of all realise this was not achieved by you!

    I’ll not waste my time going into the unpleasantness that some of us have had to endure, I won’t whinge about the cost or lack of support but  to those fatigued and irritated  by  Chris Wood and “THAT Robert May”   I will say; it seems that the industry and it’s regulators do care and some people were apparently listening to some of what we had to say.

     

     

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    1. AgentV

      So what help do you need from here?

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      1. Robert May

         Simply report wrong-doing and false claims through to trading standards via CAB and they’ll take it from there.
        We’ll look at new methods of manipulating data and making false claim  as they emerge or become apparent, then we’ll tweak the software as the methods mutate.
        The really good news is that Action Fraud are now actively on the heels of those who for 12 months have tried to stop us  collecting and evidencing all sorts of wrong doing. 
        The really, really good news is we have started building an incorruptible agency rating system that tracks listings right through to completion so even if the spivs do find new methods of lying and cheating the decent people in the industry will have something  independent and trustworthy to refer prospective vendors to  without fear of corruption, manipulation, additional fees or commissions. Nice, simple and honest! A level playing field at last!

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        1. AgentV

          If I can be any help in this at all, let me know. I wish you all the best in development speed. 

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        2. cyberduck46

          Robert, have you actually read the statement carefully? It’s about advertising. Nothing to do with data.
           
          Is this just an attempt to take credit for something so you can advertise your software again?
           
          What does this tell you?  “Firms advertising estate agency services for a fixed fee of a couple of hundred pounds or less need to consider whether they are little more than portal listing services and should therefore be very careful when making comparative claims in their advertising.”
           
          The bit about a fixed fee of a couple of hundred pounds or less?
           
          The statement as a whole tells me that trading standards believe that hybrid agencies and those offering more than just a listing service are OK to compare themselves with traditional agents as long as they point out the cost of extas.
           
          Make sure your comments don’t mislead traditional agents into thinking it’s what they’ve been waiting for 🙂

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          1. smile please

            Cyberduck.
             
            Robert and many others (not myself i may add) do an incredible amount of things behind the scenes that they do not brag or boast about.
             
            I am preivy to a small amount of what they do and it is amazing work and it is not all about Rummage.
             
            Robert and others have open dialogue with a number of trade bodies and individuals.
             
            This story is a direct response to the mettings, calls, emails, tweets from Robert and other members of an unofficial team who for the best part of 24- 18 months have been working behind the scenes to tidy up our industry.
             
            They also managed to reduce the number of properties being juggled by agents.
             
            You may for whatever not like Robert but be assured he has the industries best interests at heart and is working daily to to tidy it up.
            And yes when Rummage is ready he will probably ask for agents to join him, maybe even a news story on here, at that point i am sure he will welcome you and others to pick over it worts and all.
             

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            1. cyberduck46

              smile please,
               
              Thanks for the advice.
               
              I am aware to some extent what this team are doing. I am somewhat suspicious of their motives though as they claim it is in the interest of consumers but appear to only concentrate on the “problems” which when dealt with will end up benefitting traditional estate agents. I also understand that Robert May is working with Anthony Codling of Jefferies who are brokers to CountryWide.
               
              One of the goals of Robert May appears to be to rank estate agents which is what GetAgent are already doing. I am not as convinced as some are that the end result will be what is hoped for.
               
              Firstly there have been press releases from GetAgent in regard to the rankings. There have also been press releases (including from Anthony Codling) about Portal Juggling and conversion rates. Will another press release from supporters of traditional Estate Agents really make a difference?
               
              Secondly how the data is presented can make a big difference and when this is presented by people connected to traditional Estate Agents do you not think that it will be viewed suspiciously and that there will be a response included in any press release? If the actual data, rather than a summary of some sort, is released then it will effectively open up the High Street which could turn out badly do you not think as a huge amount of damage could be inflicted in how the data is spun. If the data is not released then this really does question the motives of this team who claim to be putting the public first.
               
              Just my thoughts on the matter. I could be wrong.
               
               
               
               

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          2. Robert May

            Funny!

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            1. Robert May

              With a little more time available. it is about data; not just my data any relevant data. Data that shows the average saving based on Purblebrick’s conveyancing firm’s data and the average UK transaction price is nowhere near £5000. It isn’t even £4000. Data proves some people are prepared to lie and misrepresent the savings to consumers. It isn’t for me to accuse anyone when NTSEAT are showing they will take spivvery seriously
              Data proves agents aren’t selling  all their stock for 99% of asking price, it disproves  exaggerated claimed sales ratios, it proves agents are breaking both consumer and business regulations.It proves negligent valuations, it proves bad advice.
              This article is a warning to agents who make false claim. Pointedly it specifically warns online agents not traditional agents. What do you think that is?Perhaps you are suggesting James Munro and Rob Brown have a vendetta against online agents? Possibly you need to consider they might not put out this press release targeting a specific sector without good reason.
              Please carry on being as unpleasant as you can it shows me in a far more flattering light, than I deserve.

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              1. cyberduck46

                Robert,
                 
                >This article is a warning to agents who make false claim. Pointedly it specifically warns online agents not traditional agents. What do you think that is?
                 
