Purplebricks totally denies claim after unhappy customer takes to social media to ask for help

A disenchanted customer of Purplebricks has used social media to complain about the firm and ask for help from a variety of sources, including her MP, the Law Society, Which?, various TV programmes and the presenter Matt Allbright, Citizens Advice, and the Committee for Advertising Practice. EYE was also sent the tweet.

Carol wa Mwangi received a response Gavin Shuker, independent MP for Luton South.

She also sent the same request to Nadine Dorries, Conservative MP for the nearby constituency of mid Bedfordshire.

Mwangi said in the string of tweets that she needed help: “Purplebricks is making my life a misery. They want me to pay a bill of £1,945 for not selling my house.”

She said that in four months there had only been two viewings. She said she had been led to believe that there if there were no sale, there would be no fee – a claim totally refuted by Purplebricks.

Shuker replied: “Hi Carol. Sorry to hear this. If the company can’t be of assistance, and I see they’re in touch with you, please email me on gavin.shuer.mp@parliament.uk with your details and I can see if I can do anything to help.”

Purplebricks customer services has responded in the thread more than once, offering its help, which appears to have been declined.

A spokesperson for Purplebricks said yesterday: “Mrs Mwangi contacted us as she had been asked to pay her fee.

“She explained that she was informed that she would not need to pay if her property did not sell.

“On investigating the case, we can see that Mrs Mwangi confirmed that she had read, understood and agreed to our terms and conditions. She also received a follow up email which again reiterated our payment terms.

“We always ensure that we are clear with our payments terms and our model.”

Below, just part of the thread on Twitter

https://twitter.com/carolhart79/with_replies

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45 Comments

  1. GeorgeOrwell

    Use Purplebricks – Pay for Failure!

     

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  2. Property Poke In The Eye

    Serves her right, selling property yourself is not as easy as she thought.   Next time she will read the contract properly.

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    1. ArthurHouse02

      I think thats a little harsh. Yes “why is it so cheap” should have been part of the conversation, but she has a right to all the facts. It is PB and the way they pitch their services that is the problem, not the people who go along afer being promised they get the same as a local estate agent.

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      1. Bless You

        Agree it’s not the consumers fault , it’s trading standards, rightmove and which? For mistaking cheap for bad business practice.

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        1. The Outsider

          How did Rightmove get dragged into a situation between Purplebricks and a customer who hasn’t researched the housing market and can’t read T&C’s?

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          1. Bless You

            rightmove should’nt allow payanyway on site = no purplebricks = no unhappy customer…

            I  Bless your ability to only react in context to 1 story.  Bliss.

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            1. The Outsider

              Why wouldn’t Rightmove let them on the site?  They sell houses and they pay.  Your comment suggests that if a customer complains about a traditional agents service then they shouldn’t be allowed on RM either?

              As for when I react, it tends to only be when there are idiotic comments these days, which is why i’ve only replied to you.

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              1. Bless You

                “Why wouldn’t Rightmove let them on the site?  “…

                Says it all if you have no understanding of the industry.

                Rightmove don’t allow everyone on just because they pay. Nevermind.

                 

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    2. Property Poke In The Eye

      PB have probably covered their processes 10 x over from people saying “We didn’t know what we were signing”
      If I had signed up with PB and not read the terms then it’s my fault not others.
      Please note, I am no fan of PB, but their marketing is just too slick.
      These  contracts should come with a Warning at the top and bottom of the page:  YOU WILL NEED TO PAY, EVEN IF YOU DONT SELL YOUR HOME.

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      1. Long841

        Similar to the ‘your home may be at risk if you do not keep up repayments’

         

        I’ve never been a fan of the idea of further regulation or licensing in the industry but in cases like this is does seem to be one answer to the problem.

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      2. agent37

        I believe there is a large box ‘important read carefully’ which clearly outlines it all

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    3. carolwamwangi

      FYI l was not selling the property by myself, when the purple bricks agent come to my home, l already had a local agent on board. He misled into purple bricks no sale no fee, its sad l trusted him, otherwise l would have recorded him, lying to my face!!

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  3. Jrsteeve

    Without defending them, she signed a contract so knew exactly what she was or wasn’t getting.

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  4. Moveaside01

    I don’t believe PB misleads it’s victims but having dealt with numerous disgruntled PB customers they genuinely can’t believe they will have to pay for failure and release of contract in order to eventually sell their house via a full service agent.

    More fool them unfortunately?

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  5. ArthurHouse02

    I have spoken to many a homeowner who assumed PB were no sale no fee. They market themselves as “proper estate agents”, so why wouldn’t Jo Public think this. Nowhere on their advertising is it obvious that you have to pay if the property doesnt sell, if PB openly admit pay either is the score, why aren’t they loud and proud about it.

