Online estate agents Purplebricks has found trouble for failing to effectively communicate its ads in two TV commercials.
The company takes a flat fee from consumers, unlike high street estate agencies who are more likely to take commission on sales. Purplebricks charges a flat fee for listings, but failed to communicate there is a charge even in the failure to sell a property.
The ASA received 38 complaints about the ad. Many of those related to the fact the existence of a fee was misleading. The ASA ruled that “consumers would understand that Purplebricks charged a flat fee”.
It did however take exception to the nature of this fee, especially when it was payable even when a property has not been sold. The authority ruled: “We considered that it was not sufficiently clear in the ads that the fee payable to Purplebricks was not conditional on the sale of the property and therefore concluded that the ad was misleading.”
The group breached misleading advertising and comparisons with identifiable competitors.
The ads must not be broadcast again in their current form. Purplebricks have to make it clear that the fee is always payable.