NEWSFLASH: Purplebricks defends itself in statement to Stock Exchange

Purplebricks this morning issued a statement to the Stock Exchange following yesterday’s You and Yours, and Watchdog programmes.

It reads as follows:

The Board of Purplebricks Group plc notes the recent share price movement.

The Group was the subject of two BBC features on Wednesday 2 August relating principally to the clarity of the deferred payment facility available to customers, the Group’s compliance with a recent Advertising Standards Association (“ASA”) ruling, and alleged exaggerated claims by some of its Local Property Experts about levels of instructions and/or sales they had obtained.

The Board is confident that disclosure of the terms and nature of the deferred payment facility, provided by Close Brothers, are clear and transparent. The registration and acceptance process of the facility has been reviewed by the Property Ombudsman and by the Trading Standards Institute and no issues were raised or changes requested. The Group has received complaints relating to the payment terms and facility from only 0.2 per cent of customers.

Furthermore, from the last 47,000 facility agreements entered into by customers only two complaints were considered by the Financial Ombudsman and in both cases neither were upheld.

The purpose of the facility is to offer Purplebricks’ customers an alternative to immediate payment on instruction, and the majority of customers take up this option. The facility comes with no additional cost or interest to the customer.

In the context of the small number of cases where customer feedback has indicated that the disclosure does not match Purplebricks’ high standards for transparency, the Group has nevertheless committed to enhance the clarity of its notification to customers accordingly.

With regard to the ASA ruling, Purplebricks has previously sought to quantify to potential customers in its marketing literature the levels of savings that they might on average achieve based on publicly available data, such as the Which survey on estate agent commission levels. In a ruling in 2016, the ASA requested that Purplebricks no longer refer in its marketing to an indicative average saving, based on the premise that this could prove misleading.

The Group had in any case already decided to remove references to this figure from its marketing materials. The BBC drew attention to examples of a standard email format that inadvertently still included the savings figure. The Group immediately removed this reference and apologises for this oversight.

The BBC also aired claims that certain LPEs have provided exaggerated instructions and/or sales figures for their respective areas.

Whilst Purplebricks has not had access to the precise data and areas being reviewed by the BBC, the Board believes that the figures provided by the LPEs concerned have fairly reflected the performance of the teams operating in those areas. However, the Group has committed to ensure through its ongoing training that LPEs are clear about the statistics that they use and the territories and postcodes to which they are referring.

Michael Bruce, founder and Chief Executive of Purplebricks, commented: “The Board and the Group are committed to the highest levels of customer service and disclosure, and we believe this is reflected in the business’ sales growth and the high levels of customer satisfaction evidenced by its 23,000 Trustpilot reviews with an average score of 9.5 and its rating of Excellent. The Group is the most positively reviewed estate agent in the UK.

“We seek to satisfy and surpass our regulatory obligations at all times, and where we find circumstances where we have fallen short we seek to rectify these situations at the earliest opportunity. The Purplebricks’ offering has already saved consumers in the UK tens of millions of pounds when selling their properties, and we are focused on building on this position still further.”

More top news stories

x

Email the story to a friend

33 Comments

  1. sb007ck

    Squeaky bum time

    Report
    1. Bless You

      no, the credit agreement is to get cash flow in to keep shareholders happy. It does not benefit customer.

      RIGHTMOVE STATEMENT NEXT PLEASE.. THEY ARE NOT AGENTS THEY ARE PAY ANY WAY SALESMEN

      Report
    2. Bless You

      i wonder how many instructions they would get if asked for £1000 on instruction….. None. #scam

      Report
      1. Bless You

        asa shoild seek damages for all the business they gained after ignoring the £5000 estate agent savings. Customers should demand money back if not sold house as well.

        Report
  2. dompritch134

    Absolutely what a succinct statement.

    Report
    1. PeeBee

      LOOK OUT!  The beagle has landed.

      “Beagle” – where did that come from?

      I typed “LAPDOG”

      Bl00dy autocorrect….

      Report
      1. PeeBee

        By the way, folks – the ‘Like’ will be his own.

