An advert on London tubes about a savings claim made by an online agent led to a complaint to the advertising watchdog.
The advert for HouseSimple said: “Save £15,665 versus average Foxtons fee of 2.4%.”
The complainant told the Advertising Standards Authority that they challenged whether the advert was misleading because it did not make clear the basis of the savings claim.
Today, it is revealed that the complaint has been informally resolved.
A spokesperson for the Advertising Standards Authority said: “We approached HouseSimple with the concerns that had been raised.
“It agreed to amend the ad to make clear that the savings claim is based on selling a property at their current average London asking price.
“On that basis we considered the matter had been resolved and closed the case.”
Invited to comment, HouseSimple said:”The complaint was relating to clarifying on an advert we are running on London tubes and how we came to the savings figure of £15,665 versus average Foxtons Fee of 2.4%.”
HouseSimple said that its own average London property is worth £561,373, and its average vendor fee is £502.80. Foxtons would have charged £16,167.51p for a property the same value, based on a fee of 2.4% plus VAT.
HouseSimple said that if it had used Foxtons’ current average property value which is £885,553 the potential savings to their clients if they had used HouseSimple would have been £25,001. S.
HouseSimple said that sums done using Rightmove’s average listed asking price for a London property, of £615,115, would make the potential savings to the average Londoner £17,213.
The spokesperson said: “However you look at it, an average vendor would save £15K+ if using HouseSimple versus Foxtons. We feel this is something people need to understand and think very carefully about. When one realises that you’re effectively throwing away an amount of money large enough to buy a very good car, you might just think again.”
Alex Gosling, who heads up HouseSimple, added that a similar advert had been banned by the London Evening Standard because it mentioned Foxtons.
Gosling said: “The Evening Standard disallowed a similar advert due to the fact Foxtons are a long standing advertiser with them. Whilst this may seem anti-competitive to some, we understood the position the Evening Standard were in and so agreed to suggested amendments without taking further action. Interestingly when the advert was amended and subsequently published, guess who had an advert on the next door page to HouseSimple…Foxtons!
Carphone Warehouse founder Sir Charles Dunstone invested £5m into HouseSimple earlier this year.
He and his business partner Roger Taylor plan to inject more money at a later stage.
HouseSimple this month hired creative agency Wordley Production to produce its first TV advertising campaign.