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Haart Estate Agents rapped by Advertising Standards

Haart Estate Agents has been told to remove an advert by the Advertising Standards Authority after complaints that it caused “undue distress” to homeowners.

Haart sent out a direct mailing to homeowners with properties already on the market which appeared to be a hand-written note on a compliment slip and included a stamped addressed envelope.

The unsollicited note read “Re. Your home – Please call me as a matter of urgency quoting reference no. xxx, Regards Lesley Miller”.

It went on to say in the small print: “haart is a trading name of Spicerhaart Limited … If you have instructed another agent on a sole and/or selling rights basis, the terms of those instructions must be considered to avoid a possible liability to pay two commissions”.

The complainant objected that the ad caused undue distress and was misleading, because it did not make clear that it was marketing material – having called one of the numbers shown she realised that the estate agent was interested in selling her home.

The ASA upheld the complaint concluding that the mailing was “misleading and likely to cause distress”. The ASA says the handwritten appearance of the text was likely to give the impression that a note had been prepared specifically for the recipient.  

Because it was not clear that the mailing was a marketing communication, the ASA also considered the text ” … as a matter of urgency … ” would be likely to cause alarm.

Haart has been told that the mailing must not be used again in its current form and in future it must make sure all marketing material is clearly presented as such.

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Comments

There are 7 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. What else would you expect from this bunch of cprporate Colchester spivs—they wouldn’t know how to treat a customer properly as they’ve always treated their staff like shit!!

  2. Typical underhand tactics from one of the supposed ‘big’ estate agents…
    Why not just say “we want to sell your home”?

  3. Richard Brown, Managing Director, Moneynotion Limi 9th December 2009 at 12:08 pm

    If that was an IFA, Mortgage or Insurance Broker, the FSA would have had his ticket!

  4. Well they are still using it as Ive just had one addressed to my dead parents!!! Talk about upsetting, annoying its disgusting! How can they do this!????
    I would love to take it further but unsure how to! I have asked them 4 times to stop sending letters to my dead parents, its still happening!!! Help

  5. i copied this to her and HAART – if they think we would ever use them now being so underhand? How ridiculous to think. In this market when trying to sell the house, makes me mad. Are they desperate? I chose an estate agent through recommendations and word of mouth and this name NEVER once was mentioned. Now i know why.

  6. bigdickedestateagent 9th October 2010 at 1:08 am

    all you other agents are just pissed because it works and you didnt think of it get a life and do some work to get your houses sold rather than bitching about haart

  7. received same letter in post yesterday 6/12/2012, so nothing has changed.

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