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Advertiser: North’s Property
Medium: Internet (Third Party Website)
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 3.10, 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10
The advertising on myhome.ie offered the following information on a property for sale in Sandymount.
“€495,000 … Lansdowne Village, Sandymount, Dublin 4.
3 Beds. Terraced House…”
Under the heading “Description” the following information was provided:
“…Originally a three bed property the vendor has tastefully reconfigured the first floor to incorporate two double bedrooms with ample storage and a family bathroom. The purchaser if they wish can easily revert to a three bedroom house…”
The complainant considered it to be misleading to advertise a house as a three bedroomed house if it only had two bedrooms.
The advertisers said they had been in business many years and would never intentionally misinform any of their potential customers. They confirmed that the property in question was built as a 3-bedroomed, terraced house. They said as detailed within the description of the property it was “originally a 3-bedroomed, the vendor has tastefully reconfigured the First Floor to incorporate 2-double bedrooms, with ample storage and family bathroom”. They said they had also stated that “the purchaser, if they wish, can easily revert to a 3-bedroomed house”. They said the reinstatement of the original stud wall would allow this to happen.
The advertisers said the key point which they wished to make was that this house was designed and built as a 3-bedroomed house in a development which has 2 and 3-bedroomed houses. It would have, in their view, been misleading to advertise it as a 2-bedroom house within the 2 bedroomed development as this was far smaller in size.
The advertisers said they considered that any prospective purchaser, or person, reading the advertisement in detail would understand that the property in question was a 3-bedroomed property which had been converted to 2 double bedrooms. They would also understand that the property could be reverted to the original 3-bedrooms if desired with a minimum amount of effort.
The Executive asked the advertisers if it was in common parlance that there would be an expectation by consumers for a property to be described as it currently is and not what it may be described as in the future. With this in mind, they asked the advertisers if it was not the case that when a property is described as being having 3 bedrooms that it would be normal for the prospective buyer to expect the 3 bedrooms to be in situ?
The advertisers did not respond further in the matter.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. They expressed their concern that the advertisers had failed to provide a response to the Executive’s further query in this case.
The Complaints Committee considered that as the house was configured as a two bedroom house at the time of the advertising, to describe it in the headline as ‘3 beds’ was inaccurate and likely to mislead.
The Committee concluded that the advertising was in breach of Sections 3.10, 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, and 4.10 of the Code.
The advertising should not be used again in its current format and care should be taken by the advertisers to ensure that the initial description of a property being advertised is not contradicted under the more detailed information provided under the property description information.