Reviews site allAgents pulls out of ‘peace talks’ with Purplebricks – but online agent gives own version of events

Reviews site allAgents has pulled out of talks with Purplebricks which had been held to try and settle the dispute between them over their ‘fake’ reviews row.

allAgents said it withdrew from the negotiations yesterday afternoon.

However, Purplebricks yesterday evening delivered its own strongly-worded version of events, saying that allAgents had been given a week-long opportunity to substantiate 26 reviews it had submitted as being suspect – but failed to do so.

Purplebricks says that, for example, it has queried reviews naming Local Property Experts in certain locations when no such LPE with that name operates there.

A spokesperson told us: “allAgents have had these 26 reviews for one week – presumably they must have had a look at the reviews in the week and if they were genuine would have taken great pleasure in making this fact public to cause maximum embarrassment.

“The fact they have instead chosen to pull out of talks tells you everything.”

The saga was updated yesterday when allAgents issued a short statement saying: “allAgents can confirm that at 2.30pm today, we withdrew from our talks with Purplebricks regarding the negative reviews hosted on our website and the suspension of their account.

“A more detailed statement will be released in the next few days.”

Within hours, Purplebricks released its own statement, saying: “The situation with allAgents has arisen because we were concerned that there were fake reviews on their website and so we performed an audit of the published reviews.

“Last week we sent a sample of these reviews for allAgents to substantiate and verify.

“The reviews included a range of characteristics that suggested to us that they were not legitimate; for instance, the LPE referred to in the review did not actually work in the area or postcode concerned and the email address did not match any known customer of Purplebricks.

“To date we have received no response from allAgents as to their legitimacy or verification. Nor have we been provided with any means of identification by allAgents such that we can authenticate that the authors were customers of ours.

“As the publishers of these reviews, we hope that allAgents will provide this information so that we can quickly resolve this matter and we can all move on.

“We have provided them with all of the information they need to do so.

“As we have said on many occasions, we have no problem with genuine reviews or reviewers, and actively encourage a wide-ranging, robust and extensive review process through Trustpilot, which now has feedback from over 31,000 customers.”

The altercation began when allAgents was accused by Purplebricks of hosting a number of bogus reviews plus others which could not be authenticated.

Purplebricks said it had done an audit of reviews and found that 29% were false and a further 23% could not be substantiated.

allAgents said it received legal letters as a result of which it first pulled the reviews, and then after further legal letters, the Purplebricks page.

allAgents maintained at the time that it requested a copy of the audit so it could investigate the claims.

But Purplebricks’ lawyers declined, saying their client “did not want to be put to further unnecessary costs”.

allAgents countered: “We’re puzzled by this comment, as they claim to already have done the work. Furthermore their lawyers’ letters keep coming. Again, we call on Purplebricks to provide us with the results of this audit.

“If they don’t, we can only assume that it simply doesn’t exist.”

The site then went on to crowdfund, attempting to raise £50,000 in its fight against what it called “corporate bullying”. The money would have been used for any legal costs should Purplebricks have instituted legal action.

However, allAgents narrowly failed to raise enough money – getting £45,380 from 197 supporters.

allAgents told EYE yesterday evening that it nevertheless plans to reinstate both the page and the reviews in the coming days.

It did not however say when it exactly plans to do so.

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30 Comments

  1. smile please

    Who made PurpleBricks regulators? All agents business.

    Maybe we should give PurpleBricks X days to give us information we want.

    PB shown for what they are. Bully’s.

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    1. Curious george

      i Couldn’t agree more. Purplebricks trying to regulate the review industry. Maybe they should change their name to Bullybricks. It would be interesting to see what the money market makes of all this.

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  2. Essjaydee51

    What a shambles, there is still a lot to be disclosed and settled here but it looks as though pb has the edge but my advise to whomever was the arbitrator is to not give up their day job!

    Lets not forget pb might be strong arming today but unless you have short memories peeps, allagents were a nightmare to deal with when they started and so I’m surprised they even got close to the target, I guess what goes around huh.

