May 2, 2023 at 12:46 pm #1761Stephen George FISVAParticipant
I typed the name of my own business ‘George Surveys Ltd’ into google on my android phone recently and was horrified to see a ‘sponsored’ ad by Houzecheck at the top of the resulting page with our business name in bold promising surveys in 24 hrs which, when you clicked our business name, took you into their website for a quote from them. I have been in touch with Houzecheck via a director (who is standing to become a member of RICS Governing Council by alarming coincidence) and they have stopped this practice now following my intervention. I also raised a complaint to Google but have heard nothing whatsoever and I have alerted RICS regulation as the practice is totally unethical and probably illegal. However, I have no idea how long Houzecheck was ripping off our name to divert enquiries to them. I fully expect that many ISVA member firms have been ripped off by Houzecheck (which claims to have over 150 ‘surveyors’) in exactly the same way. I would urge members, especially firms which have the word ‘survey’ or ‘surveyor’ and plurals thereof in their business name to search their own business name in various search engines and on different operating systems. If an ad for Houzecheck comes up the chances are that business will have been ripped off in the same way as ours has been. It would be helpful if we could collate a list of firms likely to have been so affected to update RICS regulation with, as I think the investigation could have far reaching consequences for Houzecheck.May 23, 2023 at 1:33 pm #1785Ian Vicary FISVAParticipant
Stephen – thanks for alerting us to this shocking practice. I do hope to hear that those accountable are reprimanded.May 24, 2023 at 5:37 am #1786Alan McNaughton FISVAParticipant
RICS Firms does something similar and prostitutes national firms with supposedly local representation. A colleague has registered a job with several firms for a genuine job (he was conflicted) but they struggle to offer a service in his area. The thrust was for a RICS Registered Valuer but they could only offer AssocRICS despite advertising otherwise.
Member lead complaints to RICS to clear up this mess is required.
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