The ad, seen on November 18, stated: “The home you want, plus the lifestyle you choose. An alternative approach to housebuying, only available to those over 60.”
Further text located within the body copy stated: “If you are over sixty and looking to move home, we offer an option that enables you to reduce the price of your chosen property by up to 40%, depending upon your age.”
At the bottom of the page, the ad showed a number of examples of properties with significantly reduced prices.
The complainant challenged whether the ad was misleading because he understood that those who took up the plan were purchasing a lifetime lease on a property that they would not own outright once the plan had finished, which the ad did not make clear.
Arun Estate Agencies t/a Pittis.co.uk stated that the ad was intended to promote their partnership with Homewise, who provided moving options for those over 60 years of age, and specifically to promote a plan offered by Homewise that was now known as the Home For Life Plan.
They said the plan allowed qualifying applicants to reduce the cost of their next property and, if required, retain ownership of a proportion of the home which would form part of their own estate when they died.
Homewise added that they had been advertising the plan in the same way for over 35 years. They explained that a client who opted for the Home For Life Plan was able to tailor the arrangement to their individual needs and requirements and retain part ownership of up to 50% of the home if they so desired.
However the ASA understood that the plan referred to in the ad involved the client selling their own property and identifying a new one which Homewise would buy at market value. The client would then be granted a lifetime lease of the property for a one-off price, which was the lower of the two prices shown in each example, and which would be influenced by factors including the client’s age and gender.
The ASA says because the ad did not make clear that the plan would provide clients with a lifetime lease of their next property and that that was why the example properties in the ad appeared to be available for less than market value, it concluded that it was likely to mislead.