Rightmove is now allowing both sales and lettings agents to show fees.
The move follows new advice from the Committee of Advertising Practice.
A recent case involving a local newspaper and some agents in Fleet, Hampshire, was investigated by the Competition and Markets Authority, which found collusion to stop estate agents advertising their fees. The effective outcome was that agents should not be stopped from advertising their charges.
A spokesperson for Rightmove told EYE yesterday: “We have a set of advertising content guidelines in place to reflect industry and advertising regulations, and to ensure that Rightmove users are seeing the most accurate and useful information to help inform their property decisions.
“Recent enforcement action and guidance from the Competition and Markets Authority have led to changes to the CAP Code and TPO Code of Practice. As a result of this guidance and changes we needed to update our guidelines to allow agents to advertise seller and landlord fees on banner adverts if they wish to do so. Agents who choose to do so must ensure that they adhere to advertising regulations.
“The CAP Code and TPO Code of Practice requires that quoted prices include non-optional taxes, duties, fees and charges that apply to all or most sellers, buyers, landlords and tenants. Where a fee is expressed as a percentage or as a flat rate, the fee should be advertised inclusive of VAT. Agents cannot reference specific third parties and they cannot say anything that denigrates their competitors.
“Agents should refer to the Rightmove advertising content guidelines and technical guidelines for further information and if they are in any doubt they can speak to their account manager for guidance.”
EYE has asked Zoopla and OnTheMarket whether they are making similar provision.
Meanwhile, CAP has this week updated its advice on letting agent fees, which says: “If you’re advertising on a property portal like Rightmove and Zoopla, CAP considers that it is currently acceptable for a “fees apply” pop-up to be included beside the monthly rental price, in which all applicable fee information can be found. There’s plenty of space so ensure you include all fees which fall under rules 3.18 and 3.19. Property portals are used by a huge number of agents, many of whom use different names for fees. The Compliance team considers that consumers are likely to be able to compare fees more easily between agents if they are consistently presented in a simple format and included in a “fees apply” pop-up box.”
The updated advice can be found here