A potential customer of Purplebricks was told that the firm would be paid a referral fee of £382.85 plus VAT for conveyancing.
The enquirer used the live chat service, explaining that he was deaf and needed to read all the small print.
He asked how much a legal package would cost for the sale of a freehold property worth about £100,000.
Using an email link sent by the live chat service, he obtained a quote from Advanced Conveyancing for £599.
Official copies would add another £28, and VAT £125.40, bringing the total up to £752.40.
Notes at the end of the quote said that if the sale fell through, there would be no fee.
The notes added: “The Introducer Purplebricks, who has provided this quotation, has suggested that you use a particular lawyer for your conveyancing.
“The Introducer is required to advise you that it has a financial arrangement with the Lawyer and that the Lawyer will pay a referral fee of £382.85 + VAT to the Introducer.
“The Lawyer is totally independent from the Introducer and the Lawyer will act only on your instructions and always in your best interests.
“The Lawyer will provide you with impartial, independent advice when providing this service and you are able to raise any questions with them about any aspect of your case.”
This is an edited excerpt from the full live chat script, which was sent to EYE:
[Customer] What are the typical fees for your legal package for the sale of a property £100,000-ish freehold
[Adviser] Our fee is £899 inc VAT (£1399 in London and surrounding areas). The only addition to this is £84 inc VAT for an EPC Certificate if you need one, as these are valid on your property for 10 years; and £300 inc VAT for our Accompanied Viewings option and £399 inc VAT in London and Surrounding areas.
[Adviser] I won’t be able to confirm the legal costs for a solicitor as they are dependent on several different factors however, if you click on the following link, this will take you to the website for the panel that we recommend where you can enter a few details to get a quick quote for both selling and buying a property – https://ezie.ieway.co.uk/
[Adviser] What I can do for you is arrange a free no obligation consultation, this is where we can send our trained and experienced Local property expert to come out and value your property for you, they will go through all the services, fees and value your home. Leaving you with the report to consider. How does that sound?
[Customer] Legals seem expensive @ £599 especially when solicitor only gets paid £215ish
A spokesperson for Purplebricks yesterday evening told EYE: “We receive a referral fee for conveyancing, which is standard practice in the industry.
“The legal costs we offer customers are a competitive flat fee – giving our customers peace of mind that their legal costs won’t change.”