    Lastly, the PB spokesperson talks about their client signing the Ts & Cs…..are they stating that their LPEs dont disclose this very important decision maker on the appointment? The problem with large companies, is that using them requires us to tick the “I’ve read the Terms and Conditions” box. These are usually dozens and dozens of pages of legal mumbo jumbo, havent all of us at some point just ticked it without reading, assuming the company isnt going to screw us over?

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  6. J1

    They prey on the self-belief that almost every seller has that they have the best house on their street and of course it will sell in ten months.

    Or is that 6 months with four months for the transaction to reach exchange?

    Which is it?  Sale agreed or Exchange of contracts.

    I suspect they don’t verbally explain all the pitfalls.  To many, a sale is an offer, but I guess PB don’t and won’t care.

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    1. Ostrich17

      PB have a duty of care to all clients and TPoS/NTSLEAT/NFoPP etc need to step up and reinforce clear communication.  
       
      They should be compelled to spell out quite clearly that:
       
      1. The fee is payable regardless of sale.
       
      2. The chance of selling is 50:50.
       
      3. What the client is paying for if their home does not sell.  

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      1. revilo

        Their website is completely misleading in my opinion
        “Sell with Purplebricks for a fair fixed fee.”

        “A better selling experience. Ever wondered how it all works with Purplebricks? Here we explain in 10 steps how simple it is to sell with us.”
        “We don’t charge a percentage of the sale price, instead we simply charge a fair fixed fee. We feel this is a much fairer way to sell your home.
        I can’t see anywhere it says you pay us whether we sell it or we don’t.

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        1. Mark Walker 2

          I concur with Revilo.  Key phrase here is “We don’t charge a percentage of the sale price, instead we simply charge a fair fixed fee. We feel this is a much fairer way to sell your home.”  (Written at the top of their ‘sell your property’ page).  At prima facie, everything is linked to “sell or selling”.  But it says The Property Ombudsman on there, so everything must be above board.  As TPO states: “Fees must be clear and transparent.”

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  7. revilo

    Are there any other ‘goods or services’ that one is required to pay for, with absolutely no quarantee of getting the desired goods or services? Are people really that stupid as to sign up with such a company, the purpose presumably being to sell their house, without an element of being misled? I sort of don’t get it somehow..

    I havent seen Purples t’s and c’s but presumably (for complete clarity, like the rest of us!) they say something like ‘You will pay us either up front or deferred, the sum of £*** inclusive of VAT, whether we sell your house or not’

    What do the general public actually think they are paying PB for? (genuine question)

    Good that the issue is being publicly broadcast tho’

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    1. agent37

      It’s a marketing fee. There’s countless examples of fees where you pay to advertise or market a product with no ‘guarantee’ of results. The results they do get are pretty good compared with competitors though

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      1. revilo

        Agent
        37, please tell me where on PB web site it says it’s just a marketing fee?
        And as for your last sentance …………….

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        1. EAMD172

          “Pretty good compared with competitors” Please will someone show the public PB’s actual instruction to completion ratio. If it is over 55% I would be very surprised. Unfortunately this is the one figure that PB don’t want anyone to know. How much of their £90m revenue is made up of luckless people like Ms Mwangi?????

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    2. iViewProperty

      Are there any other ‘goods or services’ that one is required to pay for, with absolutely no quarantee of getting the desired goods or services? – Yes … every time I spend money on a horse at the bookies in order to win more money back, they refuse to provide any guarantee of success! It’s a very similar system, except in terms of the magnitude of risk

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      1. revilo

        pmsl…
         

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  8. Essjaydee51

    What absolute cods some of you come out with!

    Everybody who we see and I’m sure who PB see ask HOW much do you charge and then we all do our work to get them to sign and whether a good or a bad job is done, we expect payment once exchanged, except PB as their terms are different but I bet they still do have to explain how just like us and just like us there is always a scamming member of the public who try’s to get out of paying by using every tactic going, only this time there is a n e mail thread of proof in PB’s favour.

    im not a fan of Pb but I’m less a fan of people who try it on.

    PAY UP and move on, OH except in this case, you can’t.

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    1. DarrelKwong43

      agree, that’s the gamble of using PB

      sometimes it works, sometimes it does not.  If you want a no sale no fee set up, then use a traditional agent who has to build into their price a fee for all the vendors who waste their time.

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  9. GeorgeOrwell

     

    Remind me again – the Purplebricks LPE got paid their commission though? No clawback?

    Laughable Contract from Purplebricks

    Their LPE’s should have painted clown faces/clown suits when sitting with their next PB victim/customer

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    1. agent37

      The LPEs are now paid more on sale, so it’s in their interests to achieve a sale. It’s also in their interests to have satisfied customers, otherwise their ‘patch’ goes down the pan with reputation.

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  10. RealAgent

    So I think we really need to start pushing for how many properties Purple Bricks have been paid for but haven’t sold. We all know it’s the main reason they have never published the number of properties actually sold. I think it could be huge sums.

