North East firm Signature by Mark Small is asked to change marketing copy on its website to clarify its differing types of service.

When is a branch not a branch? That is a question asked by a member of the public who complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about a North East upmarket estate agency.

On its website agency Signature by Mark Small has previously suggested that the 15 telephone numbers for locations all around the North East were branches, but in reality several are local consultants working from home.

“If you don’t want to visit us in branch, we are ready to speak with you at the end of the phone, so you can always benefit from a personalised, high quality service,” its website used to say.

Following the complaint, which claimed that the website copy was misleading, and a call from the ASA, the agency has now agreed to amend its claim to clarify the two types of service available.

For example, it has a substantial branch in Whitley Bay (pictured) but its listed phone number for the village of Cramlington does not have a high street address.

The same complainant also said the agency’s claim to be the “the No. 1 Estate Agent at the Coast. 1st out of 653 North East Estate Agent Offices” was also misleading.

Signature’s website has now been changed to say: “Officially Awarded The Number 1 Estate Agent in the North East & 2nd in the UK for 5 star recommendations from customers for both Sales & Lettings”, based on its allAgents listing.

Developer Taylor Wimpey Plc has also been asked to remove or alter online claims by the ASA.

A complainant reported it to the watchdog for a Facebook posted by the company that claimed one of its developments in central London was a 16-minute walk from Waterloo Station, which the claimed was misleading. Taylor Wimpey has removed the claim.

Receive all of our latest news and info straight to your inbox!