Reviews site allAgents is this morning launching a crowdfunding appeal to raise money for a legal fight against Purplebricks.
In September allAgents suspended the Purplebricks account in an attempt to prevent a legal action, with Purplebricks claiming that 29% of reviews on allAgents were bogus.
allAgents says it has subsequently received several more letters from Purplebricks’ lawyers threatening litigation.
allAgents said this morning it will reinstate Purplebricks’ account when it has received enough crowdfunding support to fund any legal costs that might ensue.
allAgents’ director Martin McKenzie told EYE: “The last thing we want is to go to court.
“We’ve done everything possible to prevent legal action – apart from yielding to Purplebricks’ demands that we acknowledge the negative reviews about them on our site are fake.
“They’re not fake, they’re genuine grievances from Purplebricks’ customers.
“This is about free speech, and Purplebricks are trying to quash it by bullying us into submission. We’re just a small business and they have a £60m cash pot at their disposal.”
He went on: “We’ve been inundated with messages of support from both the reviewers and people in the industry.
“Some suggested we set up a fighting fund, so that we can keep on battling for free speech.
“Ideally, this money will never be needed, we hope that Purplebricks will finally accept these are genuine reviews. Then we can reinstate their page on allAgents and return the money to our supporters. But if they don’t, we’ll use it to fight Purplebricks in court.”
He said that Purplebricks say they have audited the reviews on the allAgents site, claiming 29% to be fake and a further 23% lacking sufficient detail to authenticate.
McKenzie said today: “We requested a copy of this audit so we could investigate these claims. But Purplebricks’ lawyers declined, saying their client ‘did not want to be put to further unnecessary costs.’
“We’re puzzled by this comment, as they claim to already have done the work.
“Furthermore their lawyers’ letters keep coming. Again, we call on Purplebricks to provide us with the results of this audit.”
allAgents is now hoping to crowdfund £50,000 to cover its legal fees. The money will be held with allAgents’ legal team.
Purplebricks has been approached for comment.
allAgents has also put up a new message on its site: https://www.allagents.co.uk/purplebricks/