    Eye, with yourselves and some of the talented subscribers are you up to the task?

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    1. smile please

      I believe it would make a great public interest story. Some true investigative journalism. Maybe too much for PIE to take on but be good to see some real news in our industry instead of second hand news.

       

      What i would like to know is how many do Purplebricks SELL not how many sell that advertise with them. Too many sellers are being charged double. PB charge them, they do not sell so they instruct a local agent that sell it so pay double. This is the only way PB come up with the mad 80% list to sale ratio.

       

       

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      1. revilo

        Watchdog or similar?

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  11. MarketLeader101

    Request a copy of the contract from PB, if you don;t already have one.  Look at the fee payable….take it from there.  Don’t go crying to random people online about it.

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  12. padymagic

    I wonder if PB should register in the Gaming act?

    At the moment PB is more like a roulette wheel, bet on black or white (or purple I suppose)

    At least with on line betting you know the rules, you pay your money upfront and take your chances on winning or losing.

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  13. Rory Naughton Leeds

    People need to start reading contracts before they sign…. SIMPLE

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    1. smile please

      True but a morally corrupt sales person can mislead people and and redirect attention.

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  14. Andtheyareoff

    Hopefully this is the start of a process, the market is tougher, I am seeing more PB for sale boards than ever, not too many sold though.

    I have little sympathy for anyone that chooses to believe the hype, but the one thing that is certain, the people who want the cheapest fees are always the first to complain.

    I am sure that PB will be dealing with a few of these in the coming months, if this gathers pace then some serious questions might finally be asked.

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  15. HIT MAN

    The valuer said to me that I wouldn’t have to pay if my house didn’t sell they advised me just to ignore the emails as they were just standard and meant nothing.

    Ive hear that one before.

     

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  16. PeeBee

    “People need to start reading contracts before they sign…. “

    “…she signed a contract so knew exactly what she was or wasn’t getting.”

    “…a situation between Purplebricks and a customer who… can’t read T&C’s?” 

    Some people would do well reading a Guardian article I found online from March 2017.

    It confirms what we all know – that according to a joint study by US and UK Universities,

    “…nobody reads online contracts, license agreements, terms of service, privacy policies and other agreements.”

    No doubt ‘Michelle Lockwood’ will claim differently.  Will state categorically that the two professors are idiots, no doubt.  Her insight comes from the bottom of a bottle and everything is clear when you’re looking through one of those… innit.

    But for those who trust respected scholars over hopeless inebriates – there it is.

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  17. Mark Walker

    Purplebricks own blog on the website January 2019 (emphasis mine) – “Our latest TV advert heightens the feeling of commisery to epic proportions – with dramatic desperate and hilarious moments of regret of people who have paid needless commission when they could have chosen Purplebricks to SELL their home; and experienced no commisery or commission like you get with high street estate agents.”

    Purplebricks are as snide as possible about hiding the fact that the fee is payable regardless of selling a property.

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    1. Mothers Ruin

      Yes! Every High Street Agent in the land should contribute to a TV advert for using your traditional Estate Agent with the reverse commissary. That would be an eye opener for the general public and would ensure that they understood how it works for them. Or not as in this case.

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  18. rsvstu97

    I have no sympathy for either party. However, the more of this that occurs the better. Eventually if TPOS, ASA and TS grow some balls and deal with the misleading rhetoric it could severely damage PB future. Not holding my breath.

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  19. FormerBricker

    I can only speak for myself as a former LPE, but I followed a strict process when handling valuations to make sure there was no ambiguity. I called all sellers to introduce myself as soon as possible after being notified of the booking. During that ‘pre-call’, they would often ask questions about the fees and their liability to pay, and if at that point they made it clear it was not something they could commit to, I would wish them well and recommend them to any of the local ‘conventional’ agents I know and respect (and no – there was no kick-back!) In the valuation itself, I would go through all of the scenarios making it clear again, and what their obligations would be if they opted for the deferred payment scheme. After the valuation, I would send a detailed email re-confirming – again – the entire process. Simple, good housekeeping which avoided any misunderstanding, and I know that the majority of my colleagues adopted a similar process. It’s a shame that the PB-bashers continually focus on the very small number of incidents like this (and of course the poor TrustPilot reviews) compared to the vast majority of problem-free sales, happy customers, and thousands of positive reviews!

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    1. MrIndependent

      Where do you work now?

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  20. LetItGo

    Public need to wake up….if you put your car on Autotrader you pay up front and the advert runs for a period of time – no-one complains to Autotrader when it doesn’t sell? Whilst Autotrader may even suggest a price to sell your car they really don’t care if it sells or not. In fact they would rather it didn’t then they car re-advertise. Autotrader is an advertiser of cars not a seller.

    So PB, whats the difference except its a house?

    Report
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