A complaint was made against adverts for properties for rent posted by an estate agent on rightmove.co.uk. The ads were said to be misleading as, while general information about the properties was provided in addition to the cost of rent, they did not include a compulsory administration charge.
Your-move.co.uk argued that information about administration charge was available both online and by request and that there was a link to the website on the ads in question.
The fees were not fixed and varied depending on where the property was located, as well as on the applicant’s individual circumstances. The information available to the consumer indicated that a fee would be payable and what the fee covered but it did not define exactly how much the fee would be.
Your-move.co.uk said that while fees and charges would be relevant in a consumer’s decision to rent, those arranging viewings on Rightmove were not at the stage of making a decision and did not need the information at that point.
The ASA upheld the complaint on the basis of CAP Code rule 3.19 which states: “If a tax, duty, fee or charge cannot be calculated in advance, for example, because it depends on the consumer’s circumstances, the marketing communication must make clear that it is excluded from the advertised price and state how it is calculated”.
The ASA decided the decision to arrange viewings amounted to a transactional decision and would be affected by fees. The ads should therefore have indicated clearly that the administration fee was not included in the quoted prices and should have provided enough information to allow the consumer to establish easily how further charges would be calculated.
The ads were found to have breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising) and 3.19 (Prices). Your-move.co.uk has been asked to make it clear in future ads that certain fees are excluded from quoted prices and provide enough information to allow consumers to calculate them.