Misleading online rental and sales listings posted on both Rightmove and Airbnb have been tackled by national watchdog the Advertising Standards Authority, highlighting the dangers of inaccurate online property details posted by agents and landlords.
The first to have their wrists slapped is an Airbnb landlord. The ASA received two complaints about a property listing on the home sharing platform by one of its customers.
It claimed to offer ‘Free cancellation for 48 hours after booking” and “Cancel before 5:00pm on Jul 16 and get a full refund”.
The complainants challenged whether the listing was misleading, as both cancelled their booking within the specified time period but did not received a full refund, as they were not refunded the service fee.
“We contacted the advertiser, who informed us that they would make their refund conditions clearer in the future, and that they had now given both complainants a full refund,” says an ASA spokesperson.
“On that basis, we considered the case to be informally resolved without the need for an investigation.”
The other case involved six-branch Cornish firm Marshalls Estate Agents, which has promised to amend a Rightmove listing that described a property as freehold when it was in reality a leasehold home.
“We contacted the advertiser, who subsequently amended the post. We therefore considered this case to be informally resolved,” says the ASA.
The ASA’s guidance to estate agents about online property details says: “It may seem obvious, but don’t make claims about features of properties unless you can prove their
accuracy with documentary evidence”.