The ad stated in voice-over “Something big is happening and it’s happening around every corner in Northern Ireland. If you are searching for a home to buy or rent, then PropertyPal.com has more choice than anywhere else. We have the whole country covered from top to bottom. Propertypal.com. Northern Ireland’s largest property website”.
On-screen text stated “Based on homes for sale in N.I. 1st Sept 2010”.
Propertynews.com challenged whether the claim “Northern Ireland’s largest property website” was misleading and could be substantiated and claimed the ad should have made clear how viewers could verify the comparisons with other property websites.
PropertyPal said the claim “If you are searching for a home to buy or rent, then PropertyPal.com has more choice than anywhere else” was based on both homes for sale and also those for rent.
It explained that the ad was one of six and, although on-screen text only stated “Based on homes for sale”, on-screen text in the other ads had stated “Based on homes for sale or rent”.
They said they had amended the text to make it consistent with the other five ads, but nonetheless did not believe that the claim was misleading, because it was based on both homes for sale and for rent.
PropertyPal understood that there were no independent measures in place to monitor sales, but it tracked actual homes for sale and rent on their website and those on their two main competitors.
The ASA says the comparison was not independently verified and considered that, because there was potential for discrepancies, the method used to compare the amount of properties for sale and rent was not sufficiently robust to support the absolute claim that ProperytyPal was “Northern Ireland’s largest property website” and we therefore concluded that, on this point, the ad was misleading.