ASA to force estate agents to clean up act over 'hidden' fees

Property: ASA forces estate agents to clean up
Property: ASA forces estate agents to clean up

The Advertising Standards Authority is making a stand against estate agents and property websites with a ruling that will force full disclosure of previously hidden fees.

Estate agencies will no longer be able to omit details about compulsory fees from advertising after a test case against estate agent, which ran an ad on property website

The offending ad drew a complaint after not including details of an administration fee in the quoted price, a practice that will no longer be allowed after the ASA ruled the practice violated advertising rules.

Guy Parker, chief executive of the ASA, said: "Hidden fees are not only unfair, they hit those who are struggling hardest. 

"Our ruling today makes clear that letting agents need to get their houses in order and treat potential tenants fairly." 

The ASA claims the ruling will protect those new to the rental market and unused to some of the practices used by estate agents to hide fees.

In the future, if compulsory fees can not be calculated in advance, the agent must make it clear in the ad that these fees have been excluded and provide additional information to help people "establish how fees are calculated".

In a further warning shot, Parker says the ASA has made it a "priority" to make sure estate agents "bring their advertising into line". initially attempted to defend the ad that sparked the ire of the ASA by claiming the ad was "in line" with market practice and added that no agent listing properties on Rightmove disclosed admin fees within the listings themselves.

It also claimed the administration fee was information that did not need to be known when people were arranging viewings on and added details of admin charges were covered on its website and from the branch on request.

However, the ASA opted to take action and ban the ad after ruling that arranging a viewing in itself was a transactional decision and likely to be affected by the cost of an administration fee.

As a result, the ASA stated the ad breached the CAP Code because it did not clearly indicate the administration fee was not included in the quoted price.


Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now


Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message