Ad regulator says estate agent ‘misled’ customers on commission

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The advertising regulator has told an estate agent to change its adverts over misleading claims about how much commission they would charge consumers.

The Advertising Standards Authority said that the website of Portsmouth estate agents Pink and Cow told consumers they could sell their homes for 0.5 per cent commission.

The website said Pink and Cow was “in the perfect position to show buyers round your property” and could “arrange high quality viewings and give you feedback at all times”.

But a consumer complained to the ASA that the 0.5 per cent figure did not include accompanied viewings.

With these factored in, the level of commission rose to 0.75 per cent.

Pink and Cow told the ASA the average consumer would not assume that their service would include accompanied viewings.

The estate agent also gave copies of its property information form and sales contract as evidence, both of which mentioned the 0.75 per cent figure.

But the ASA said the advert was misleading and had to change as consumers would expect upfront viewings to be included in the price.

However, the ASA noted the average consumer knew they would not always get the same service from a high street estate agent as an online agent.

The ASA said Pink and Cow’s website statements “contributed to an overall impression that the service offered by Pink and Cow was a combination of both an online estate agent and a high street estate agent”.

It adds: “In that context we considered the fact that the 0.5 per cent fee did not include accompanied viewings was material information which should have been included in the ad.

“Because that information was not included we therefore concluded that the ad was misleading.

“The ad must not appear again in its current form.”

Pink and Cow has been approached for comment.