Purplebricks answers critics over online reviews

Purplebricks has refuted online speculation that its reviews on Facebook are at significant odds with those on TrustPilot.

It says both sets of ratings reflect good to exceptional feedback.

Yesterday evening on Facebook, there were 266 reviews of which the majority, 190, gave Purplebricks five-star ratings.

However, 59 gave one star-ratings, typically with complaints about lack of communication and the performance of the conveyancing service.

On TrustPilot yesterday evening, there were 4,686 reviews of which 86.5% were five stars.

An online article, picked up by EYE readers, makes some unsubstantiated allegations.

A spokesperson for Purplebricks told us: “On Facebook we are receiving a rating of 4.0 out of 5.0 from 262 reviews, versus 4.8 out of 5.0 on TrustPilot from 4,669 reviews.

“Both ratings reflect good to exceptional feedback.

“Statistically one would have to say that TrustPilot, which is also moderated for objectiveness, is perhaps more referenceable at this point in time, being based on 18 times more reviews.

“In seeking to understand why there is a difference in levels of feedback between Facebook and TrustPilot we can only comment broadly that TrustPilot is a platform specifically dedicated to objective reviews and rating of products and services across a wide range of markets.

“It is entirely independent, the reviews are validated as being from bona fide customers and the platform is recognised globally.

“Facebook is designed as a much broader social network platform that has provided a rating application but which as yet has not taken off as comprehensively as TrustPilot in this context – this may change in the future.

“We take feedback from TrustPilot and Facebook extremely seriously as you will see from our engagement with such customers.

“In all cases, we seek to follow up with customers at a senior level, and respond to any perceived issue directly.

“We believe this is a vital component in our achieving such exceptional levels of customer satisfaction.

“With regard to eZieConveyancing, it is fair to say that conveyancing can be very challenging to deliver a perfect service 100% of the time, since the process is dependent on a wide range of factors – the reliance on other people in the chain, the peculiarities of the property ownership and history, the availability of documentation, potential delays in a completion, etc.

“We undertake all our conveyancing through MyHomeMove under the banner of eZieConveyancing.

“We are delighted to work very closely with them. By far the majority of our mutual customers receive an excellent service from them, which is reflected in our TrustPilot scores.

“Where Purplebricks customers pay upfront for their service, they are entitled to use any conveyancing firm of their choice. Where customers choose to defer their payment they are required to use eZieConveyancing.

“This is clearly referenced in the signing-up options. The fee level for eZieConveyancing compares very favourably with other suppliers in the market.”

Yesterday, Purplebricks enjoyed a good day on the stock market, with its shares shooting up 8.39% to 142p. It launched on the stock market in December with shares at 100p and has since had a low of 75p and a high of 152.50p.




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  1. Frown Please

    5000 reviews.Stock at 152.5p


    Are they making a profit though or stil throwing their money down the giant well?

  2. agency negotiation limited

    Positive reviews but could the vendors have done better? They’ll never know. They obviously weren’t smart enough to take the time to find a truly remarkable agency.

  3. smile please

    5000 reviews – if that does not smack of made up reviews I do not know what else will!

    I doubt PB have even sold 5000 properties!

  4. inthefield

    As usual with PB there’s a lot of spin. Their twitter account is littered with complaints and it all seems to focus on the same things. The main being lack of communication the second about the conveyancing. The only thing we can do as high street agents to try and warn the public about these pretenders is to get the message out there that this isn’t a service, its an advertising platform with a few bells and whistles on it. We also have to try and make the public aware that they will pay PB between £780 & £900 either upfront or deferred. Either way that money has gone from the moment they sign up, with or without a successful sale. If they do sell the house its anyone’s guess as to whether the vendor would have achieved more by using a proper agent but in my experience they very often undersell or under negotiate.

    Getting a call back is impossible and whenever Ive been in a chain with them, about 3 times over the passed 6 months, they do absolutely nothing. In 2 of those cases the clients who had sold through PB were tearing their hair out and calling me all the time to find out what was going on! Im amazed their share price is still climbing!

    1. PeeBee

      “In 2 of those cases the clients who had sold through PB were tearing their hair out and calling me all the time to find out what was going on!”