        He does that on Tw@tter too…

        Report
        1. PeeBee

          Thanks for the ‘Dislikes’, Sir.

          Welcome to MY world.

          We play rough here.

          Get ready to grab your ball and skedaddle.

          Report
          1. cyberduck46

            You seem to be very ‘like’ and ‘dislike’ focused PeeBee.

             

            Not the first time you’ve mentioned these things. 🙂

            Report
          2. Bless You

            dom is the Sean Spicer of the purplebricks. #fake news police

            Report
  3. Ric

    PPI was often OK and legal, it was just the fact nobody knew they were getting it!

    Anyway…… my deferred payment option contract is a beauty. Tis called a No Sale No Fee Sole Agency Agreement.

    Report
    1. Chris Wood

      “My deferred payment option contract is a beauty. Tis called a No Sale No Fee Sole Agency Agreement”

      Comment of the week!

      Report
  4. AgencyInsider

    ‘The purpose of the facility is to offer Purplebricks’ customers an alternative to immediate payment on instruction, and the majority of customers take up this option. The facility comes with no additional cost or interest to the customer.’

    And what exactly happens if the customer does not pay up?

    Report
    1. Ric

      Close Brothers send the Chuckle brothers in.

      Report
    2. Andrew Overman

      Except a stipulation that the customer is obliged to use PB solicitors. Do Close Brothers / Purple Bricks disclose the kick back or those solicitors charges compared to a local solicitor upfront?

      Report
  5. lettingsexpert39

    the most positively reviewed estate agent In the UK, not according to allagents! https://www.allagents.co.uk/purplebricks/

     

     

    Report
    1. Whaley

      pfffft that champion of transparency.

      They’re deserving of their own episode on Watchdog.

      More on that soon!

      Report
  6. PepeM

    Mr Bruce conveniently omits to also mention that sellers using the deferred option are also bound to use PBs very expensive Conveyancing service as a condition. Surprised Watchdog didn’t pick this up.

    Report
    1. AgentV

      The facility comes with no additional cost or interest to the customer.

      I agree with PepeM….Smoke and mirrors yet again! Is it not true then that it involves having to use a nominated conveyancer who charges up to £500plus more for buying and selling than people could achieve with their own choice?

      Report
    2. BigBoyEA48

      Oh but PepeM you don’t have to use their Conveyancers….you always have the option to pay £360 odd quid to effectively buy yourself out of that clause.  Where do I get this info??? From one of said conveyancers very own employees!

      Report
      1. AgentV

        So that’s another £360 to add to the overall cost then! Shouldn’t that be declared up front before someone’s signs…..especially if the company wants to be totally transparent.

        Report
  7. AgentV

     

    What is clear from the programme is that they are getting a lot of complaints from customers. Watchdog would not have ran the article if they weren’t.
    People might say that dealing with a large amount of property listings you are bound to get a lot of complaints. Why? Can many independent agents out there remember the last time they received a complaint about their charges or service? If you took 500 independents completing up to 100 sales per year…I wonder how many complaints there would be in comparison?
    And despite all this the model seems to be costing many consumers upwards of £1,100, with viewings. So that multiplies up to £1,900 Fee Average per Completed Sale (FACS) if only 60% of customers actually achieve the end result with the company (rather than go on to relist and sell with a full service agent). Add in another £500 odd if you take into account the higher than normal charges of their conveyancing services…and you’re up to £2,400. The cost of subsidy from investors, with their current investments of tens of millions of pounds for no return, probably takes it way above the £3,000 mark!!!
    I suspect £3,000 is way more than the average fee of most independents. It is certainly 50% more than ours. And to cap it all, the end result is a product that ends up on watchdog because of the number of customer complaints!!!

    Report
    1. Bless You

      The ASA and govt. need to start charging businesses for ‘mistakes’ in their marketing.  Its like telling someone who has killed 4 people….dont do it again.In normal law the person gets charged for first 4 murders.

      If heavy fines were imposed then the markets would self police themselves.

      Report
  8. cyberduck46

    Poor investigative journalism by Watchdog.

     

    They should have contacted PurpleBricks to ask how customers are informed about the deferred payment rather than just saying they couldn’t find it on the website.

