Portal juggling: Rightmove says it will help in any investigations of cases

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.

 

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42 Comments

  1. AndrewOverman

    How jolly decent of them. However, of the £1000s that agents pay in subscription / additional fees and given their own Terms & Conditions / contracts with their agents, surely they should be doing more in the first place to prevent it and punish agents that are found to repeatedly engage in the activity?

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    1. Chrispy

      Q are RM the industry police? Why don’t we look at ourselves first as that’s where the problem is, it’s too easy for numpties like Andrew to jump on the same old bandwagon, we pay £1000s….yawn

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      1. Mark Walker

        In case you’ve missed it, it turns out Property Eye readers have had to take it in turns to be the industry police as all other bodies, including Rightmove, have turned a blind eye to it.  Superb work has been done by the folks on here on behalf of consumers.  This was done selflessly with the aim of improving our industry, tarnished as it is by cowboys.

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      2. PeeBee

        “Why don’t we look at ourselves first as that’s where the problem is,”

        We are – we have – and we’re making progress.

        So – can we reliably take it from what you say, ‘Chrispy’, that whenever you see evidence of potential wrongdoing within our industry, be it listings on portals, false claims, or whatever, you will be immediately doing your bit, and reporting to the relevant portals, industry bodies and authorities for their investigation?

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      3. agent orange

        Q. Crispy. If you came home from work one day do find a high rise block of flats had gone up in your nice quite cul de sac and you subsequently discover that the developer had permission from the LA to do it, who would you blame? Pounds to pennies you would be banging on the door of the council shouting “WHY DID YOU ALLOW THIS??!!”

        No, RM are not the police, but they are the largest property portal in the country and they have a duty of care to their customers (us) who pay £1000’s a month (yawn – sorry) to ensure it is not being abused.

        Doing nothing makes them guilty by association.

         

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      4. Eamonn

        Chrispy

        They are implicit in the whole thing.   The fact they don’t police it doesn’t mean (given their position) they shouldn’t.

        Honestly’ I could eat a tin of alphabet spaghetti and sh1t a better comment.

        I think PeePee could as well

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      5. AndrewOverman

        Chrispy

        By the mere fact that you address me as a “numpty” without knowing me, I can tell I’m dealing with low intelligence, so let me help and spell it out to you. I have and will continue to report it. I have made the addresses public on here.

        I am a professional agent, a transparent agent. I do not engage in such activity and therefore believe I meet your prerequisite – however until Chris Woods aided by a few others pursued this to the national press the industry wanted to “turn a blind eye”.

        May I suggest that if you want to comment in future, you try doing so from a position of knowledge and leave the potty mouth playground insults in the playground? There’s a good little boy.

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  2. Eamonn

    Why does Rightmove REFUSE to use the term portal juggling?

    Boooooo RM

    oh wait…………that’s them saying what a “stupid name” for practice of inaccurate listings

     

     

     

     

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    1. PeeBee

      “stupid name” or not, Eamonn, it’s got people talking about it and using it whereas your pet name for the practice – “Deceitful Property Listings” – most probably wouldn’t have caught on.

      Not that you’d have bothered doing anything about it in the first place so it’s all hypothetical, innit…

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      1. Eamonn

        Your impression of a chav is very natural.

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        1. PeeBee

          * Comment deleted under current Professional Etiquette Regulations *

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    2. Robert May

      What’s the expression? Heads gone!

      To be reduced to whinging what the practice is called is just embarrassing!  Possibly time for another moniker you’ve broken that one too.

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      1. Eamonn

        That’s Correct Bobby.  “Your Heads Gone” .

        Highlighting that RM refuse to acknowledge the name is hardly whinging but I will give you marks for desperation in your boyish attempt to belittle my comment.

        Keep It Real……….

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        1. PeeBee

          BELITTLE your comment?  Not possible.

          Trust me – it had already sunk lower than a sea-slug’s b0110cks the second you posted it.

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          1. Eamonn

            Heads Gone

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            1. PeeBee

              Do you actually have access to another attempted put-down?

              That one’s wearing pretty darn thin, now.

