Rightmove has made it clear it will assist industry regulator the National Trading Standards Estate Agents Team as it investigates so-called portal juggling, and will also pass over any suspicious possible evidence.
Yesterday, a spokesperson told EYE: “Rightmove welcomes NTSEAT’s move to publish guidance about agents trying to deliberately remove and relist properties to make them appear new on the market.
“If Rightmove receives a query about a listing and the data quality team investigate it and find that it is a deliberate attempt to remove and relist a property to make it appear as new then this will be shared with NTSEAT
“Rightmove will also continue to support requests from NTSEAT and local Trading Standards authorities for any cases they investigate.”
NTSEAT has already confirmed that specific agents are under investigation, after warning that the practice of portal juggling is illegal and could result in prosecutions and/or bans from the industry. Its stance has been publicly supported by industry figures including NAEA managing director Mark Hayward and ombudsman Katrina Sporle.
Hayward has made his view very clear, saying: “Portal juggling cannot in any way be condoned. A practice that seeks to misinform, manipulate the truth or hide inaccuracies that would influence transactional decisions must cease.”
In January this year, Rightmove confirmed its own on-going inquiry into portal juggling. While it seems that we did not hear the outcome, The Times on August 1 said that the inquiry had found no evidence of the practice.
However, yesterday evening a Rightmove spokesperson clarified to EYE that The Times story was based on one particular set of listings that the journalist had been sent. Rightmove said it had told the newspaper’s journalist that these listings had already been investigated and were not found to be deliberate attempts to remove and reload so as to appear new.
The spokesperson also confirmed: “Our data quality team doesn’t use the term portal juggling.
“They deal with any queries about potentially inaccurate listings.”
Rghtmove has always made it consistently clear that it will not tolerate inaccurate listings.