     

    When you sign up for PurpleBricks it’s an interactive process. You choose whether you want to pay immediately or defer payment. You are far more likely to understand what you are agreeing to than when you sign a traditional Estate Agent contract (from my experience). Of course there will always be people who don’t read what they’re agreeing to and people who don’t understand what they’re agreeing to.

     

    The fact that the lady referred to in the PIE article http://www.propertyindustryeye.com/elderly-woman-charged-agents-commission-after-property-failed-to-sell-allegation/ was charged £4000 when she sold a house to her son after the Agent had failed in 18 months shows people don’t read/understand what they’re agreeing to. She simply had to give the Agent notice to avoid the cost.

     

     

    Report
    1. Ric

      “You are far more likely to understand what you are agreeing to than when you sign a traditional Estate Agent contract (from my experience)”

       

      Wow, Danny and DigiExpert no longer have hold the duopoly of PIE’s top two nutters! (sorry chaps, you know it is banter)

       

      cyberduck46 – If you struggle to understand the deferred payment option also known as No Sale No Fee with the Traditional Estate Agent, then I seriously hope you are not selling anything to anyone. It is pretty straight forward…. my 12 year old boy gets it.

       

      If on the other hand you are referring to people you have spoken with “don’t get it” then I hope their carers were present when you were trying to sell them something.

       

      PS – Are all CyberDucks – Kerwackers?

      Report
    2. Estate_Agent_Memes

      The only way to get the deferred payment is by agreeing to use their overpriced conveyancing. When people find out they can save around £400 by instructing the same solicitor direct and they no longer want this option via PB – PB then invoices them immediately for their full fee.

      Add on the £360 people pay for viewings up front (even f they have none) then there are no savings for vendors in many parts of the UK.

      Hopefully, Watchdog will be made aware of these practices also now that PB is on their radar.

       

      Report
  9. Hillofwad71

    What was very clear from last night’s interview is that Bruce had a very good idea but is not CEO material for a company with a global reach.The end result maybe he will step down .and be replaced with someone with a little more gravitas . Maybe someone like Aubrey Adams long since retired or maybe ” Let’s do Retail “Alison Platt !!!!!!! well maybe not

    He was still wriggling  in the RNS this morning

    “The Board believes that the figures provided by the LPEs concerned have fairly reflected the performance of the teams operating in those areas”

     

    An expert who can be easily identifed by the filming on Watchdog  was pronouncing 92% sales to listings which  couldnt be substantiated  and  misled about the number of instructions

     

    Report
    1. AgentV

      An expert who can be easily identfied by the filming on Watchdog  was pronouncing 92% sales to listings which  couldn’t be substantiated  and  misled about the number of instructions

      An extremely valid point….if they are using those figures in their sale pitches where is the evidence to back it up? Otherwise that is misleading a consumer into taking a decision they might not have otherwise taken!!!

       

      Report
  10. rsvstu97

    Isn’t their Feefo survey based on response at instruction? All customers are happy at that stage surely? I’m trying to imagine a LPE phoning out their applicants and trying to put a chain together. Somehow I’m struggling.  I took on a YOPA instruction recently,  after 3 months YOPA have not created one viewing. We have had several. Their rep. left so the Devon rep now covers Somerset as well. Great business model.

    Report
  11. JWVW

    Again and again, Bruce hung his hat on the “23,000 Trust Pilot reviews” – is that all it’s about? What about hard sales figures?

    Report
  12. Freepost143

    Really can’t understand why anyone would fall for the PurpleBricks sales hype. Every time one of my clients buys through them they have nothing but trouble, issues and come away saying that they would never consider using them if they sold in the future. Cheap means cheap service ! As always you get what you pay for

    Report
  13. Estate_Agent_Memes

    Oh no!

    https://goo.gl/WVHd3t

     

    Report
  14. Maxwell73

    My god, you are all such moaners.

    Report
X

You must be logged in to report this comment!

Leave a reply

Thank you for signing up to our newsletter, we have sent you an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Additionally if you would like to create a free EYE account which allows you to comment on news stories and manage your email subscriptions please enter a password below.