Marketing homes as POA? It’s time to rethink.
The use of the term ‘POA’ or ‘price on application’ on property listings has been deemed unlawful by NTSELAT, as it contravenes consumer protection legislation.
The Consumer Protection Regulations (CPRs) have been highly discussed this year, with the launch of NTSELAT’s three-phase project defining what constitutes material information for property listings. ‘Material information’ means the information which the average consumer needs, according to the context, to take an informed transactional decision.
The regulations state that material information must not be omitted, hidden, or in a manner which is unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous, or untimely.
The property’s price is information which the average consumer needs in order to make an informed transactional decision, such as to make enquiries about the property, conduct further research or arrange a viewing.
The POA strategy clearly omits the information as a strategic marketing ploy to entice potential buyers to the property. The term has been described as ‘low ball technique’ on Wikipedia due to an assumption that the potential buyer is less likely to go elsewhere once the initial enquiry has been made and that they will have more of a chance to pitch the property to the potential buyer when they enquire. The omission also gives the agent the opportunity to customise the price based on the potential buyer’s budget and how keen they are on the property.
Senior Manager of the NTS Estate and Letting Agency Team, James Munro, said:
“I am pleased to be able to provide a clear position that the use of ‘POA’ or ‘price on application’ in property listings is unlawful. I am grateful to colleagues, the CMA and legal experts** for their input and we hope this clarity will be helpful for property portals and agents as they prepare their listings. This position will form part of our general industry advice and guidance moving forward.”
An overview of the broader programme of work by NTSELAT, in partnership with industry, to define what constitutes material information for property listings can be found here.
Our whitepaper Estate agents and the rise of upfront information provides more details on the project if you would like to know more.
**As well as NTS’ legal team, advice was received from barrister Lee Reynolds in December 2020