EYE NEWSFLASH: Purplebricks in Canada offered staff paid days off in return for fake five-star reviews

Purplebricks in the UK has declined to comment on a report that in Canada, employees were offered paid days off in return for made-up five-star reviews on Facebook and Google.

In Canada, Purplebricks has emphasised that it was an isolated and misguided initiative, which was a one-off last March.

According to Forbes the 200-strong staff in Canada were sent an email by the marketing department, in which they were told to ask their family and friends to leave glowing online reviews, “whether or not” they were Purplebricks customers.

The email said: “No need to fabricate stories, just an ‘I think Purplebricks is great,’ or ‘Purplebricks is the future of real estate’ would be fantastic!'”.

The employees then had to take screenshots of the reviews they “helped generate” as proof and send them back to the company’s marketing department.

“The staff member who accumulates the most reviews from family and friends will win a PAID DAY OFF!,” the email said.

The marketing department however discouraged staff from posting reviews themselves, as fake reviews “could get us into hot water!”

The email explained that when real estate broker platform ComFree was acquired by Purplebricks, in 2018, they “weren’t able to bring our stellar Facebook and Google reviews with us”.

A former employee told Forbes:  “When I received the email I was disgusted that Purplebricks thought it necessary to cheat to get reviews. They asked us to get friends and family, who had never used the service, to post 5-star reviews online, focusing on Google and Facebook, and I was even more disgusted to find that so many of my colleagues went along with it. It’s deceiving to the public.”

Purplebricks Canada said in a statement: “[This] was an isolated and misguided initiative.

“It followed the name change from Comfree to Purplebricks and the refusal of Google and Facebook to transfer the reviews that were already on their sites; it will never happen again.”

“Purplebricks Canada recognises that it’s vital for all reviews to be genuine and authentic—and we work hard to earn positive feedback from our customers through our expertise and great service.”

A spokesperson for the company told Forbes that the email was “a complete one-off” and “an error of judgement.”

“We only offered this incentive once, in March 2019, and it generated only a handful of reviews,” the spokesperson added.

In the UK, Purplebricks this morning did not wish to comment.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/emanuelemidolo/2020/01/22/purplebricks-canada-offered-employees-days-off-for-made-up-5-star-reviews/

 

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26 Comments

  1. PeeBee

    Looking forward to a UK-based whistleblower making the above “shock:horror” announcement look like a damp squib going off in a soundproof booth seventy-two miles underground…

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    1. GPL

       

       

      So, you’ll agree PeeBee….

       

      Team GB is being sponsored by a company that has just admitted to cheating? ……by encouraging/posting Fake Reviews in Canada.

       

      It’s a pretty shameful admission from Purplebricks ……admitting to cheating!

       

      One wonders ……..where does the cheating stop with Purplebricks.

       

      Perhaps Team GB should release a statement confirming that they “condone cheating”, and they wish to distance themselves from any Sponsor who encouraged/committed/confirmed that they engaged in cheating.

       

      Purpleshabby!

       

       

       

       

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  2. AgencyInsider

    ‘Purplebricks Canada were wonderful. When we needed a quiet place in a hurry they really went out of their way to help us’.

    M. Markle and H. Windsor.

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    1. Property Pundit

      Post of the day already!

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    2. Hillofwad71

      Post of the year!  Brilliant

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    3. JVSOZ

      OMG That’s a good one!!!!

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    4. brokerofexcellence

      Utterly outstanding!!!!!

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    5. seenitall

      its true is it not?…………

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  3. smile please

    Nothing we did not already know but it’s good this is being verified and available in the public domain.

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  4. AssumedIdentity

    Great, another dodgy estate agency perpetuating the already low opinion of our industry!

    We know in the industry that good agency requires personable and genuine dedication. The service cant be automated, as much as the online companies try to think it can be. For some it may work, but a good service largely requires hard work from an office based person. Yes, you will have to pay for this service over the low fixed fees, but its like everything in life. You get what you pay for!

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    1. Malcolm Egerton

      Interesting to see just how few estate agents are obeying the law regarding reviews. How many even know it is illegal to selectively invite customers to post reviews (anywhere)?

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  5. J1

    Dear Purplebricks

    Thank you so much for taking my money and not selling my house!

    Ps this is not a fake review………..

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  6. Knowitall

    I can assure you PB UK often ran competitions for reviews. I remember an LPE giving out £10 gift cards for people leaving a review. think he got something like 140 reviews in a month!

     

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    1. Malcolm Egerton

      Any other agencies doing similar?

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    2. Annabella

      Bribing people to leave reviews in this way is shocking. The aim is clearly to mislead the public, lure them into signing up and paying the upfront fees..which are then not refunded, if the property doesn’t sell.
      So tricking customers, conning HMRC over their ‘self employed’ LPEs..and the list goes on..This downright murky, untrustworthy practice doesn’t really fit with sponsorship of the Olympics!

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  7. GPL

    Hung

     

    Drawn

     

    Quartered

     

    Purplebricks SHAM!

     

     

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  8. Malcolm Egerton

    How about a UK whistleblower letting us know what PB is up to with Trustpilot and Feefo (and Google)?

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    1. DerekSharpham

      This is from my source (Exe LPE)

      LPEs are specifically asked to get Trustpilots on the day a property goes live (of course they’re happy on that day).

      No LPE dare ask for a review on sale, or afterwards because it turns into a world of pain for the would-be seller.

      A negative review is taken off (to be verified) and then put on after two or three pages of ‘positive reviews’ have been posted – thus buried.

      It’s farcical

       

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  9. alex7675

    It just shows people how desperate PB are willing to go to get business.

    Sadly the genuine Agents have to pick up the mess left by PB.

    It always amazes me how nieve sellers are, why would you sell your biggest asset through someone cheap, surely PB are only interested in the agreed commission.  Other agents are genuine and try to get the best possible outcome for the client, no matter what the fee is.

    You pay your money you get the service ……….. or not !!

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    1. BenNorthEast62

      “why would you sell your biggest asset through someone cheap”

      I am not a supporter of the cheap or online model, but just because an agent is more expensive it does not mean that they will do a better job….likely but not guaranteed

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      1. PeeBee

        BenNorthEast62

        Quality brands are rarely offered for sale via discount outlets as companies deem their product to be above that particular market.  Property – and its’ ownership – is often just as choosy.

        The perception is that a “quality” Agent will bring a better class of buyer, and therefore achieve a better result financially than one known for its’ cheapness.

        I have to say that in my experience, this is sometimes the case – and it is those ‘sometimes’ that keeps the wheel turning.

        So as you say – likely but not guaranteed.

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        1. BenNorthEast62

          PeeBee,

           

          Completely agree. I have a competitor who offer all bells and whistles, costs more than I do, but does not seem to know or has no interest in doing the basics.

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          1. PeeBee

            Homesellers like bells and whistles – makes them feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

            Agents like bells and whistles because homesellers do – and it brings them business that they might not ordinarily be good enough to win by fighting a good fight – the ‘basics’ you refer to.

            Up your fees, mon ami.  Good basics are worth their weight in bells and whistles!!

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  10. Malcolm Egerton

    Looks like Google has deleted all their reviews – the standard penalty for gaming their system. Other businesses should take note.

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  11. Client1st

    On a similar vein I am utterly fed up with competitors manipulating RM stats then showing ludicrous pi charts to vendors showing a misleading market share. We are paying a six figure sum for our network to be on RM and it is working against us because of this.

    Has anyone had this and how did you deal with it?

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    1. PeeBee

      Rightmove make the stats manipulatable for a reason…

      Report
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