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  3. cyberduck46

    It is right that anybody can make somebody else prove the truth of damaging comments published by them. Allagents can take responsibility for them or absolve themselves by complying with the Defamation Act 2013 and providing the identity of the people who posted on their site.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  4. PropConsult73

    Not that I am for one second defending Purplebricks, however AllAgents is a massively flawed review site.   I know of so many agents that used to demand their staff, get them and their relatives to leave glowing reviews for their agency and poor ones for the competitors.   AllAgents withdrawal from the table smacks of knowing they’ve met their match.   Lets be honest, the only reviews most customers are interested in, is the one of family and friends and personal recommendations.  Anything else is smoke and mirrors!

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    1. fluter

      We pay to use Feefo and leave everything to them. We have absolutely no control over the reviews they publish after they have contacted our sellers, buyers, landlords and tenants, AFTER A DEAL HAS COMPLETED, so you get a full overview of the WHOLE journey cycle with us. No smoke and mirrors here so please do not tarnish everyone with the same brush PropConsultant73

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      1. DonShore93

        Do your clients not ask you ‘why Feefo not Google?’.

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  5. MrLister

    Cue the deluge of anti-PB comments. As usual most will be the poster’s own imagined version of the facts and their own biased take on an article.

    I can’t actually see what PB have done wrong here. I’ve no doubt the contributors on PIE will read see this differently because it’s PB and for no other reason. If it were a small chain of independents raising concerns you’d probably all back them.

    I think there’s a fair bit of jealousy out there that PB have the passion and motivation to see the benefits of asking and getting reviews from customers. We always ask for reviews. Why wouldn’t you? But that’s the point. Most of you don’t! It’s tough out there and we should be using every tool at our disposal yet a poll of the 15 agents covering my area shows that 9 have no reviews on allAgents or Trustpilot. No doubt they are also PB bashers.

    Right, a full day of valuations and selling all the benefits of using my busy high street office. And I bet I get through it without knocking or making up stories about any of my competition.

    The answer to the PB/online threat to our businesses is to raise our game and polish up on the way we do business. It’s not to launch into jealous rants because PB have the business sense (and money) to do things we don’t or can’t.

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    1. Property Pundit

      All I can take from your post is that you’d probably rather be an LPE, someone already taken your patch?

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      1. MrLister

        Nope, very happy (and successful) in the high street mate!

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    2. wardy

      ” jealous rants because PB have the business sense (and money) to do things we don’t or can’t.”

      How about the word REFUSE? As in I refuse to win business by misleading customers or I refuse to give money to a sham website like trustpilot.

       

       

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    3. chrisyboy1976

      What I like about all agents is the fact that it gives the agent the opportunity to respond to the review.

      If they believe the review is bogus why don’t they respond to it saying so and saying that no such “local property expert” covers that area, I would expect that if the reviewer is in fact genuine then they will respond again and if not they will be shown to be bogus. OK so there were a lot of us unhappy when all agents set up because it was set up by a disgruntled vendor and was slanted towards slating estate agents, as it has matured it has turned into a genuine review site where people can air their views.

      I personally reply to all reviews on the site for my office no matter what the star level is, either thanking them, or trying to explain what may have gone wrong but it is very easy for me to do so as I know every single person who has dealt with us.

      Where I have an issue is the fact that PB encourage people to right them a trustpilot review at the valuation / instruction stage at which point if the Vendor is fee focused (why else would they instruct PB) then at they point they feel they have got a bargain and are happy to give them a 5 start review, but lets be honest at that point they have not received a service, they may never get the service they have already agreed to pay for but by the time they realise that, it is too late and they have already given a 5 star review. I personally think that this makes a total mockery of the whole reviewing process!

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      1. DonShore93

        As do Google (right of the business to respond). So why would any business use an independent – and virtually invisible by comparison with Google – site? How do you respond to a potential client when asked that question?

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    4. DonShore93

      I don’t think PB or Trustpilot come out of this smelling of roses – PB are alleged to have manipulated the system (by, again: allegedly, only inviting reviews from those that complete) but look like they became frustrated at the number of negatives that were making their way onto Trustpilot (nearly a thousand last time I looked).