                Because some online Agents are breaking the rules and there have been complaints. 
                 
                Of course 95% of the market is still with traditional Estate Agents and the rules were actually created because of the behaviour of this group and who now appear to be the ones making most of the complaints and encouraging others to do the same :). Sometimes when they too are breaking the rules themselves (IMHO).
                 
                Perhaps we should have new rules now that we have online Agents. Publication of actual commissions would create a fairer competitive environment don’t you think? Perhaps your group could work on the following too:
                1. over valuing to win instructions,
                2. duping clients into 5 month sole agency contracts.
                3. conditionally selling to purchasers who will agree to use their in house mortgage consultants.
                4. conditionally selling to purchasers who will agree to use associated coveyancing firms.
                5. putting their own avarice first by sidelining cash purchasers in favour of those who will be using in house services
                6. etc.
                 
                >Data proves agents aren’t selling  all their stock for 99% of asking price, it disproves  exaggerated claimed sales ratios, it proves agents are breaking both consumer and business regulations.It proves negligent valuations, it proves bad advice.
                 
                Data can be spun whichever way you want and is subject to interpretation. Sometimes it’s irrefutable but most often it is presented with an agenda and presented in a way to support that agenda. I think it would be pretty hard to show negligent values or bad advice from data without making some assumptions which may not be correct. All you have is time to sell and difference between original listing and sale price. An agent with a 3 month contract is far more likely to want to list at a price close to value do you not think? Can you even use data to compare traditional and online agents? Should we assume that a typical customer that goes to a traditional agent has the same wishes as a customer who goes to an online agent? I’d have though that that in itself would question the blind use of data.
                 
                 

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                1. PeeBee

                  1. over valuing to win instructions,

                  We have.  We got it as far as BBC Moneybox – but the issue was steamrollered.

                  You should have a chat with a lovely person by the name of Jo Buckley-Scott on that one.  She’s on Tw@tter – and she would love to relate to you her personal experience of gross overvaluation.

                  We all look forward to read the exchange.

                  2. to 6. inclusive

                  Bring us examples – provable examples.  Give us evidence.  Show us the ‘wrong’ and we will fight for what is right.

                  But – I’m sorry – if all you can do is to simply blow smoke then all you can expect is to simply see it disperse.

                  And we are quite busy with stuff we – and the authorities it seems – believe is proven.

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                2. PeeBee

                  “Data proves agents aren’t selling  all their stock for 99% of asking price”

                  Show me a single, solitary, Agent in the UK that claims the above.

                  Go on – just one.

                  Or might you be too busy?

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  22. Chris Wood

    Cyberduck, you might want to take stock of a few salient points.

    It is a legal requirement that all estate agency businesses must belong to a recognised and approved redress scheme.

    Until June 2016, none of the franchised LPEs’ had such membership

    It is a legal requirement that all estate agency businesses must be registered with the ICO

    On a number of recent checks, 100% of the 100 LPEs checked did not appear on the ICO register

    It is a legal requirement that all estate agency businesses must be registered for HMRC AML

    On a number of recent checks, 100% of the 100 LPEs checked did not appear on the HMRC AML register

    It is a legal requirement that all estate agency businesses must work within the various and many other laws surrounding estate agency (including not to use misleading advertising to gain business)

    You may also want to swot up on your knowledge of what constitutes price-fixing and cartel activity by the CMA – Here’s a hint, setting a fixed price for a product or service by a supplier or between individual companies is not usually viewed in a good light except with certain, exceptional circumstances and exemptions.

    Perhaps if you shared the view of many on here that consumers need protecting from extremely well-funded business and the old fashioned view that law of the land should be obeyed, you might have an easier time/ be held in higher respect.

     

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    1. cyberduck46

      Chris,
       
      Of course companies need to operate withing the law.
       
      My points relate to the article above so nothing to do with most of what you say. 
       
      As I say I don’t believe PB’s TV advert is misleading and knowing somewhat more than you about the process which  I don’t believe the average consumer would be likely to enter into a transactional decision because of PB’s adverts so they are fine in regard to trading standards which will be the reason you have not got anywhere with them.
       
      To enter into a transactional decision the consumer has to sign up with PB so even if they are daft enough to think they are selling their house for free after watching the silly advert they won’t think it before entering into the transaction. That is unless they are below average intelligence which is unlikely if they are internet savvy and own a home.
       
      You need to stop thinking that PB’s customers are gullible. They are probably more intelligent than the average customer who sells through a traditional agent.
       
      Unlike you, I don’t come on here to be popular. If I wanted to be popular I’d make funny remarks or slag PurpleBricks off. I post to give some balance to the biased, hypocritical, uninformed, often misleading comments by many of the posters on here. I’ve looked back at the comments over the years and whilst these misleading statements might be popular, they are a disservice to the industry.
       
      PurpleBricks are not going to dissapear. It’s time to be realistic. 
       
      Must dash. Things to do and I saw your comment about how to be popular. 🙂

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      1. Chris Wood

        Im glad we agree that companies need to obey the law. Some of your previous posts do not give that impression.
        In light of that agreement, what do you say to the points I raise regarding ICO, TPO, HMRC etc. above (and many time previously in here and in my blog?). 
         

