Purplebricks says Local Property Experts must not have conflicts of interest

A highly critical review of Purplebricks by a vendor on TrustPilot raises the question as to whether Local Property Experts could have commercial conflicts of interest.

The unusually negative TrustPilot review, which gives Purplebricks the lowest possible rating against the usual very high ratings, says that the hybrid agent will “be the estate agency for you” if “you discover by chance that your so-called ‘agent’ also appears to work for their own agency in addition to Purplebricks”.

The reviewer concludes that their home was sold, but for far less than expected.

We asked Purplebricks about the claim that Local Property Experts could be working in other agencies, including for their own businesses.

The firm told us that in this particular case, the customer in question was not referring to a Local Property Expert but to a viewing assistant.

A Purplebricks spokesperson said: “As entrepreneurs running their own businesses it is up to individual Local Property Experts to decide whether they pursue additional work, provided it does not give rise to a conflict of interest.

“However, with the strong demand for the Purplebricks offering and the earnings potential, we are not aware of anyone needing to make that choice.

“Many Local Property Experts employ their own experienced viewings assistants, some of whom work full time and others part time.

“As a result they may not undertake work solely for the Local Property Expert, provided always that there is not a conflict of interest.

“In this instance, the customer is referring to a viewings assistant who has her own lettings portfolio, which is not unusual because we do recruit people who have relevant industry experience and knowledge of their local area.”


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  1. Chri Wood

    Can anyone hear the sound of something unraveling?

  2. smile please

    Purple bricks LPE”s are self employed but NOT allowed to work for other property related companies.

    Sounds like Purple bricks are breaking employment laws.

    How can you be self employed but only work for one company?

    1. Robert May

      Don’t  ask us we only abide by the  rules we don’t make them.

      That  definitely sounds like an innovative scheme of employment to evade taxes so possibly worth getting clarification from HMRC?

    2. spin2009

      The genius model for this is Uber’s example of the fact that their drivers behavior essentially has absolutely nothing to do with them.

    3. hodge

      Many advisers are self employed but work for a single company on the basis that they have an existing client bank and use the Company as an Umbrella for compliance etc both for the Companies new clients as well as existing……Simples

      1. Robert May

        HMRC rules don’t allow that.

  3. sb007ck

    This article seems to miss the point completely. The Trustpilot review merely commented on the LPE having other interests, but every other point in the review is focused on the dismal customer service received by Purplebricks. No Support, No advice, No sales chasing, and certainly nothing local or expert about them. But i guess this is what you get for £800 or whatever they are charging today + added costs for viewings + added costs if you choose not to use their solicitors.

  4. Ric

    Transcript of Secret recording where PB LPE employs someone to do viewings – “Ee…. r….. luv, can you go to that house I listed last week, whilst I look after the kids, I have a right headache and I’ve been paid now anyway, plus I’ve got to go to my proper job later”

  5. Robert May

    Now I am confused, the law is not the pick’n’mix counter at Woolworths.  One minute LPE are independent firms  presumably to avoid working time regulations minimum wage etc, yet they come under the same  umbrella for ICO and VAT registration and now there is a arms length approach to  vicarious liability and responsibility for anything a bit shabby and shady.

    If Purplebricks want to be estate agents, for the sake of the honest and decent and genuine local property experts, they need to get a grip of the devious bottom feeders who share the same status and insist everyone of their LPE’s adheres to the laws of estate agency that govern everyone else. If Purplebricks want to trade as passive intermediaries  that simply facilitate internet listings they need to be very clear  to consumers they are not estate agents  and have no responsibility for negligent advice.

    50% success of a 3% market share of listing means about £25,000,000 each year is paid to internet listing firms who fail to sell property. That compares with £0, (nothing at all )  paid to unsuccessful no sale no fee agents. The internet listing firms are taking no responsibility for bad  and negligent advice and like portal juggling that is against the law.

    1. Robert May

      What’s the matter devious bottom feeder, didn’t you like that?.  The good honest LPE’s did, they’re fed up with you spivvy list anything  reps ruining what ought to be a business  if run with genuine  local and genuinely qualified agent

  6. AndrewOverman

    As I’ve said many times before #PayPeanutsGetMonkeys

  7. AgencyInsider

    I have no liking for any of these types of firms that hoodwink the public into believing you can gain a lot by paying a little.

    But it is no use full service agents bleating about them to each other, because the public don’t read trade sites.

