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ASA slaps Spicerhaart with third ad ban

Spicerhaart is in the line of fire with the Advertising Standards Authority for the third time in seven months over its regional press advertising.

A complaint filed by rival firm Kelvin Francis Estate Agents challenged whether a five-page advert by Spicerhaart-owned Darlow Estate Agents in Cardiff misleadingly implied that Darlows had offices in each of the 13 areas listed, and asserted that its claim that it had sold the most properties this year, based on data sourced from Vizzihome, was misleading.

In its defence, Spicerhaart claims that the advert referred only to coverage, not offices, adding that Darlows had local expertise and offered services in each of the areas listed. It adds that it believes the data they cited fully supports the claim, and that there was no inconsistency between the headline statement and the explanatory wording.

However, the ASA has upheld the complaint on the grounds that it believes the advert gives a misleading impression about the number and location of the physical premises managed by Darlows, thus breaching clauses 3.1 (Substantiation) and 7.1 (Truthfulness) of the Committee of Advertising Practice code. It also concludes that no responsibility for accuracy was taken by the source company, Vizzihome.

Spicerhaart is banned from future use of the advert.

Kevin Hollinrake, managing director of Hunters, which owns Vizzihome, says: "We won’t support such claims. Our certificates are specifically worded to discourage agents from making testaments they can’t support.

"If an agent chooses to use their own wording in their advertising, there’s nothing we can do about it."

The ASA most recently banned Haart from using the regional press advert headlined "Lettings at haart ... the nation's local agent. Proud to be the No. 1 agent in Cambridge. Cambridge's haart". It follows a complaint it received, which challenged whether the claim "No 1 agent in Cambridge" was misleading and whether or not it could be substantiated.

The ASA upheld the complaint under the aforementioned clauses relating to Darlows.

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