      Have ANY of those clients added a review to that effect?

      1. inthefield

        Good point PeeBee, I did say they should complain in the strongest terms. Sorry to say I didnt follow that up, but judging by how fuming they were Id be surprised if they didnt.

  5. Homefinders Plus

    As a relocation agent, my initial contact is to book up viewings. I tried once, was told that the local agent would call back, never heard from him and haven’t bothered to use them since. I have a great relationship with many agents who actually have offices, know their landlords/vendors, the area, the market etc. I really don’t like using those who have an ‘office’ in their back bedroom but sometimes if the property is just what my clients need, then I have no choice sadly. I just hope that decent landlords and vendors think about the experience from the ‘other side’ and not just their wallets.

    1. PeeBee

      ” I tried once, was told that the local agent would call back, never heard from him and haven’t bothered to use them since.”

      What a pity you didn’t review them based upon your personal experience…

  6. coleface

    I find it totally inconceivable PB can have 4686 clients so enamoured with their service to have taken the trouble to type a review, let alone offer 5 stars. People simply don’t make that effort, even if you have a good system for encouraging them, without being genuinely very, very impressed.

    I think the abuse of review sites in our industry is a massive issue particularly with on line agents. For me it is a scam undertaken on an almost industrial scale. Whether the task of fake reviews is being outsourced to one of these companies who promote to protect your online reputation or is simply a chore for an in house lacky, it is undoubtedly used as a marketing strategy to gain SEO and hoodwink the public.

    It’s fairly impossible to police I imagine, given it wouldn’t take a huge amount of effort to ensure reviews appear to have come from different places.

    I’d love someone to have the authority to take a random 100 reviews off trust pilot and see how many PB could match against genuine clients. I suspect it would expose the scam in one foul swoop.

    Or prove that people like me are just jealous… I’d be very happy to take that risk…

    1. Mal

      It’s actually very possible to police – it just needs the review site to be willing to pay to do it properly. If you assume that it takes 7 mins to properly check a review manually (we take longer at raterAgent but we’re still keen on learning our craft), and (as Trustpilot announced when it secured $73.5m investment last year – http://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2015/05/68491-trustpilot-closes-73-5-million-series-d-round/) Trustpilot gets over 10k reviews per day, then their 35 review checkers (https://www.igniyte.com/en/news/2015/09/trustpilot-is-amending-review-process-in-response-to-cma-report/) could – assuming they all work 7.5 hours a day and don’t do anything else – be able to check 2,250 of them, so around 20%, or 1 in 5. So 4 in 5 just go through a machine check.

      We check all reviews by hand not because it’s fun but because otherwise we know that fakes will get through. We check Electoral Roll, Companies House, LinkedIn even Facebook. 1 in 6 of submissions to raterAgent don’t get published because we believe they’re fakes. 80% of these are 5* reviewing themselves and 15% are 1* reviewing their competitors. I’m not saying that we’re perfect but we’re trying really hard to remove fake reviews as an issue in our market.

      But without action it is likely to remain a huge problem elsewhere. No other review site publishes how many reviews they reject in our market. Assuming that our 1 in 6 figure would be higher if we didn’t catch people doing it and warn them, logically there’s a really big chance that for other sites that don’t do manual checks it’s even more prevalent.

      Oh, and only a handful of online/hybrid agents choose to recommend their reviews undergo raterAgent’s intensive manual checks currently. None of them is Purplebricks.

  7. IHS

    If you ignore the five star reviews than I would suggest the rest give a more accurate picture of the Company. In any case if you start with the premise that 50% of what you read on the internet is lies you won’t be far out!

  8. IHS

    It is also interesting that Purple Bricks only respond to the good reviews and never answer the bad ones which would be more useful to potential Clients.

  9. Property Paddy

    I think the share price reflects the public’s general mood that any investment is better than putting the money in a bank.

    The fact the business hasn’t made a profit and it’s not likely too for some time, if at all, is it seems irrelevant.

    Ironically as an investor I wouldn’t put my money in to London property right now as house prices there are so far beyond normal income multiples, lenders are practically back to sub prime products in a different guise.

