Tepilo, the online agent launched by TV presenter Sarah Beeny, has come under fire for its Trustpilot reviews.
The Daily Mail said that the Tepilo site hid bad reviews “despite a deluge of poor feedback”.
It said that ratings shown on Tepilo were all four or five stars, but that when users visit Trustpilot, there are many less favourable reports, with the mean rating at about 3.6.
However, Tepilo has robustly defended itself.
Yesterday, a spokesperson said: “Our four and five-star reviews are displayed on a web page clearly labelled as testimonials.
“As is the nature of testimonials, these reviews represent the strongest positive comments about the business that we’ve had in the course of selling hundreds of houses already this year, saving each of our customers thousands of pounds in fees.
“We also clearly link to the full set of reviews on Trustpilot for anyone to see. Three-quarters of our reviews are four-star and above.
“Whilst Trustpilot give our site a rating of ‘great’ we would love it to be better, and are working hard in our rapidly growing business to continue to improve our customer experience which we have every confidence will be reflected in future reviews.
“We value all of our reviews and respond to all, investigating and resolving anywhere our customers tell us we have fallen short of our own high expectations.”
Tepilo is the second online agent to refute criticism over its ratings. Purplebricks has also defended itself after suggestions that its Facebook reviews were less positive than its Trustpilot ones.
Beeny set up Tepilo in 2009, originally as a direct for sale by owner platform, before relaunching it as an agent and therefore able to advertising properties on Rightmove.
Yesterday lunchtime on Trustpilot, EYE found after an initial batch of excellent reviews, there was a string of criticisms.
A one-star review from one user said there was total lack of contact unless initiated by the customer, who also claimed that it was only after he paid £780 upfront that he was told it was compulsory to use their conveyancing service.
He concluded: “I expected to have to cover the cost of the photos, floorplan and EPC but the rest is just highway robbery. Tepilo have offered no help since taking my money and think they are using this format of ‘estate agency’ as an internet cash cow.”
Emily@Tepilo responded to say that Tepilo would take the feedback seriously and would investigate the points made.
Another one-star rating was headed: “Little contact and tie you into a hopeless conveyancer.”
A reviewer who gave Tepilo a two-star rating complained of “delays and poor communication”.
Ironically, a review who gave Tepilo a good four-star rating nevertheless complained that “once an offer was received and accepted there was no real management and we had to contact Tepilo ourselves for information regarding the sale and progression. We actually received more information from our vendor’s estate agent . . . Even now we have moved in we have heard nothing from Tepilo and our property still shows as for sale on their website”.
Each review on Trustpilot that we looked at yesterday had a response from Tepilo.
On Tepilo’s own site yesterday, there were one four-star review and three five-star reviews displayed on the home page, one of which said: “I sincerely recommend Tepilo, you receive the support and customer service you need which you need without the unnecessary harassment you would get from a local estate agent trying to meet their sales quota.”
The other reviews on the Tepilo site were all four and five stars.