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Shock rise in complaints about estate agency adverts during 2018

The Advertising Standards Authority watchdog says both the number of complaints and cases jumped last year compared to 2017.

Nigel Lewis

asa purplebricks

The number of people complaining about estate agents’ online and print adverts to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) during 2018 increased by 28% compared to the year before, it has been revealed.

Some 975 people complained about 860 adverts placed by property industry companies either within their own marketing materials or within magazines, billboards or websites. Among these were several high-profile complaints including adverts by Purplebricks (see above), Emoov, Barnard Marcus auctions and OnTheMarket.

During 2017 some 762 people complained about 610 adverts published by estate agents.

The property industry can take some solace from the figures, despite the increases. It is significantly behind other key industry sectors including leisure which attracted 5,083 complaints and health and beauty, which attracted 3,914 during 2018.

The least complained about sector was electrical appliances, which generated just two complaints last year.

In total the ASA resolved 33,727 complaints about 25,259 adverts of which nearly half were about online ads including on company’s own websites and those posted on social media such as Twitter and Facebook.

Busy year

asa“It’s been a busy year, largely driven by complaints and cases about online ads,” says ASA Chief Executive Guy Parker (left).

“That’s why our new five-year strategy is focused on strengthening further the regulation of online advertising and using new tech to protect the public.”

The number of complaints about sales and letting agents this year has been relatively sparse with just one upheld complaint so far, partly because one of the most frequently complained-about hybrid agents, Emoov, is out of the picture.

Also, Purplebricks – another frequent candidate for complaints in the past along with other online agents – appears to have heeded warnings by the ASA to clean up its act.

May 20, 2019

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