Property sourcing businesses offering quick sale discounts may be operating as estate agents, according to a ruling by advertising watchdogs.
We Buy Any House, a trading name of Eclectic Financial Solutions Ltd, of Northwich, Cheshire, was ordered to stop advertising that the company bought homes when details of properties for sale were provided to a pool of investors who made the purchases.
The Advertising Standards Authority ruled the property sourcing company’s advertising was misleading after investigating a complaint about claims on a web site.
Online, the web site stated: “Economic or time constraints can often lead homeowners to seek out companies that buy houses for cash. We Buy Any House should not be compared with an estate agent because we buy properties direct from the seller, so avoiding expensive estate agency fees. We offer a free service and legal representation.
“The offer we present is the amount you will receive on completion without deductions. We will typically pay up to 90% of the market value for a house, depending on the property type, its condition and location”.
The property sourcing company told the ASA that they were not an estate agent because the speed and costs involved in a house sale made the transaction cheaper and quicker to complete.
However, the property sourcing company admitted investors might want to view a property before making an offer.
In upholding the complaint, the ASA pointed out that the web site made several claims like:
- “Our team of experts can help with empty property financial difficulties or money problems repossession downsizing relationship breakdown long term health conditions tenanted property probate cases”
- “We guarantee to help find the right solution and if the right solution is a quick house sale, we will make the sale as easy and stress free as it can be”
- “We buy any house in any condition throughout the UK … We buy houses no matter what the reason for a sale and speed up the process to allow our customers to take control and move on with their own lives. We guarantee a smooth and trouble-free quick property sale”
- “If you are one of the many people we deal with who require a quick house sale then rest assured we can offer you this facility”
- “You can even choose the date you wish to vacate the property and we will work around that”
- “We buy any house fast for cash”
- “Hassle free house sale in 3 simple steps – 1 Get a no obligation cash offer for your home now! 2 Say ‘Yes’ and we will visit your property and finalise the sale 3 The cash is in your bank account in typically 28 days or less!”
The ASA said: “We Buy Any House told us that they did not generally buy homes directly from consumers, so we concluded the ad was misleading.
“We considered the overall impression of the ad, in conjunction with the company name, We Buy Any House, suggested elements of the traditional estate agency process, such as the property being advertised or viewings from potential buyers, would not be necessary before the purchase was complete, because the advertiser would purchase property directly from consumers who desired a fast and convenient sale.”