A new approach to handling complaints about ads for property raffles has been agreed by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT).
The ASA said it has seen a rise in complaints in this area and has received 90 complaints about property raffles since 2015. ‘Win a House’ prize draws or competitions are promotions in which promoters offer their house or property as a prize following the sale of tickets.
Following a number of investigations into these ads and in several cases, subsequent ad bans, any complaints of this kind will now be referred to the NTSELAT team for their consideration.
NTSELAT said running a property raffle could “ultimately be a legal issue” which falls under the Estate Agency Act 1979, so promoters have to follow certain rules including adhering to Anti Money Laundering Regulations and membership to an approved redress provider.
NTSELAT will also look into this issue when complaints are referred by the ASA, and act as referral point to direct complaints to the body best equipped to deal with them (for example, the Gambling Commission in the event of the raffle being an illegal lottery).
The new collaborative approach aims to provide “more certainty for consumers”, with promoters running house raffles facing the prospect of being subject to sanctions. The new process takes effect immediately.
Miles Lockwood, director of complaints and investigations at the ASA, said: “We’re pleased to have found a constructive new way to manage complaints in this area that helps bolster consumer protection.
“We’ve seen an increase in ads for property raffles and working with NTSELAT will help ensure that these promotions aren’t misleading.”
James Munro, senior manager at NTSELAT, added: “Raffles offering a property as a prize could violate the requirements of the Estate Agents Act 1979, as the promoter of the raffle could be classed as doing estate agency work.
“If this is the case, they will be required to comply with all the rules governing estate agents including declaring a personal interest and keeping appropriate records.”