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Realestate.co.nz lays complaint against Trade Me Property (ads)

The head of property website Realestate.co.nz has launched a stinging attack on Trade Me Property’s new ad campaign, labeling it “misleading.”

Realestate.co.nz chairman Fairfax Moresby says his company will file a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority over the online website’s advertising today.

Trade Me’s recent TV ad has claimed it is the “#1 source of property buyers” – according to a survey of recent house buyers.

Mr Moresby says realestate.co.nz is also complaining about other print and email advertising Trade Me has used, saying it misleads consumers.

He says the statistics being used are "ridiculous" and Trade Me is making an assumption about web browsers as opposed to potential buyers.

Mr Moresby says Trade Me is throwing up statistics that do not reflect the true ratio of buyers and sellers.

“I suspect it is doing this because of its concerns of market share but it should be done on a statistical basis as opposed to one which is misrepresentative,” he says.

He adds there is a misnomer web browser figures indicate market share in the industry.

Trade Me chief executive Jon Macdonald says the online marketplace frequently has discussions with its rival over claims in the advertising but is unaware of a formal complaint with the ASA. 

"In general we work hard to ensure everything we say to be accurate and the truth so I would be surprised if there was a problem," he says.

Mr Moresby says the complaint is not trying to prevent Trade Me from having access to the marketplace.

“We are clearly a site with serious buyers and sellers, not a social media site.”

He dismisses rumours major agencies are about to walk away from Trade Me due to its recent price hike.

He says they are "isolated" agents and, while people think there is  a wider industry strategy, there is not.

Realestate.co.nz is half owned by real estate agent body REINZ and half owned by Property Page, which is made up of five shareholders; LJ Hooker, Harcourts, Barfoot & Thompson, Ray White and Bayleys.

vyoung@nbr.co.nz

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