      Getting involved with PB has done Trustpilot no favours – perhaps they pulled out?

      It will be interesting to see how PB get on with Feefo.

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  6. ama18

    I’m struggling with this one . Why is A billion pound company with 31,000 reviews on Trustpilot spending so much time forcing a review website to remove 26 negative reviews ?? Surely prospective customers must be reading all this and thinking what the hell is going on with them. This saga must be  affecting their business. PB remember you have got shareholders wanting a return for their investment and homeowners wanting their homes sold. Focus your attention on that!

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    1. smile please

      Because PB is in essence the ‘Emperors New Clothes’ – They are afraid that their carefully executed manipulation of the public and investors will be uncovered for what it really is.

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      1. MrLister

        Honestly…..what on earth are you talking about!? Paranoia or what.
        “carefully executed manipulation of the public”. What planet?
        All this PB nonsense is getting out of hand!

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        1. Property Pundit

          Then DON’T read it – Simples!

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    2. Property Pundit

      Next they’ll be going after mumsnet and aspokesmansaid, some pretty unflattering views of PB on there.

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      1. Chris Wood

        Comment of the day

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    3. DonShore93

      Because those reviews show up in search in California, is my guess!

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  7. Property Paddy

    I imagine PB are protecting their share price and negative reviews will harm this.

    FY Information according to ritemove PB have a 1.7% market share in my territory for 2017

     

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  8. proagent54

    If PB were to get poor Google reviews would they be threatening them as they are AllAgents…….maybe that would be a fight the school bully wouldnt wish to take on as they would probably end up with a black eye!

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    1. Chris Wood

      Almost impossible to find them on Google if you are a customer wanting to leave a review. In* Convenient.
      *Delete as applicable to your point of view.

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    2. DonShore93

      Try searching for ‘Purplebricks London’ and see what comes up!

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  9. Estate_Agent_Memes

    The whole “review site industry” is a load of cr@p. Facebook reviews are probably the best reflection of an agent out there. This is why some of the faceless corporates AND PB have removed the option for customers to review them on their Facebook pages. This tells it’s own story guys.

    Review Companies EARNING MONEY from reviews – come on, this is never going to be fair as without reviews (enough good ones for their paying clients) they will be out of business, Facebook, on the other hand, won’t be.

    Just follow @peebee on twitter and you will never consider Trustpilot as a credible company ever again!!

     

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    1. spin2009

      As a “case in point” I recently left a review for a product that I had bought and was satisfied with.

      The review site initially rejected it and “impressively” asked for an invoice/order number, by way of verification, that I then provided.

      “Pinch me” if it wasn’t rejected again.

      I now no longer respond to surveys and review requests as they are pointless and time consuming.

       

       

       

       

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  10. Thomas Flowers

    SORRY, THIS POST HAS BEEN REMOVED PENDING JUMP THROUGH HOOP VERIFICATION AND THEN FEE RE-NEGOTIATION IF THE AFOREMENTIONED FAILS AND IS UNLIKELY TO RE-APPEAR.

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  11. AnotherPlanet365

    Where do I start my review of Purplebricks

    I can’t find anything positive to say about them

    So, just a 2 word review of Purplebricks – Fffeck Off

    Juvenille I know, however Purplebricks are full of Sh******te

    If they conducted themselves professionally then they would have a right to make challenges however they forfeited that right the moment they started spinning

    In my opinion they are no more than Shabby Property Listers who grossly overcharge for what they offer

    What happens now? The PurplePolice arrive at my door and tell me I have no right to Free Speech!

    It’s time that every single Purpkebricks Review was independently investigated and verified and that would hopefully produce a truthful reflection of their business performance, notwithstanding ALL PURPLEBRICKS REVIEWS should be made after their full service has been provided and the client has either SOLD or NOT!

    This “review my PurpleBurger in a bag before you taste/eat it” is NONSENSE! Every single Purplebricks Review is unreliable in my view if one is asked to review & score an incomplete service/performance.

    TrustPilots performance in this whole Purplebricks saga is lamentable, in MY opinion.

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