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10. B. Advertising and Technology

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Blind Ad

An advertisement that disguises the advertiser’s identity, i.e., contains a phone number with no other identifying data. Licensed brokers should not use blind ads and must disclose agency.

Puffery

An exaggerated opinion, not necessarily based in fact, intended to portray the property in a more favorable light. Example: “This property is one of the best buys in the neighborhood. It is sure to go up in value”.

Fraud

Intentional deception or misrepresentation – a material misstatement of fact.

 
 
 

Truth in advertising

When consumers see or hear an advertisement, whether it’s on the Internet, radio or television, or anywhere else, federal law says that an ad must be truthful, not misleading, and, when appropriate, backed by scientific evidence.

 
 
 

The Federal Trade Commission

enforces these truth-in-advertising laws. It applies the same standards no matter where an ad appears – in newspapers and magazines, online, in the mail, or on billboards or buses.

 
 
 

Targeted advertising

is a form of advertising where online advertisers can use sophisticated methods to target the most receptive audiences with certain traits, based on the product or person the advertiser is promoting.

These traits can be demographic which are focused

  • on race
  • economic status
  • sex
  • age
  • the level of education
  • income level
  • employment
  • psychographic (a qualitative methodology used to describe consumers on psychological attributes)  

Attributes focused on the consumer’s values, personality, attitudes, opinions, lifestyles, and interests.

They can also be behavioral variables, such as browser history, purchase history, and other recent activity.

Targeted advertising focuses on specific traits, and the consumers who are likely to have a strong preference will receive the message instead of those who have no interest and whose preferences do not match a product’s attribute.

This eliminates wastage.

Information and communication technology (ICT) space has transformed over recent years, resulting in targeted advertising.

Through the emergence of new online channels, targeted advertising increases because companies aim to minimize wasted advertising using information technology.

 
 
 

FAIR HOUSING ADVERTISING

The provisions of the Fair Housing Act make it unlawful to discriminate in the sale, rental, and financing of housing, and in the provision of brokerage and appraisal services, because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. The Fair Housing Act, makes it unlawful to make, print, or publish, or cause to be made, printed, or published, any notice, statement, or advertisement, with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling, that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin, or an intention to make any such preference, limitation, or discrimination.

However, the prohibitions of the Act regarding familial status do not apply with respect to housing for older persons.

 
 
 

Definitions.

(a) Assistant Secretary means the Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.

(b) General Counsel means the General Counsel of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

(c) Dwelling means any building, structure, or portion thereof which is occupied as, or designed or intended for occupancy as, a residence by one or more families, and any vacant land which is offered for sale or lease for the construction or location thereon of any such building, structure, or portion thereof.

(d) Family includes a single individual.

(e) Person includes one or more individuals, corporations, partnerships, associations, labor organizations, legal representatives, mutual companies, joint-stock companies, trusts, unincorporated organizations, trustees, trustees in cases under Title 11 of the United States Code, receivers, and fiduciaries.

(f) To rent includes to lease, to sublease, to let and otherwise to grant for a consideration the right to occupy premises not owned by the occupant.

(g) Discriminatory housing practice means an act that is unlawful under section 804, 805, 806, or 818 of the Fair Housing Act.

(h) Handicap means, with respect to a person

(1) A physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of such person’s major life activities,

(2) A record of having such an impairment, or

(3) Being regarded as having such an impairment.

This term does not include current, illegal use of or addiction to a controlled substance.

For purposes of this part, an individual shall not be considered to have a handicap solely because that individual is a transvestite.

(i) Familial status means one or more individuals (who have not attained the age of 18 years) being domiciled with–

(1) A parent or another person having legal custody of such individual or individuals; or

(2) The designee of such parent or other person having such custody, with the written permission of such parent or other person.

The protections afforded against discrimination on the basis of familial status shall apply to any person who is pregnant or is in the process of securing legal custody of any individual who has not attained the age of 18 years.

 
 
 

Use of words, phrases, symbols, and visual aids.

The following words, phrases, symbols, and forms typify those most often used in residential real estate advertising to convey either overt or tacit discriminatory preferences or limitations. In considering a complaint under the Fair Housing Act, the Department will normally consider the use of these and comparable words, phrases, symbols, and forms to indicate a possible violation of the Act and to establish a need for further proceedings on the complaint, if it is apparent from the context of the usage that discrimination within the meaning of the Act is likely to result.

(a) Words descriptive of dwelling, landlord, and tenants.

White private home, Colored home, Jewish home, Hispanic residence, adult building.

(b) Words indicative of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin–

(1) Race–Negro, Black, Caucasian, Oriental, American Indian.

(2) Color–White, Black, Colored.

(3) Religion–Protestant, Christian, Catholic, Jew.

(4) National origin–Mexican American, Puerto Rican, Philippine, Polish, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Chicano, African, Hispanic, Chinese, Indian, Latino.

(5) Sex–the exclusive use of words in advertisements, including those involving the rental of separate units in a single or multi-family dwelling, stating or tending to imply that the housing being advertised is available to persons of only one sex and not the other, except where the sharing of living areas is involved. Nothing in this part restricts advertisements of dwellings used exclusively for dormitory facilities by educational institutions.

