Director of Consumer Affairs (Misleading Advertising) Regs

Hi All,

I look with frustration each week at the “results” pages in the property sections. The term “in the region of” is open to complete abuse by the EA’s, and in my opinion it is misleading advertising.

The EU (Misleading Advertising) Regulations 1988 defines a misleading advert by reason of its deceptive nature, it is likely to affect a consumers economic behaviour.

So how does this apply to house prices currently?
An EA says a house sells in the region of €500K. So if in the region is not defined in the tables published, so potentially that house could have sold for 10% below that published figure. The published figure influences a consumer to bid the same or slightly lower, and their the publication of these figures have influenced the economic behaviour of the consumer, and as such is a misleading advertisment.
The EA might try and get out of their obligation as they only supply information to the newspapers who publish it, but clearly it is an advertisement to highlight the current value of the product the EA is selling, which directly affects their commision.
They will also argue that vendor/ buyer might not want exact figure published, in this case they should not publish an unreliable figure.

The Director of COnsumer Affairs regulates this area. It does not have to be proved that an actual loss occurred to a consumer, but that the advertising is misleading.

I would love to raise this with Director of COnsumer Affairs, but cannot due to my job at present. Perhaps someone could raise this issue with the Director and see can we get more accurate figures published, or at least stop inaccurate data been published.

Finally I know the government should be publishing accurate sales figures, and I would love if a Minister would get off their ass, and put a sales price recording system in place.
I would be interested to see what hte Revenue Commisioners would think of levying stamp duty based on the figures published in these results pages. I am sure their tax take would rise.

Write a letter for people to use as a template. Then if people want, they can send it. The more the merrier.

I initially had my doubts about such text in a newspaper being considered an “advertisement” in the sense covered by the regulations, but the (admittedly brief) synopsis on citizensinformation.ie indicates I could be wrong.

A bigger obstacle may be that while the “advertisement” may influence a potential purchaser’s behaviour, potential purchasers of the house are not going to be consumers of the EA’s service - potential sellers are.

May I suggest that a complaint to the Director might be more effective if it was from the perspective of a seller? i.e. a seller could be misleadingly induced to go to a particular EA on the basis of the apparently impressive price obtained on a house.