              It’s not a particularly good catchphrase – but considering your valiant but woefully cr@pola effort at coming up with what I suggested needs to be a “…descriptive; to the point, memorable and useable…” alternative to that  icky #portaljuggle phrase, that’s no surprise to me (or the rest of the EYE audience, I’m guessing…).

               

              There again, what do i know – my head’s gone, apparently…

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  3. Chri Wood

    Hollow words from Rightmove.

    As reported previously on PIE ( http://bit.ly/2aqI40L ), PurpleBricks “audited” a number of their instructions after being presented with the same evidence from The Times and Financial Times journalists that was given to NTSEAT and admitted it allowed “users to reload properties following a “marketing break”. The same evidence was presented (and continues to be presented) to Rightmove at the highest levels.

    Perhaps Rightmove would like to explain why they can claim no evidence of any such activities when this is the same evidence seemingly accepted by NTSEAT and the lawyers overseeing the stories at The Times and The FT as strong enough to take action/ go to press and, for PurpleBricks to “audit” some of its own stock and admit the reloading of properties*.

    The problem is endemic.

     

    *knowing that these will then be marketed by Rightmove as ‘new in’

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    1. Mark Walker

      Rightmove hides behind a disclaimer that they only act as a passive intermediary and therefore any false advertising that has been placed on their portal is not their fault.  Can they continue to hide behind that disclaimer once they have been presented with the evidence and allow said false advertising to continue?  I would not like to be their lawyer.

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      1. Chri Wood

        Rightmove has a legal obligation in statute law not to publish any adverts that are illegal, dishonest or misleading, as well as in civil law contractually to us, its customers. QED.

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  4. easternagent

    I have recently been corresponding with RM over a local agent ‘swapping’ properties from one branch to another then back again, a practice they have been using for the last three  months.  Give RM their dues as they have threatened the agent with making all their properties invisible until they come to heel which the offending agent now seems to have done.  I wonder though if RM have actually informed NTSEAT of this particular firm as they say they will.

    I am afraid that RM have not answered my question about their nationally published statistics being severely ‘skewed’ by agents adopting this practice and the fact that any figures ‘crunched’ from Rightmoveplus are totally meaningless because of this. Nor have they advised me that the statistics recorded for this agent have been reversed to take account of the ‘portal juggling’.  Perhaps this is an aspect that the national press should be aware of when quoting RM numbers about the national market.

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    1. Chri Wood

      Good on you and, I agree, Rightmoves’ national statistics are now demonstrably unreliable. Call NTSEAT and ask them or, contact your local TSO and ask them regarding the issues; as previously mentioned on here, local TSO’s now have National guidance to follow.

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  5. smile please

    Why are people looking to run down what a group of hard working agents are doing for the industry unpaid?

    A number of individuals on here are coming across either very stupid or have something to hide.

    Who cares what its called. End of the day it is a practice that is potentially defrauding the public into thinking an agent has more success then they do or potentially a businesses attracting investment off the back of figures that just are not true.

    The agents that have worked on this (not me by the way) are looking to expose the companies that are doing the above. They have tried to get news stories printed but media outlets, they are too afraid to run them as they have been threatened by legal action. These agents have approached the portals as this is a violation of the T&C’s as well as a criminal activity.

    They have now managed to get the government departments, redress schemes, industry bodies to come out after campaigning for the last year that this is not acceptable behavior. They have also said they have a number of investigations under way.

    This in under a year and with no financial backing just hard work they are not being paid for and all for the benefit of the industry.

    We are not talking about the agent down the road from you that puts a property up as sold for too long. We are talking about agents that consistently take 1000’s of properties off the portals and relist them to show they have X number of thousand new properties. Companies that sell a property below the asking price and then alter the asking price online to show they have achieved 100% of the price.

    If you are a law abiding agent (as most are) you should be horrified of this type of behavior. While you are running a legal and honest business others are profiting from illegal behavior.

    As for “They will only get a slap on the wrist” – yes that would be disappointing. But if it stops these companies doing this it gives a more level playing field to the honest agents. Surely that must be applauded?

