Facebook trouble for Newland

Disagreement over terminology used in one of Olly Newland’s Facebook advertisements has led to an Advertising Standards Authority ruling against the veteran property commentator.

Thursday, August 27th 2015, 8:13PM

by Miriam Bell

Property commentator Olly Newland

Newland attracted the ire of the complainant after a Newland Burling and Co Ltd Facebook ad urging consumers to take advantage of a commercial property boom appeared in the complainant's newsfeed.

The ad featured comments like “Yields on commercial buildings are beginning to firm”, and “Commercial yields have already started to decline”.

It also included statements like “Declining yields will undoubtedly continue as more residential investors turn to commercial property”.

The complainant said the advertisement contained contradictory and misleading statements and statements that could not be substantiated.

He felt that these statements would exploit consumers’ lack of knowledge.

The Authority acknowledged Newland’s submission that the ad was not intended to be personal advice to anyone in particular.

Newland said it was “merely projections and opinions on the future of the commercial market as we see it”.

However, the Authority said the advertisement contained statements about the yield from commercial property that were contradictory and confusing.

It also said that other statements appeared as absolute fact rather than as Newland’s financial projections.

The Authority found that, given the high standard of social responsibility advertisements of this type were required to observe, the claims were absolute.

“And, as such, required substantiating or to be more clearly articulated as the Advertiser’s projections rather than facts.”

For this reason, the Authority upheld the complaint.

However, Newland told landlords.co.nz that he felt the issue came down to the complainant’s lack of understanding of the terminology used in property investing.

He said that where the ad said “Yields on commercial buildings are beginning to firm”, it meant soften or go down.

This meant it was not contradictory to then say that “Commercial yields have already started to decline”.

Newland said he would stick to his guns on what he meant in the ad.

“It is common parlance in property investment terms.

“But I should have written it in terms understandable for the general public, rather than for those knowledgeable about property investment.”

Facebook advised the Authority that it had investigated the matter and the ad did not violate its page terms.

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