Print This Post
Product: Property (Accommodation Agencies)
Advertiser: Sherry Fitzgerald Galway
Medium: Online (3rd party)
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10
An advertisement for a Sherry Fitzgerald property showed a number of photographs of the property.
The complainant considered estate agents have been using photo stretching software in the advertising of rental properties and now few are actually genuine. They said the software was used exclusively to manipulate the photographs to make rooms appear more spacious to the customer using their site or a third party's site. They said this amounted to intentional false representation of the product to make it appear better than it actually was.
The advertisers noted that while the complaint received referred to estate agents as an industry, they could only respond to the claim made as it related to Sherry FitzGerald, and they could not speak for any other estate agent.
They stated that they are a licensed estate agent, regulated by the Property Services Regulatory Authority for the purposes of providing property services to their clients, sellers, and landlords. They said they are legally required to abide to professional standards and to act in an ethical manner at all times.
They said they advertise all properties in a standard format and manner, one which is consistent with the media type, format and content used by licensed estate agents operating in Ireland and industry best practice. They said they had correctly advertised the property with images taken using a wide-angle lens. They said 8 separate images of the room included in the complaint were provided to all parties viewing the property details on the internet. These images showed the room from every angle. They said all interested parties were welcome, and encouraged, to either view a property themselves, or to have a party view on their behalf, prior to commencing with any tenancy.
They said they categorically deny that they use “stretching software” in any marketing material, including internet and property brochures. They said they sought and received confirmation from their website developers and their account managers in both Daft.ie and Myhome.ie, regarding the complainant's assertion of widespread use of stretching software when they advertise properties. They said each have confirmed that no such software was used or applied to any images Sherry FitzGerald use in property advertising.
They said they published multiple images of the same room, from a variety of angles to give the viewer the best overall view of the property to let. In this instance there were a total of 30 images uploaded to the property portals, 8 of those showing the room included in the complaint all from different angles. They said attachment 1is a screen grab of their property system showing all the images as they were uploaded to their property system.
They said the property is no longer available to view on the internet, but they provided all the images published which they downloaded directly from their property system. They said each of these images were visible to all parties viewing the property images over the internet.
They said property images are taken using a wide-angle lens, which is standard practice for estate agents across the world. They said Sherry FitzGerald Lettings office in Galway use the Lumix DC Vario 1:2.8-5.9/3.58-215 ASPHor an I-phone 11 camera for all property photography.
They said Licenced staff must have either completed a formal college education in property studies or have been grandfathered (pre-2015) into property based on their years of experience and each staff member is aware of, and trained in, the ethical and professional standards required in the use of photography when advertising a property for sale or to let.
The ASAI Executive noted that the photographs sent appeared to be proportionate and while taken by a wide-angle lens there was no evidence that they were stretched.
Complaint Not Upheld.
The Complaints Committee considered the details of the complaint and the response received. They acknowledged that the advertisers were responding in relation to their advertisement and not for the industry as a whole. They noted that the format used by the advertiser was industry practice used by licensed estate agents operating in Ireland.
The Committee noted that the photographs of the property were proportionate and that there was no evidence that they had been stretched. In the circumstances they did not consider that there was a breach of the Code on the basis suggested in the complaint.
No further action required.