Here at Hatched we’re calling for all online estate agents to take heed of the Committee of Advertising Practice’s (CAP) guidance to include VAT in advertised rates.
A letter penned by our founder, Adam Day in April to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) highlighted the issue and those flouting the ruling. In response, the ASA has informed us that the Compliance team are investigating the matter.
Adam comments, “We’ve included VAT in our prices for over 18 months now, ahead of any rulings being passed. We did this in order to be completely transparent and fair to our customers. After all, they can’t claim the VAT back, so the price they see, is the price they should pay. Those agents deciding not to include VAT within their prices are doing a disservice to potential customers by misleading them with a more attractive headline price, only for the customer to be hit with another £100 or so charge when they get to the checkout.”
“When I started Hatched, it was always my intention to create a new type of estate agency that was as transparent as possible. I know that my peers within the sector are also striving for complete transparency, coupled with the ultimate customer experience, but I’m afraid they are letting the customer down on this. If ‘online estate agents’ as a sector, wish to change estate agency for the better, then we all need to be raising the bar, and this includes when quoting transparent fees inclusive of VAT. It’s a shame that I’ve had to involve the ASA, as I thought, having made the first move 18 months ago, others would follow, but it’s gone on long enough now and something has to be done. I welcome the ASA’s investigation and look forward to swift changes being made to agents’ websites over the next days and weeks.”