UK property portal Houser.co.uk, has been ordered by the Advertising Standards Authority to remove a listing which was already withdrawn from the market by its owner back in 2015.
A short time after its launch in 2014, Houser was in the news for the wrong reasons, the portal had been accused of automatically ‘scraping’ listings from individual agencies’ websites.
At the time, Houser claimed to be "property hunting reinvented" and that it intended to do for UK's real estate industry what Google had done for search, in other words, Houser's aspirations were to become the largest database of homes on sale of any portal.
However objections from some agencies, fueled by concerns that listing on Houser may contravene OnTheMarket’s One Other Portal rule, led to a large number of requests for properties to be removed from the site.
Now Houser is back in the spotlight as a result of the ASA ruling, regarding a four bedroom home in Lincolnshire, which was found listed on Houser in March of this year.
Newton Fallowell Estate and Letting agents listed the property originally, and it filed a complaint with the ASA, stating that the ad was misleading, since the property had been removed from the market already.
After an attempt by the ASA to contact Houser did not produce a response - failure to answer any enquiry by authorities in itself breaches an ASA code - the issue became compounded.
The authority’s statement therefore goes on to say: “We considered that consumers would have understood from the ad that the property was still on the market, as it was still on the website.
“We understood that it was, in fact, not and had not been for two years. The advertiser had not provided any evidence that it was and so we therefore concluded the ad was misleading.
“The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Houser Ltd to remove the property listing from their website, and to ensure that properties which were no longer on the market were removed from their listings.”
The above article was sourced in part from EstateAgentToday and can be read in its entirety here.