    What is needed is an industry wide initiative to continually publicise the shortcomings and pitfalls of using these operators. Put something like this on all sales particulars, promotional leaflets, adverts and websites:


    1. Certus

      Perhaps NAEA should stick its head above any parapet. I’ve forgotten what it is they do?

      1. Chri Wood

        It seems that the NAEA only responds to events when they have no other option. They seem to have forgotten what they are supposed to do too!

        1. spin2009

          Send out forms, a magazine, collect various fees, invite you to an annual dinner and allow use of 4 generic alphabet letters after your name. Outstanding value-what’s your problem?

  8. dave_d

    Hasn’t Ed Mead just recently left Douglas & Gordan to provide this exact service for Local Property Experts?

    1. Nick Salmon, M.D. Property Industry Eye

      See the story about what Ed is up to here: http://www.propertyindustryeye.com/proptech/

  9. StatementOfFact

    Sold, but for far less than expected, sounds about right.

  10. TheHybridAgent

    Good morning all… Yes it’s me and I’m back to bring you back to reality.

    I’m sure PIE will appreciate my return. They haven’t had many comments since I’ve been gone so I will bring some much needed traffic your way… You’re very welcome.

    The majority of you have used this story to just respond with the same old boring comments.

    This specific review is referring to a viewing assistant. Many agents have them and the majority of them do it as additional employment. Agents don’t have a diary full of viewings everyday. Most viewing assistants work part time.

    Its ok I know you will all have your own opinions on this and tell me your viewing assistant works full time 12 hour days or your negotiators do their own that’s fine. We can go into that later.


    1. Clarkuk

      Viewing assistants are a false economy – pay less, get less


      “Many agents have them and the majority of them do it as additional employment” – do they? where did you dig up this info?

      “Most viewing assistants work part time” – Really?

      Can you clarify where you are getting all this information on viewing assistants? or are you basing it on your experience?

      As a hybrid agent you are pretty good nonsense as facts – now try and back up your claims and we see it all fall apart 🙂


      1. Clarkuk

        *As a hybrid agent you are pretty good at spinning nonsense as facts

  11. TheHybridAgent

    In regards to the figure archived. The client had the option to reject the offer. She decided to accept and mentions herself it was a tougher market in her area.

    1. Clarkuk

      The client had the option to reject is no excuse for a poor service!!!

      She mentions that it is a difficult market???? – how does she know?….she’s been told!! – BY Whom?….. the LPE.

      Why could that be? a) secure a sale b) LPE lazy c) they already have been paid d) all of the above

  12. TheHybridAgent

    Imagine over the years traditional high street agents did their job properly. Consumers wouldn’t have lost faith in the outdated model and seek new ways of buying/Selling/renting property.

    Just a thought…


    1. PeeBee

      Just a thought…

      That would obviously include YOU, then.


    2. Robert May

      Err just a thought something like £300,000,000 has been poured into creating a distrupter model so  consumers have an alternative to the old way of doing things.

      The biggest disruptor lost £12,000,000 last year which meant the firm was £37million behind its own predictions in a single year

      97% of home sellers still prefer to pay over the odds to use the outdated model, 1.5%  lose an average £9500 net after they think they have saved £5000 and 1.5% shell out (waste /squander) £25,000,000 each year to not sell, not move and fall 10months behind an ever moving market

      Now it’s been realised that the expert advice was a legal commitment to best advice there are legal precedents for all the unsuccessful vendors to claw back fees  charged to them over the past 6 years.  Imagine that as a clawback; 150 million quid! Imagine going to all the expense of setting up a  sub business to be your own boss only to find everyone you’ve taken a questionable fee from who hasn’t sold is entitled to a refund, very probably legal expenses and interest on top, that would be what is known as a P155er. But there  it is no sale no fee wasn’t an  accidental old fashioned way of charging, it was a natural  result of case law.

      I think my thought will worry you more than yours does mine.

  13. Woodentop

    The main issue with tier system of employment is where the buck stops. There could be a breach of EA Act, TPO Code of Practice and not forgetting the all important PI cover and ML Regs. From what has been said over the last week with PB and LPE’s and sub contractors ….. I bet anyone that PI is at risk and that will breach all regulations. NTSEAT & TPO should be investigating and not turning a blind eye for they have been doing this since 2015. There is no need for a member of the public to complain, they have the right to demand an audit under the rules.


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