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Just caught the end of watchdog article on Purple Bricks. Sharp practice. Allegedly the future of estate agency is online. Makes you wonder?
Ive said it not long ago, their shares were priced for perfection and perfect they are not...
Some context to the original post:Source - Property Industry EyePurplebricks this morning issued a statement to the Stock Exchange following yesterday’s You and Yours, and Watchdog programmes.
It reads as follows:
The Board of Purplebricks Group plc notes the recent share price movement.
The Group was the subject of two BBC features on Wednesday 2 August relating principally to the clarity of the deferred payment facility available to customers, the Group’s compliance with a recent Advertising Standards Association (“ASA&rdquo ruling, and alleged exaggerated claims by some of its Local Property Experts about levels of instructions and/or sales they had obtained.
The Board is confident that disclosure of the terms and nature of the deferred payment facility, provided by Close Brothers, are clear and transparent. The registration and acceptance process of the facility has been reviewed by the Property Ombudsman and by the Trading Standards Institute and no issues were raised or changes requested. The Group has received complaints relating to the payment terms and facility from only 0.2 per cent of customers.
Furthermore, from the last 47,000 facility agreements entered into by customers only two complaints were considered by the Financial Ombudsman and in both cases neither were upheld.
The purpose of the facility is to offer Purplebricks’ customers an alternative to immediate payment on instruction, and the majority of customers take up this option. The facility comes with no additional cost or interest to the customer.
In the context of the small number of cases where customer feedback has indicated that the disclosure does not match Purplebricks’ high standards for transparency, the Group has nevertheless committed to enhance the clarity of its notification to customers accordingly.
With regard to the ASA ruling, Purplebricks has previously sought to quantify to potential customers in its marketing literature the levels of savings that they might on average achieve based on publicly available data, such as the Which survey on estate agent commission levels. In a ruling in 2016, the ASA requested that Purplebricks no longer refer in its marketing to an indicative average saving, based on the premise that this could prove misleading.
The Group had in any case already decided to remove references to this figure from its marketing materials. The BBC drew attention to examples of a standard email format that inadvertently still included the savings figure. The Group immediately removed this reference and apologises for this oversight.
The BBC also aired claims that certain LPEs have provided exaggerated instructions and/or sales figures for their respective areas.
Whilst Purplebricks has not had access to the precise data and areas being reviewed by the BBC, the Board believes that the figures provided by the LPEs concerned have fairly reflected the performance of the teams operating in those areas. However, the Group has committed to ensure through its ongoing training that LPEs are clear about the statistics that they use and the territories and postcodes to which they are referring.
Michael Bruce, founder and Chief Executive of Purplebricks, commented: “The Board and the Group are committed to the highest levels of customer service and disclosure, and we believe this is reflected in the business’ sales growth and the high levels of customer satisfaction evidenced by its 23,000 Trustpilot reviews with an average score of 9.5 and its rating of Excellent. The Group is the most positively reviewed estate agent in the UK.
“We seek to satisfy and surpass our regulatory obligations at all times, and where we find circumstances where we have fallen short we seek to rectify these situations at the earliest opportunity. The Purplebricks’ offering has already saved consumers in the UK tens of millions of pounds when selling their properties, and we are focused on building on this position still further.”
general operations director, site owner and moderator - propertytribes.com
Purplebricks director with a well timed share sale a few days before the BBC report!
Some reactions from twitter:
Vanessa Warwick Landlord and Co-Founder of PropertyTribes.com **If you have got value from Property Tribes, find out how you can support it in remaining a free to use community resource**
What I didn't understand about the PB set up is that the vendor is offered a loan if they defer payment? I don't get it, I mean most EA work on the basis of no sale no fee, are they basically no sale then there still is a fee?
Yeah that's the basic idea - even if you don't sell you have to pay them, although I think it might not be for awhile that you have to cough up. Still, you have to pay either way. The CEO's argument I believe is that the idea of 'no win no fee' most agencies use is unfair to people who do sell because they subsidise all the people who put their property on the market and don't actually sell.
I'm not opposed to online agents - have used eMoov myself and it worked well - but I wouldn't use Purple Bricks for the above reason, I just can't see the incentive for them to do anything if they've already been assured they're getting your money. We had a Purple Bricks local expert over to our last property and I wasn't impressed with him. I'm not sure if this is still true but at the time we looked into it they also charged more than the other online agents.
Hi yes the fee is £849 inclusive and you pay after ten months if the property has not sold. In our area you can put it up for thirty months before it costs more than a local agent ,if on the market that long something seriously wrong with the property or price.We find purple bricks conveniant, as we are happy to do our own viewings and negotiations.You can buy a viewing package for a further £300. So far we have sold two houses ,both for more than the local estate agencys had them on for and could not sell, as the sales team did not seem very enthusiastic about selling. Advantages over traditional agents you can talk to your prospective buyers without all the waiting of going through the agents and waiting days for an answer, its a lot quicker and we found a lot easier without all the fuss, all our viewings took place in the evenings and weekends when most agents in our area are closed bookings for viewings online came mainly late evenings ,and one your couple we sold to were surprised the phone was answered after eleven by a person picking up the phone Jo are local PB person, is really on the ball and answers texts quickly supplying comparable to help pricing etc.
Having tried online agents for the first time to turn around our developments, would I go back to the high street no unlikely as the last lot messed us around to much.Fantastically automated and an app which is really easy to use
Just to set the record straight I don't have any commercial connection to them apart from using there sales machine
yeah I'm sure there are good local PB people - but the one who came around to our place didn't seem to be among them - he was covering a massive patch of London (too big to be an expert in my area imo) and also when I asked for his valuation he just asked what other agents had said and then said 'well that's the right price then if that's what they said'.
My ex-partner used purplebricks to sell her house, and she thought they were marvellous. I understand some of their systems need polishing. The main issue is that you pay upfront so they potentially have little reason to want to sell your house, but the overall concept is genius.