The Advertising Standards Authority has banned an advertisement which gave the impression that firm had a physical office “in the style of a traditional estate agent”.
Yorkshire’s Finest showed on its website a map with Leeds, Halifax, Huddersfield, Wakefield, Denby Dale and Holmfirth shown, with telephone numbers. The text referred to them as “our offices”.
A regional newspaper advertisement invited members of the public to “contact your local office”, with the same locations and phone numbers.
A complainant challenged whether there were offices in Wakefield and Bradford.
The ASA contacted Yorkshire’s Finest which said it would remove the Bradford listing and phone number, saying it had intended to rent an office in the area, which had not materialised.
The firm said the Wakefield phone number was genuine as there was an employee who worked from an office at their home in the Wakefield area.
It told the ASA that the current state of estate agency was wholly different from in the past, and the traditional shop window was not as relevant as it once was. Ir also said that nowhere in its literature did it claim to have a “shop” or premises with a window display in Wakefield, or in any other location and that its work was conducted mostly in customers’ own homes.
The ASA ruling said: “We noted that Yorkshire’s Finest said that they did not claim to have premises in any locations. However, we considered that the listing of the locations in the ads was a strongly implied claim that there were offices in these areas.
“We acknowledged that there had been a proliferation of different types of estate agent in recent years which challenged the traditional model. However, we understood that the office in Wakefield was the only one where an employee worked from his home address, and that the overall impression given by the website was of Yorkshire’s Finest being a traditional estate agent.”