    You may or may not like some of the regular posters here, but you cannot knock this selfless act they are doing on your behalf and for the industry. Please show them some respect and help back them even if you do not like the name they have given this activity.

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    1. mrharvey

      Welcome back, Smile. We’ve missed you.

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      1. PeeBee

        I’ll second that, mrharvey.

        The absence hasn’t adversely affected the content of SP’s posts.

        Proof that ‘less is more’, maybe?

         

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    2. Eamonn

      Smile

      1st Great comments

      2nd.  I would like to just say that when this story broke a few days ago, the lead story after taking 2 years the NTSEAT have looked at the matter.  My comment at the time was the name probably didn’t help.  That my opinion, but its not say that I never supported the issue.

      3rd I agree that the name isnt important but the reason for my cynicism is that don’t think any thing will ever be done. I have worn the t shirt.  Raised the issued with Rightmove, and Zoopla and reported offending agents several times,

      The biggest offender of this crime is “in my opinion”  Spicer Haart.  Dispite all my reports nothing has ever come of it.  I am under the impression that PIE columnist Mr Paul Smith runs this company.  Maybe PIE  would like to ask for his knowledge on this activity?  Hopefully he wil comment. lets hope its more than an investigation will be taken place.

      4th I have said before i’m dead against it.   For issues with a new build once I had to ask Rightmove how to relist a property and they happily provided me advise how to circumvent their system.  That was the final straw.

       

      So before i get slated for not being in the TRY camp.  remember, when you point a finger their is 3 pointing straight back at you.

       

      So in context.  Is juggling the wrong name.  RM seem to think so….Are agents against a level playing…NO.  But does it really require NTESAT to manage this..  Lets hope it does not open Pandora’s box.

       

       

       

       

       

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      1. PeeBee

        ‘I would like to just say that when this story broke a few days ago, the lead story after taking 2 years the NTSEAT have looked at the matter.  My comment at the time was the name probably didn’t help.’ 

        No it wasn’t.  Your actual words were

        “What a stupid a name……..  What wholly came up with Portal juggling? .”

        Just a tad different, wouldn’t you have to accept?

        ‘I agree that the name isnt important…’

        Is that right?  You’ve got a canny way of displaying that agreement:

        *  Repeat the above quote.

        *  “Naming the practise  “portal juggling” is, fairness, weak and benign.   No doubt thought up by someone who wanted to sound cleverer than they really are.”

        * “oh wait…………that’s [Rightmove] saying what a “stupid name” for practice of inaccurate listings…”

        For something so UNimportant seems to me like your fingers have been going at it on the keyboard like two dogs in heat.

         

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        1. Eamonn

          wow. What a HEADS GONE…..copying and pasting extracts with the aim of taking “comments” out of context.  What KIND OF COWARD does that?.

          I don’t understand why your upset with my point of view.   I think it’s a really stupid name that doesn’t give weight to the problem.  I have agreed the matter is an issue but  you have gone about it all wrong. By highlighting this issue to the NTSEAT you are forgetting the law of unforeseen circumstances.  You woody and Bobby are all heads gone.

          Finally I don’t watch Dog porn, shame on you.

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          1. PeeBee

            Oh, dear.

            If you don’t like it when people use your own words from one minute against what you spew out the next – then be consistent.  It makes YOUR life easier – fact being far easier to stick to than remembering to perpetuate fallacy.

            As far as “HEADS GONE” – I think we all know exactly who’s head that would be.

            I have also identified exactly where it has gone.

            Does it echo much when you rant to yourself that ‘they’re all picking on me…’??

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          2. PeeBee

            Oh – for what it’s worth I don’t give a fuppenny what you think of the word/phrase #portaljuggling.

            What I give an awful lot of a 5h!t about is your throwaway attitude to the issue in general… which speaks volumes – at least in my ‘gone’ head, that is.

            I’ll refrain from copying and pasting examples – it obviously upsets you to be handed your @r$e in a platter.