(6) Handicap–crippled, blind, deaf, mentally ill, retarded, impaired, handicapped, physically fit. Nothing in this part restricts the inclusion of information about the availability of accessible housing in advertising of dwellings.

(7) Familial status–adults, children, singles, mature persons. Nothing in this part restricts advertisements of dwellings which are intended and operated for occupancy by older persons and which constitute housing for older persons as defined in Part 100 of this title.

(8) Catch words–Words and phrases used in a discriminatory context should be avoided, e.g., restricted, exclusive, private, integrated, traditional, board approval or membership approval.

(c) Symbols or logotypes.

Symbols or logotypes which imply or suggest race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.

(d) Colloquialisms.

Words or phrases used regionally or locally which imply or suggest race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.

(e) Directions to real estate for sale or rent (use of maps or written instructions).

Directions can imply a discriminatory preference, limitation, or exclusion.

For example, references to real estate location made in terms of racial or national origin significant landmarks, such as an existing black development (signal to blacks) or an existing development known for its exclusion of minorities (signal to whites).

Specific directions which make reference to a racial or national origin significant area may indicate a preference. References to a synagogue, congregation or parish may also indicate a religious preference.

(f) Area (location) description.

Names of facilities which cater to a particular racial, national origin or religious group, such as country club or private school designations, or names of facilities which are used exclusively by one sex may indicate a preference.

 
 
 

Selective use of advertising media or content.

The selective use of advertising media or content when particular combinations thereof are used exclusively with respect to various housing developments or sites can lead to discriminatory results and may indicate a violation of the Fair Housing Act.

For example, the use of English language media alone or the exclusive use of media catering to the majority population in an area, when, in such area, there are also available non-English language or other minority media, may have discriminatory impact.

Similarly, the selective use of human models in advertisements may have discriminatory impact. The following are examples of the selective use of advertisements which may be discriminatory:

 
 
 

Selective geographic advertisements.

Such selective use may involve the strategic placement of billboards; brochure advertisements distributed within a limited geographic area by hand or in the mail; advertising in particular geographic coverage editions of major metropolitan newspapers or in newspapers of limited circulation which are mainly advertising vehicles for reaching a particular segment of the community; or displays or announcements available only in selected sales offices.

 
 
 

Use of Equal Housing Opportunity logotype, statement, or slogan.

All advertising of residential real estate for sale, rent, or financing should contain an equal housing opportunity logotype, statement, or slogan as a means of educating the home seeking public that the property is available to all persons regardless of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.

The choice of logotype, statement or slogan will depend on the type of media used (visual or auditory) and, in space advertising, on the size of the advertisement.

 
 
 

 Use of human models.

Human models in photographs, drawings, or other graphic techniques may not be used to indicate exclusiveness because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. If models are used in display advertising campaigns, the models should be clearly definable as reasonably representing majority and minority groups in the metropolitan area, both sexes, and, when appropriate, families with children. Models, if used, should portray persons in an equal social setting and indicate to the general public that the housing is open to all without regard to race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin, and is not for the exclusive use of one such group.

 
 
 

Use of technology

Traditional forms of advertising, including billboards, newspapers, magazines, and radio, are progressively becoming replaced by online advertisements.

 

IDX Technology

The technology used by real estate professionals to put the MLS on their website.

 
 
 

THE TELEPHONE CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT

The Do Not Call Registry

Congress directed the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) to prescribe rules prohibiting abusive and deceptive telemarketing acts or practices.

Since 2003, Americans have been able to opt out of receiving most telemarketing calls by putting their phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry, and millions of them have done so.

The Registry now has more than 221 million telephone numbers on it, giving these consumers a little more peace and quiet during their dinner hour.

Not only is the Do Not Call program wildly popular with consumers, but it also helps telemarketers operate more efficiently by screening out consumers who do not want to be contacted.

The Registry only contains phone numbers, no other personally identifiable information, and we do not keep a record of whether the numbers are land line or cell phones.

There are some exemptions to the Do Not Call rules.

Because of the limits to FTC’s authority, the Registry does not apply to political calls or calls from non-profits and charities (but the Registry does cover telemarketers calling on behalf of charities). Also, calls from legitimate “survey” organizations are not covered because they are not offering to sell anything to consumers.

Finally, calls are permitted from companies with which you have done or sought to do business. Specifically, a company can call you up to 18 months after you last did business with it.

ENFORCEMENT OF THE DO NOT CALL REGISTRY

The FTC takes aggressive legal action to make sure telemarketers abide by the Do Not Call Registry.

ROBOCALLS AND THE DO NOT CALL REGISTRY

The use of pre-recorded message telemarketing, where a sales pitch to a live consumer begins with or is made entirely by a pre-recorded message, violates the Amended TSR because the telemarketer is not connecting the call to a sales representative within two (2) seconds of the people completed greeting.

On September 1, 2009, new FTC rules went into effect prohibiting most prerecorded telemarketing calls, commonly known as robocalls, unless the telemarketer has the consumer’s prior written authorization to transmit such calls.