ASA bans fifth SpicerHaart ad

The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld a complaint against one of SpicerHaart Group’s Haart estate agents for making misleading claims in a regional advertisement.

Spicerhaart’s adverts have been banned four times for being misleading, twice this year, with two adverts banned last year.

A regional press ad for an estate agent depicted a pink heart with the words “Good Bye” written on it. Headline text stated “BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO”. The word “HARD” had been crossed out and replaced with the word “easy”. Text continued “Switch to haart without penalty”.

Smaller text stated “If your current estate agent isn’t delivering, and you decide to leave them then ‘Switch’ to haart. We’ll smooth the way by settling any leaving fees or HIPs charges you might be liable for, up to £1000, until we sell your home, you withdraw your property from sale or for 9 months”.

A reader objected that the ad was misleading because it stated that the payments would only be deferred rather than absorbed by the advertisers, which they believed contradicted the claim about switching “without penalty”.

The ASA ruled that because readers would still be liable for leaving fees, which Spicer Haart was offering to pay temporarily in order to enable people to switch estate agents, but not permanently, the headline claim was contradicted by the qualifying text. It concluded that the ad was likely to mislead.