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Will online agents remove or change their ‘savings’ claims after regulator’s intervention?

ON THE MARKET

Screengrabs taken by EYE at the weekend show just how important it is for online agents to claim that sellers save money by going with them, rather than with high street agents.

We visited eight of the main online agents’ website following the warning, issued on Friday afternoon, by industry regulator NTSEAT (the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team).

NTSEAT said that online agents should not make claims about savings that they could not substantiate.

The warning came after a ruling last week by the Advertising Standards Authority that Purplebricks – in a successful challenge by Arun Estates – should not state savings unless it could substantiate them.

The ASA ruled that some of the claims made by Purplebricks were misleading.

The ASA was invited by EYE to comment on the warning issued by NTSEAT but said it was unable to help.

On Saturday afternoon, we found a variety of prices and claims on the online/hybrid agents’ websites.

Importantly, please note before any post you wish to comment that the claims made may well have been researched and substantiated, and that the online agents concerned will be able to prove this, should there be any challenge either to the ASA or NTSEAT.

In no particular order, this is how we visited the sites:

eMoov: charges £795 and “saves thousands”. Assuming a 1.8% high street agency fee, it claims to save sellers £4,258 on a £300,000 property.

YOPA: charges £839, and saves sellers an average of “over £3,000″.

Tepilo: charges from £645, saving up to £3,855.

easyProperty: charges £825, and will “save you thousands”. It quotes a saving of over £6,000 on a property worth £500,000, assuming the high street estate agent fee of 1.5%.

Purplebricks: charges £849, or £1,199 inside London. It has a calculator showing that sellers of a £289,000 property could save £3,351 on a high street agent fee of 1.5%.

House Simple: charges £595 fee, or a no sale, no fee model from £995. On its site at the weekend, it was giving examples of savings from £1,736 to £5,870 in actual sales it had made.

Settled: charges £499 and claims that the average seller saves £5,000.

My Online Estate Agent: charges from £395, and claims to have saved its clients so far £1,685,165 in fees.

We will revisit all the sites at the end of the week to see if there are any changes.

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