Agent told it must not claim to have sold homes if they are subject to contract

A case that has been informally resolved by the advertising watchdog could have far-reaching implications for some agents as to how they use the words “sold” and “sales”.

The ASA made it clear to the agent involved that it should not use these terms if the homes are subject to contract.

A complainant told the advertising watchdog of claims made by agent Springbok Properties.

The firm, which claims to have sold 5,500 homes all over the UK, specialises in quick sales.

It has one branch, in Manchester, but operates nationwide.

The complainant challenged whether the following claims could be substantiated:

  1. 63% of our property sales take less than 30 days. 77% of our property sales take less than eight weeks.
  2. Over 1,800 properties sold in less than ten days.
  3. Awarded Best Sales Branch in UK two years running.

The Advertising Standards Authority checked the data provided by Springbok Properties, and found it supported the figures quoted about properties sold.

An ASA spokesperson told us: “However, we had other concerns and the advertiser agreed to make changes.

“In particular, they agreed to make clear that the properties referred to were sold ‘subject to contract’ and they agreed to confirm the time periods the figures related to.”

Regarding the third challenge, Springbok Propeerties agreed to make it clear that it was allAgents that had made the award.

Yesterday this was how the Springbok Properties site looked.


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  1. AgencyInsider

    No more misleading than every estate agency board bearing the large word ‘SOLD’ and in tiny letters ‘Subject to Contract’. Deliberately designed to make it look as if the property is sold – to the advantage of the agent. And possibly disadvantaging the client seller by putting off potential other buyers from viewing. (No, I am not advocating gazumping but a significant percentage of ‘sold subject to contract’ deals fall through when the buyer withdraws. A vendor should be advised to keep the property on the market at least until the mortgage val is done)

    The protocol should never have changed from using the crystal clear and accurate ‘UNDER OFFER’ and ‘SOLD’ slips.

    The only other clarification that might be useful is to use ‘UNDER OFFER – NO VIEWING’ where a vendor has so instructed.

  2. Garret2

    I have 2 questions:

    Q1. How can they claim to sell your house for 99% of your agreed asking price when a whopping 40% of their properties are marked price reduced?

    Q2. What percentage of the properties they take on do they actually sell? Their website implies all property sell but it seems at present only 34% of their stock is sold STC

    It’s all very well claiming “63% of your property sales take less than 30 days” but if you’re only selling 34% of the properties you take on then this claim is very misleading IMO.

    What do others think?

    1. PeeBee


      Q1 – Because the rules are there are no rules

      Q2 – Who knows?  Probably they don’t know either.  They’ll have a statistic… and of course “data” to back it up – will that do?

  3. Herb

    I thought the ASA recommended the words UNDER OFFER before exchange and SOLD after on boards and websites

    1. smile please

      Does it really make much difference, Sold, Under Offer, Sale Agreed or the obnoxious “Too Late” slips?

      All mean the same.

      1. AgencyInsider

        They do?

  4. PeeBee

    Hello… PurpleBricks (among others)…


    Looks like your bezzies at .@ASA_UK have created some serious recalculation work for y’all…

  5. PeeBee

    “The Advertising Standards Authority checked the data provided by Springbok Properties, and found it supported the figures quoted about properties sold.”

    It would be extremely interesting to know exactly what “data” had been supplied.

  6. PeeBee

    Interestingly, a ‘developer’ client of mine bought a property earlier in the year. 

    The second they agreed a deal with him they

    1.  Marked it SOLD

    2.  Reduced the Asking Price to what he’d offered – which was several % lower than the previously advertised price.


  7. PeeBee

    Now HERE’S a thing…

    Our wonderful host, Frau Renshaw, kindly posted a screenshot above of the ‘revised’ Springbok webpage.

    For those that can’t see it, or be @rsed to visit the Springbok site, it has little – and I mean chuffin’ TINY – (1)s, (2)s, (3)s, (4)s and (5)s strategically planted wherever they are using marketing f*ckwittery (Credit: Jonnie) that .@ASA_UK have slapped their ickle wristies.

    But here’s the thing.  There is no ‘key’ as to what these itsy-bitsy (1)s to (5)s are in reference to.  NOWHERE,

    Good job, .@ASA_UK.  You really sorted them there.

    Good f*ckin’ job.

  8. PeeBee

    I know this isn’t strictly related – but I would like to put forward a nomination for “COMMENT OF THE WEEK”.

    This was posted today on Tw@tter by a lady who is having ‘a bit of a do’ with our very own pet purveyors of #Purple_Pain – the people who bring #CONmisery to a town near you.

    “There’s a reason they get positive reviews. They ask for them when you secure a sale. It’s like reviewing a restaurant that serve a great starter only to find your chicken main undercooked and a fly in your cheesecake.”

    It’s as good a candidate as any I’ve seen before…

    …so how’s about it, EYE??

  9. PeeBee

    Here’s a single ‘Springbok’ property – one of countless 0000s  across the board, so I am not necessarily pointing a finger at this particular Agent in this respect… that throws doubt upon any reliance upon ‘reliable’ sources for statistical f*ckwittery (credit: Jonnie)

    This one doesn’t ‘fit’ in the first two categories of the complaints – ‘cos it’s been on the market for a while.  A good while, actually.

    But… how long?  Springbok don’t date their listings (as neither do most other Agents)

    Here it is… according to the #Purple_Portal:

    sporting a “First listed” date of 17 October 2017.  Nearly two years of unsoldness.  Not a good advert for the company that claim to be faster than a fast thing in Fastville on Fast Day…

    …and then you have a look at their Rightmove listing:

    where it is seen to have been added over three years earlier – in SEPTEMBER 2014!

    On both portals it shows as Springbok’s oldest listing… just 37 months apart.

    Wonder which of those dates TwentyCi would put forward in one of their statistical fabrications…?


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