Online agency founded by teenage tycoon told not to compare itself with high street agents

Doorsteps, the online agency founded by teenager Akshay Ruparelia, has run into trouble with the Advertising Standards Authority.

The complainant was none other than the industry regulator, NTSEAT.

NTSEAT took issue with wording on the Doorsteps’ website.

This stated: “With Doorsteps you can sell your house for less than a hundred pounds, without leaving your home.

“An honest, transparent and hassle free way for you to sell your property, with a great level of service at a fantastic price.”

Small print stated: “Based on a direct comparison of like for like services, provided by the current average high street agent fee of 1.3% (inc VAT) compared to the current fixed fee charged by Doorsteps of £99 inc VAT.”

NTSEAT challenged whether the comparative claims were misleading and could be substantiated.

The complaint has been informally resolved, although almost identical wording was still appearing on the site this morning.

A spokesperson for the ASA said that Upside Capital trading as Doorsteps gave its assurance that it would amend the advert so that it stated any material differences between Doorsteps’ services or packages and those offered by “the average high street agent” that it was being compared with.

However, this morning on Doorsteps’ website’s home page, this wording could be seen after an asterix relating to the cost of using a high street agent, at £5,718: “Based on a direct comparison of like for like services, provided by the current average High street Agent fee of 1.2% (inc VAT) compared to the current fixed fee charged by Doorsteps of £99 inc VAT.”

Ruparelia, who set up Doorsteps in late 2016, claims to have sold his first house while still at school studying for A-levels.

He went on to raise over £500,000 via crowdfunding in 2017.

The latest Sunday Times Rich List names Ruparelia as being worth £16m. He is the youngest person named in the list, turning 20 last month.

His website says that it is the 14th largest estate agent in the UK.

Its packages cost £99, £199 and £599. Doorsteps claims that the average sale is agreed in 20 days, saving sellers £5,121 in fees. It also says that the average customer gets 99% of their asking price.

In April, Rightmove said it was reviewing Doorsteps’ membership, but did not give reasons.

However, it remains a member and yesterday had 1.388 available properties listed on the portal.

* Two other complaints involving property firms have also been informally resolved by the ASA.

Heylo Housing took out a paid-for Facebook post advertising homes for sale and featuring an image of two properties.

A complainant said one of the houses pictured was their own home, and the image had been used without their permission. Neither of the homes featured were for sale.

Heylo agreed to remove the pictures.

In the other case, a complainant objected to an advert for Collins & Wise Property Management on Zoopla, saying that the claim to be a member of The Property Ombudsman Scheme was wrong.

The firm updated the advert to remove reference to TPO.

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7 Comments

  1. ArthurHouse02

    But the statement from Doorsteps hasnt been amended has it? The claimed fee that estate agents charge has been lowed to 1.2% inc Vat but the claim that it is a like for like comparison remains. It is not in the Ts & Cs it is smack bang in the middle of the homepage. It is about time the ASA and their buddies in NTSEAT starting issuing fines against these companies.

    What is the point in issuing the “ruling” if said company doesnt have to change anything?

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  2. Woodie0636

    These companies claim we pay 100% cash. That is misleading too as the public when reading that think they are going to get 100% of the house price when all it means if they are offered £10 and receive £10 that is 100% But when they state that the amount we offer is the amount you receive and then reduce their offer that is fraud why does the ASA not stop that practice.

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    1. Malcolm Barnard

      The ASA will investigate a complaint if you make one. There is a straightforward form to complete on their website…

      https://www.asa.org.uk/make-a-complaint.html

      Report
  3. J1

    This firm is a joke!

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  4. Property Poke In The Eye

    This would apply all FSBO.  As they are not providing shame service.

    So PB, Emoon etc should also be looked at.

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    1. PeeBee

      They HAVE BEEN, PPITE.

      For reasons only understood by .@ASA_UK their claims were upheld.

      #Funny_That…

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    2. cyberduck46

      And only yesterday you were advising Chris Wood to change a couple of words in his advert that was deemed misleading by the ASA.

      http://www.propertyindustryeye.com/agent-given-days-to-comply-with-ruling-accuses-regulator-of-going-outside-its-own-remit/

      “Both the ASA and NTSEAT are useless and probably don’t have the staff or process to actually enforce to the very end.
      As Smile said, play the game.”
      Such hypocrisy. Little wonder the public trust the weatherman more than Estate Agents.

      Report
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