An online agent’s claim on social media that its average vendor saves £5,594 has been publicly disputed – but robustly defended by HouseSimple.
HouseSimple made the claim in an advert on Facebook – but two people queried it, with one asking how the sum was calculated.
HouseSimple replied by posting a link saying: “It’s all explained here and has had independent verification.”
The link gives the explanation that the calculation is based on its current average asking price of £305,648; a High Street average commission of 1.64% plus VAT; and HouseSimple’s own average client fee of £420.76.
The average fee of £420.76 is what it says its own customers paid between June 2015 and April 2016.
It says the average High Street commission fee was from Zoopla in April 2016, and from a survey of 533 HouseSimple customers who listed in 2014/2015, and who said they had been previously quoted agency fees.
It says that based on these figures, the average saving with HouseSimple is £5,594.
One person, Milly Molly Mandy, posted on Facebook: “What seemingly false advertising.”
Another, Warren Hastings, said the average high street agent’s fee is 1.3% including VAT.
He said: “High street agents wouldn’t get away with false advertising, so why should these online companies?”
Milly Molly Mandy replied that she had been looking to sell her property and looked at some online agents: “All the same . . . stating they can save me thousands. Absolute rubbish!”
EYE asked HouseSimple about the “independent verification” of its claims.
A spokesperson told us: “The claim is the same one used in the current HouseSimple TV ad. It was independently verified by Clearcast, who have to clear all claims before they appear in TV ads.
“HouseSimple provided supportive data in January 2017 to Clearcast in order to verify the claim.”
The exchange on Facebook is here: