10:20 AM, 24th February 2012, About 12 years ago
A property firm offering dream incomes of £250,000 in 25 weeks could offer no evidence the claims were true, according to the Advertising Standards Authority.
PropertyWikia was ordered not to run advertising again in the current form – and as a result the firm’s website has stopped taking applications for affiliate sellers.
The ASA banned the advert after investigating a complaint that a number of claims made to property affiliates by the firm were misleading. The firm was also ordered to keep evidence of any earnings claims made in advertising.
The complaint questioned whether the firm really offered income ‘guaranteed against failure’ with a chance to earn £250,000 in 25 weeks with ‘no selling; risk; experience; knowledge; special skills or referring required”.
Affiliates were offered £2,000 one-off sales commission for each property listed for sale on the PropertyWikia website and £100 for properties listed to rent – plus £100 compensation every week until the property was let or sold for a maximum 12 weeks.
PropertyWikia provided the ASA with the total number of properties under negotiation, under offer or were in the sales cycle from July to November 2011.
The first paid-up affiliate registration was on July 1, 2011, but no affiliate sales were made after that date the business had fewer than 800 affiliates.
None were £100 in compensation and said that no affiliates had been with them long enough to reach the 25-week earnings point.
PropertyWikia refunded £18,750 to affiliates who dropped out of the scheme.
The ASA noted no compensation or commission had been paid to affiliates – pointing out that the website terms detailed no money would be paid until £2,000 was earned.
“We asked for contact details of affiliates in order to establish whether they were owed commission or compensation, PropertyWikia did not supply us with any of their details,” said the ASA.
“PropertyWikia did not provide us with any information on the progress of any specific affiliates nor were they able to provide us with a better understanding of how the affiliate system worked.
“Because we had not seen adequate evidence to support the earnings claims on the PropertyWikia website, we concluded that they had not been substantiated and were misleading.”
The complaint was upheld on the grounds that the firm’s claims were misleading and exaggerated.