    If we have a rise in repossessions across the capital you can just see house price deflation leaving the banks exposed on over priced London property. Could this happen ?

    Anyone read yesterday Evening Standard ?

  10. Chri Wood

    “I find it totally inconceivable PB can have 4686 clients so enamoured with their service to have taken the trouble to type a review, let alone offer 5 stars. People simply don’t make that effort, even if you have a good system for encouraging them, without being genuinely very, very impressed.”

    A question Ros or Nick might like to ask the team at PurpleBricks. Just how many completions (not new instructions) HAVE PB had in order to obtain so many glowing reviews?

    1. Keyser Söze

      PB have almost 200 LPEs potentially chasing reviews in so it is possible. Especially if they are rewarded for positive reviews 🙂

      It looks as though they are requested reviews at the beginning of the sales journey when most sellers are mostly positive. Not 10 months later after have no viewings and a £1k fee for their unsold property.

      TP Business users are able to upload details of their customers to request reviews. So, that system plus 200 incentivised LPEs is a powerful way of generating reviews. With the bonus of getting the negative ones removed.

  11. Keyser Söze

    I believe PB have been very clever with the way they manage their online reputation.

    First of all they chose to create a paid Business account with TrustPilot. TrustPilot are very quick to remove reported reviews.

    On TP you can request to report a review for a number of reasons. If the reviewer does not use their real name or full name then PB could report it because they could claim it’s not their customer. The reviewer must then prove to TP they were a customer. How many reviewers will go out of their way to prove this?

    Another technicality is if the reviewer mentions the name of an employee of the company in the review. Again, if it’s a negative review the company could request to have the review removed for this reason.

    If you look at PB’s reviews it’s remarkable that so many reviews contain the full name of the company’s employee. Are PB’s customers asked to mention the full name of their Local Property Expert in the review? So that if it is negative the review is easily removed? Call me a cynic!

    Keep an eye on PB’s TP review page. See how long a negative review stays up if it either mentions the name of the PB Local Property Expert or if the reviewer uses a pseudonym or only half of their name.

    Also, if you read their reviews many are at the beginning of the selling journey. Should the reviews only be taken once the property is sold?

    In summary, I have no doubt that the positive reviews are genuine (I’m guessing the LPEs are probably targeted/ rewarded for positive reviews). TP have sophisticated algorithms to spot fake reviews. But I believe PB are clever at getting the negative reviews pulled off TP on technicalities.

  12. PG12315

    Here are some facts that you may not know about Purplebricks. I’m posting my review here just in-case my review does get removed from the FB or TP. I think the issue about security could undermine the way Purplebricks works.

    We only used Purplebricks for 3 months before finding out that their online booking system is flawed, it has no security at all for the seller. There where many other issues that we were not happy with compared to using local estate agents, but to list them all would take at least ten page of writing, So here are the main facts as to why we stopped using Purplebricks.com.

    1. We signed with Purplebricks.com knowing that the fee had to be paid if we left or didn’t sell after 10 months.
    2. We was NOT told that Purplebricks.com get paid this fee on the day you instructed them to sell your property, this is paid through a third party (Close Brothers Limited) with an unregulated loan (Not covered by the credit act).
    3. We had a very bad and disturbing viewing that made us question their security. (who would turn up on our doorstep next?)
    4. So I then tested the Purplebricks.com online security. (Created a fake account with everything fake including my location IP, Nothing was flagged by their system and I was able to book an appointment to view my property).
    5. We then decided to go back with a local estate agent, we stopped using Purplebricks because of the bad experience and proven security issues. (Nowadays you have to be very safe on who you let into your home).
    6. We told Purplebricks about this security issue and why we stopped using them, we decided to make a formal complaint. (They deliberately started to wasting time and did not even comprehend our complaint).
    7. We ended up going to the Property Ombudsman with our complaint.

    The only security check Purplebricks do when booking an appointment to view a property is to verify the potential buyers email and as you know there are many ways to get a free email account online.

    If you cannot afford to pay the extra £132 fee for an agent to show people around your house then you have to do it yourself, so  beware you stand the risk of showing a criminal around your house.


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