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        1. cyberduck46

          Chris,
           
          I stopped looking into the issues you raise because after investigation i came to the conclusion that you were either wrong or that the matters were trivial or historical. It’s clear you are prepared to spend a lot of time making your claims when there are serious issues concerning Traditional Agents who actually deal with 95% of transactions in the market. Yet I don’t see much attention to them.
           
          To be honest if I have any spare time I would probably be looking into what Traditional Agents are getting up to. Especially the ones who make complaints to the ASA and encouraging others to do likewise. Perhaps raise a few complaints myself to ASA and Trading Standards where appropriate. 
           
           
           
           
           
          .  

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          1. Chris Wood

            “you were either wrong or that the matters were trivial or historical”
            I may be wrong however, to date, my record has been pretty good on matters of compliance. If you regard the statements of fact made on the 8th at 12.32 as somehow trivial, the law takes a contrary view and one, which at some point, will no doubt be ruled on by NTSEAT, HMRC, ICO and, or, the CMA.
             
             
            *Just for fun, may I suggest that you check a random selection of agency firms (high street and call-centre) and see how many comply. By all means report any you discover as non-comliant, of either model, to the appropriate body.

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  23. PeeBee

    In a recent poll of one completely unbiased Purplebricks’ customers and in:out…in:out investors, when asked

    ‘Do you ignore the really funny stuff going on in the advert that is carefully and cleverly crafted to draw your attention to the centre of the screen; pay no attention whatsoever to the selectively worded dialogue; see straight past all the precisely-positioned scenery and clothing in multitudinous purple hues – and instead spend the entire length of the advert reading the tiny print at the bottom of the screen (except, that is, the bits where for at least part of the advert the wording blends almost perfectly into the background scene?’

    the respondent who wished to be named only as “ducky” – whilst seeming somewhat mesmerised, slurred the response

    “yesssss… yesssss… yesssss… yesssss… yesssss… yesssss… yesssss… yesssss… yesssss… yesssss… yesssss… yesssss… yesssss… yesssss… yesssss…

    …where do I sign?”

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  24. cyberduck46

    Further to a point I made above.

     

    “Perhaps we should have new rules now that we have online Agents. Publication of actual commissions would create a fairer competitive environment don’t you think?”

     

    I’ve looked into this a bit more. I believe there is already a requirement to provide commission rates on an Estate Agent’s website. My understanding comes from a document from trading standards giving guidance on the matter:

     

    “Where a consumer is thinking of contracting with you, the material information that you must provide beforehand is likely to include:” … “your fees and charges, how they will be calculated and when they will be payable”.

     

    As a consumer could be thinking of contracting with an Estate Agent whilst looking at an Agent’s website I believe this information should be published on the website. That anybody who doesn’t is in potential breach of the law.

     

    Anybody want to volunteer to be the subject of a test complaint?

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    1. PeeBee

      “Anybody want to volunteer to be the subject of a test complaint?”

      Actually – that’s not necessary.  The answer is already available – contained in the same NTSEAT Guidance you have taken the quote from – slightly down the page in section 4.15:

      ‘When you gain new clients and instructions
      Failing to provide a client with full information on fees and charges, such as how they are calculated and when they will be payable…before they become contractually bound
       
      Now – if you want to put forward a Legal challenge that the information need be available earlier than that point…

      …you go knock yourself out on that one.

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      1. cyberduck46

        PeeBee,
         
        I will be raising the matter with Trading Standards as the situation is ambiguous and after all they are only guidelines so the lack of transparency in regard to commissions of Traditional Agents may not have been something they considered as important when they produced the guidelines but may think it more important now that online agents are  being told to be transparent in regard to the service they offer and the fees they charge.
         
        Do you want to be the subject of the test complaint? It seems unfair on Chris Wood that he is the only one who seems to put his kneck on the line. If you are happy then DM (twitter) me your website details. 
         
        By the way I have seen you have commented on at least one of my posts. I don’t think I’ll have time to read your comments though so don’t read anything into my failure to reply. 🙂 I’ll be checking my twitter DMs though.

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      2. cyberduck46

        Still waiting for that web address PeeBee.
         
        Are you going to put your money where your mouth is or not?

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  25. PeeBee

    There is no ‘test complaint’ that would be considered.

    You claim that the Guidance is ambiguous.  Clearly not to thousands of Agents who follow those guidelines – including my own company, TPOS, NAEA, RICS and most importantly, NTSEAT – otherwise there would have already been prosecutions.

    Suggest you put in a blanket complaint. Think of the disruption that will cause – to the body that is already buckling under the weight of dealing with what we have given them.  Might win some of your chums time to put their houses in order.

    From a supposed vague interest in the rights or wrongs of a company you chucked a few quid at as a small-player investor, cyberduck46, you have become the #bunnyboiler of the High Street Estate Agency subset of the industry.

    Go boil something else.  You’ll never find your pot in my kitchen.

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  26. simonh

    Ahhhh! Con-Misery…

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