ASA Adjudication on Andrea’s Lettings
2 Nant Hall Road
11 July 2012
Internet (on own site)
Number of complaints:
Claims on www.andreaslettings.co.uk stated "Andrea's Lettings is Prestatyn's only dedicated lettings agency. With no sales distractions, Andrea Myatt Tomlin and her team can offer you truly focused attention to your requirements for your property".
Beresford Adams Lettings challenged whether the claim was misleading and denigratory, because they maintained they were also a dedicated lettings agency.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
Andrea's Lettings said they were solely a lettings agency and only did lettings. They believed they were currently Prestatyn's only dedicated lettings agency, but would amend their advertising if they believed another dedicated lettings agency were to open in that area. They did not believe that Beresford Adams could claim to be a dedicated lettings agency because it did sales and lettings. They understood that some of the staff at Beresford Adams only worked in lettings, but did not think that the claim was acceptable on that basis. They said an analogy would be Boots claiming to be a dedicated make-up retailer or Marks and Spencers claiming to be a dedicated shoe retailer and the advertisers did not believe those companies would make such a claim.
They provided photographs of the shop fronts for Andrea's Lettings and Beresford Adams in Prestatyn, which showed that Beresford Adams was one building. They said the complainants were called 'Beresford Adams Estate Agents' and said that their website stated "Established in 1889, Beresford Adams have a large branch network of 20 computer linked offices throughout Cheshire and North Wales" and provided a list of search results for Beresford Adams which they said predominately referred to sales, and did not mention 'lettings' or 'rent' as frequently.
The ASA understood that the complainants, Beresford Adams Lettings, were part of the Countrywide group, which also owned estate agents. We noted that the staff at Beresford Adams Lettings shared an office with Beresford Adams Sales, but that they also maintained they were run as a completely separate entity and that the staff in the Prestatyn branch of Beresford Adams Lettings dealt solely with the rental of properties and did not deal with any business concerning the sale of houses. We understood that the complainants believed they were also a dedicated letting agent based in Prestatyn on that basis.
We noted that the ad stated "Andrea's Lettings is Prestatyn's only dedicated lettings agency. With no sales distractions" and considered that consumers would understand from the claim that Andrea's Lettings offered lettings only and did not act as an estate agency, selling properties. We considered that it was clear from the claim that the advertisers were differentiating themselves from other businesses on that basis.
We noted that the renting and sales services of Beresford Adams used the same website and that both aspects of the Beresford Adams business in Prestatyn shared the same premises, which had a shared entrance. Although we understood that, within the Beresford Adams business, there were separate teams which dealt with lettings and sales, because those teams were part of the same company and shared premises, we considered that consumers would not consider that Beresford Adams were solely a lettings business.
Because we considered that the claim "Andrea's Lettings is Prestatyn's only dedicated lettings agency. With no sales distractions" made clear that the advertisers did not offer any sales and only offered lettings, and because we considered that consumers would not view Beresford Adams' lettings team as a "dedicated lettings agency", in light of their proximity to and association with the sales part of the business, we concluded that the ad was unlikely to mislead and that it was not denigratory.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation) and 3.33 (Comparisons with Identifiable Competitors), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.