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Letting agency's advertisement banned over inaccuracies

Two complaints about an advertisement for a property have been upheld by a watchdog - which has now banned a letting agency from running the ad again.

In June this year Camborne Properties Ltd, trading as Harper Brooks, advertised on a website for the letting of flats at Grove House Manchester that: "Grove House Manchester ... 2 Bed - From £650 pcm ... Safety and Security ... Manned concierge desk ...".

A complainant contacted the Advertising Standards Authority challenging whether the following claims were misleading and could be substantiated:

"2 Bed - From £650 pcm", because no properties were available at that price; and

- "Manned concierge desk".

Camborne Properties Ltd trading as Harper Brooks acknowledged the complaint, but did not respond further to the ASA's enquiries.

The ASA, in a judgement released this morning, noted Camborne Properties had acknowledged the complaint “but we were concerned by their lack of any further response and apparent disregard for the [advertising] Code, which was a breach of CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 (Unreasonable delay).”

The statement goes on: “We reminded them of their responsibility to provide a substantive response to our enquiries and told them to do so in future. We considered that consumers would understand the claim ‘2 bed - From £650 pcm’ to mean that a selection of the two-bedroom apartments in the building would be available to rent at that price. 

“We also considered that the claim ‘Manned concierge desk’ gave the impression that service was available in the building. 

“However, we saw no evidence to support either claim. For that reason we considered that the claims ‘2 bed - From £650 pcm’ and ‘Manned concierge desk’ had not been substantiated and were therefore misleading.”

The ASA concluded that the ad must not appear again in its current form. 

“We told Camborne Properties Ltd to ensure that they held evidence to substantiate claims in their advertising. We referred the matter to CAP's Compliance team” says the authority.

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