Advertising watchdog happy with ‘Offers in Excess’

A fast-sale agent which advertised a property inviting offers in excess of a certain price was entitled to do it, the advertising watchdog has ruled.

Springbok Properties in Manchester advertised the three-bed terrace home in Sunderland at “Offers in Excess of £70,000” saying it had a motivated seller.

Text within the advert stated: “The price given is a marketing price and not an indication of the property’s market value. The vendor like any seller is looking to achieve the maximum price possible. Hence, by making an enquiry on this property, you recognise and understand that this property is strictly offers in excess of the marketing price provided.”

The same ad also appeared on Rightmove and Zoopla.

A complainant who had unsuccessfully made four offers for the property challenged the advert, saying it was misleading as the vendor would only consider offers which were much higher.

Springbok Properties told the Advertising Standards Authority that they used Offers in Excess prices when marketing properties, and felt they made the position clear in their advertising.

With regard to that particular property, the seller had initially agreed that the home should be marked with an Offers in Excess figure of £65,000. The complainant had made two offers in excess of £65,000, both of which were rejected.

The vendor had then changed their mind several times about the price they would accept and the agents had therefore had to adjust the marketing price to Offers in Excess of £75,000 to reflect the seller’s “bottom line”.

The agents provided a screenshot showing when the price was adjusted and a dated note on their IT system when they were notified that the vendor wanted a higher price.

The complainant had again made two further offers, including one at £75,000, which were also rejected. That was in October last year. In November, the complainant noted that the house was being marketed at Offers in Excess of £70,000.

The Advertising Standards Authority rejected the complaint but did note that the Offers in Excess model was a departure from the traditional method of marketing properties and might not be a familiar concept to consumers.

However, the ASA said it was acceptable to set the Offers in Excess price at above the vendor’s bottom line, and that this was not misleading.

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