            Understandable – when it happens so often…

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          3. Mark Walker

            * you’re

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  6. Ryan Baker

    So what if a vendor or landlord wants to remove the listing and after a few days plans again to put it up ? Would that be considered as portal juggling aswel ? Estate agents who do it as a routine are a separate story , what about the one offs ??

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    1. Chri Wood

      Yes, they would be. The law applies equally to private sellers.

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    2. PeeBee

      ‘So what if a vendor or landlord wants to remove the listing and after a few days plans again to put it up ?’

      Why would they want to do that?  A few days?  You’ll find that is probably what certain Call-Centre Agents have referred to as a “marketing break”.  Plain and simply, a #portaljuggle (sorry, Eamonn – a “Deceitful Property Listing”) by any other name…

      ‘Estate agents who do it as a routine are a separate story , what about the one offs ??’

      Ever heard the saying “Many a mickle makes a muckle”?  It has been estimated (UNDERestimated, I would suggest) that around 10,000 “Listings” every year are bogus.  A few days ago one poster stated the obvious – that it would be lemon squeezy for any portal to build a widget into their programming that would identify any property that was being re-listed by the same Agent within a certain time period, and retro-date it to the last listing date.

      Rental properties are harder to ‘police’ – but not impossible by any stretch of the imagination.

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      1. Chri Wood

        “Rental properties are harder to ‘police’ – but not impossible by any stretch of the imagination.”

        Such a system has already been built and (along with some other clever software) is being demonstrated to a National consumer organisation at the end of the month.

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  7. PeeBee

    Following on from Chris Woods earlier comment –

    ‘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.’

    I would respectfully ask Rightmove to confirm exactly what were the findings of their investigations of this one supplied example.

    If it wasn’t a deliberate #portaljuggle – then what was it?

    What are we seeing that is so different from what you are?

    Exactly what is ‘acceptable’ to Rightmove – and has this “acceptability” been approved by relevant Advertising, Trading Standards bodies and meet current Legal standards?

    ‘cos I know exactly what the journalist was sent… and we’ve got several Gb of further examples from hundreds of Agents for them to “investigate” when they’ve got a minute.

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  8. Woodentop

    RightMove created the problem in the first place by adding the listing date!

     

    They and any other web portal should be held to account for aiding and abetting the wrong, which frankly RM have known about for years as have Z….. both looked the other way while they raked in the money. They instigated thier terms and conditions and use as it pleases themselves. Knowing that misleading advertising was happening does not allow them to say they are passive intermediary, therefore not accountable. They have a contract and receive fees based on terms and conditions with their customers, which includes protecting their customers who are disadvantaged by those that infringe and liable for not enforcing.

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    1. PeeBee

      I agree wholeheartedly, Woodentop.

      But I must warn you – you run the risk of ‘Chrispy’ calling you a numpty with the latter part of your post.

      I’m sure you won’t lose a single wink tonight…

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    2. Eamonn

      Dito

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  9. Robert May

    Who has briefed Mark Hayward and Katrina Sporle about portal juggling or are they  relying on  what they have read in the newspapers and they simply condemning a journalist’s interpretation of what of a media friendly ‘expert’ thinks is going on?

    There are 2 or 3 people who understand this in depth and detail and who have a very clear understanding of what is going on and why, I am 100% certain neither Sporle or Hayward has had an informed briefing about the 7 or 8 methods of gaming that Rightmove claim not to be able to detect or acknowledge.

     

     

     

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  10. Herb

    The trouble is RM and Zoopla put too much information on. Agents (who pay £1000s) do not want sold prices/dates on market/other adverts etc popping up left right and centre. If they did they would also put this info on their own websites and other adverts. RM do what they like and charge what they like and numpty agents keep paying them.

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    1. PeeBee

      To add slight balance, Herb – RM add less info than Z – and have done it for less time.

      It is simply annoying that they state that they have done it “to add to the user experience”.

      They forget that “the user” doesn’t pay their chuffing monthly subs!

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      1. Herb

        RM think the better the user experience the more they can substantiate their fee increases to their paying customers. And all the numpty agents not supporting OnTheMarket.com are fooled by this.

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