Online sites which continue the banned practice of portal juggling in the UK were given another stern warning as the industry’s leading body revised its Code of Practice, reports Estate Agent Today.
The Property Ombudsman scheme (TPO) announced it will issue updated versions of all its Codes of Practice on October 1, and these will address what TPO describes as “emerging industry issues”, including portal juggling.
Portal juggling is where agents mislead home buyers by removing and then re-listing existing properties to boost them to the top of search feeds to give the impression it is a new listing and also hide a discounted price.
In August portal juggling was banned in the UK by industry regulator the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team, and perpetrators were warned they could be prosecuted and banished from the industry.
“Our Codes already state that all advertisements must be legal, decent, honest and truthful, but now go one step further to clarify that ‘portal juggling’, in its various forms, is misleading to consumers,” said Gerry Fitzjohn, chairman of the TPO Board.
“Evidence of member agents found to be carrying out such poor practice could be reported to the Disciplinary and Standard’s Committee (DSC), NTSEAT and/or local Trading Standards.”