The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld a complaint against one of SpicerHaart Group’s Haart estate agents for making misleading and contradictory claims in a regional advertisement.
Spicerhaart’s adverts have been banned three times for being misleading, once in January, and two more adverts were banned last year.
The advert came from Darlows Estate Agents, part of the Haart estate agency network.
The advert was spread over five pages and the first page was headlined ’Darlows of Cardiff have sold the most properties this year’. It also listed the telephone number for 13 different areas and contained explanatory text at the foot of the page which stated ’there may be other agents which exceed these figures but do not publish their data on the internet.’
Kelvin Francis Estate Agents lodged the complaint to the ASA, challenging whether the advert misleadingly implied Darlows had offices in each of the areas listed, and that the claim to have sold the most properties was also misleading.
SpicerHaart says the advert related to coverage rather than offices, and says that the claim to have sold the most properties was to do with transactions in particular postcodes.
The ASA upheld the complaint on both counts. It agreed with Kelvin Francis that readers were likely to come to the conclusion that Darlows had offices in each of the areas listed.
It also ruled that the claim about how many homes it had sold was contradicted by the small print at the bottom of the advert and was not substantiated.
The advert must not appear again in its current form.