Only two out of eight online agents’ websites have been changed since the Advertising Standards Authority ruled that claims by Purplebricks about savings could not be substantiated and must not be made again.
Following that ruling in early July, EYE visited eight websites, including that of Purplebricks.
Since July 10, it would appear that only eMoov and Tepilo have made changes that reflect the ASA’s ruling. The ASA raised concerns which would affect all those online agents that make claims about savings.
Both eMoov and Tepilo have changed their websites in the last four weeks. Both now make it clear how they arrive at their savings claims, and also mention ‘viewings’. However, eMoov says it has reached its savings calculation based on a high street agent’s fee of 1.3%, while Tepilo bases its claims on 1.5%.
At the time of our first visit, Purplebricks had already made the changes required and, not surprisingly, does not seem to have made any further alterations.
The fact that five out of the original eight seem to have not altered their original claims does not, of course, mean that those claims would fall foul of the ASA.
In no particular order, we have revisited the following sites:
eMoov: Has been changed. “Save thousands” – a click on this shows a box saying how the savings are calculated, using a high street fee of 1.3% and stating that the £795 fee does not include accompanied viewings. It claims: “On average our sellers save £2,857”; it also claims: “Our sellers achieve £5,600 more for their home on average”. A deal with £200 off is currently running.
YOPA: Appears not to be changed. It charges £839 (£1,399 in some London postcodes). “Saves over £3,000 in fees, gets over 98% of their asking prices.” Has a calculator which says that high street agents charge “between 1% and 3% plus VAT”. Elsewhere it says high street agents can charge as much as 3.5%. Viewings package costs £300 extra.
Tepilo: Has been changed. It said then that it charges from £645, saving up to £3,855 on a £250,000 property. It still charges from £645, but now quotes a smaller saving of £3,245 on a £250,000 home, and explains that this is based on a high street fee of 1.5% plus VAT, and on Tepilo’s fee of £895 plus £360 for accompanied viewings. Elsewhere it says that the average Tepilo customer saves £5,120 in fees. A pop-up box, similar to that now used by eMoov, repeats the explanation that this is based on a 1.5% high street agent’s fee plus VAT and is based on Tepilo’s VAT-inclusive fee of £895 plus £360 for viewings.
easyProperty: Appears to be unchanged. It said then, and still says, that it charges £825 and will save £6,675 on a property worth £500,000 assuming the high street agent’s fee is 1.5%.
Purplebricks: Unchanged. Purplebricks charges £849, or £1,199 inside London. The prices are unchanged and the site continues to display a calculator showing that sellers of a £280,000 property could save £3,351 on a high street agent fee of 1.5%. However, at our first visit four weeks ago, Purplebricks would already have made changes.
HouseSimple: Unchanged. Fees unchanged, at a fixed fee of £595 or a no sale, no fee model from £995. On its site, it was giving examples of savings from £1,736 to £5,870 in actual sales it had made. Yesterday these were exactly the same examples that we found four weeks ago. Some of the portals where HouseSimple claims to advertise appear to no longer exist (see screengrab below). https://www.housesimple.com/selling/marketing
Settled: Unchanged: Charges £499 and claims that the average seller saves £5,000.
My Online Estate Agent: Unchanged: charges from £395, and claims to have saved its clients so far £1,685,165 in fees. It has not updated this impressive figure since our first visit four weeks ago.