Advertising - False Misleading

Purpose:  To explain false and misleading advertising.

This bulletin applies to all real estate and mortgage broker professionals.

Industry professionals must avoid misrepresentations or conduct that is reckless or intentional and that misleads or deceives any person. This includes advertising.

Advertising includes any activity, public notice or representation an industry member professional makes or that someone makes on behalf of an industry professional that promotes an industry professional or their services. This includes real estate trades, mortgage deals, property management services, and real estate appraisal services. Advertising includes print, radio, television, electronic, or publication on the Internet.

Advertisements must not be false, inaccurate, capable of misleading the recipient or intended recipient, in bad taste or offensive, harmful to the best interests of the public or industry, or prohibited by law.

Advertising includes all promotional events, printed material, circulars, pamphlets, billboards, signs, business cards, letterheads, bench signs, fax cover sheets and other similar materials.

To determine if advertising is misleading, the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) considers the literal meaning of the advertisement and the general impression it creates.

Inadvertence, negligence, incompetence and recklessness can result in misleading advertising, as can intentional misrepresentations (intentionally untrue statements).

Industry professionals who make performance representations or claims must be able to demonstrate that the basis for their representations are adequate.

When brokers, associate brokers and associates advertise, it is always on behalf of their brokerage. Brokers are responsible for all associate and associate broker advertising, and should have policies and procedures for the submission and review of advertisements, including websites. Brokers should review advertisements to see if they’re misleading, and to ensure the associate isn’t making any claims or incentive offers that aren’t being offered by the brokerage.

Industry professionals also need to consider the following when developing advertisements:


Indirect endorsements

Restrictions or conditions apply references

Use of industry terms not readily understood by consumers

Comparisons to other industry members

Use of terms implying special qualifications or expertise

Bait and switch tactics

Internet advertising

Examples of misleading advertising that applies to all industry professionals

Misleading real estate advertising may include

Misleading property management advertising may include

Misleading mortgage brokerage advertising may include

Related information

Information Bulletins