Romans has hit out at reviews site allAgents after being ‘named’ as the second worst-rated agency on the controversial site.
It said is “disappointed but not surprised” at the ranking but says it has been encouraging its customers to drop the reviews site for some time in favour of Feefo and Google.
Romans, which has repeatedly won many industry awards, told EYE yesterday evening that it will be looking into the negative reviews it has received on the site and “taking any necessary actions”.
Vincent Courney, managing director of sales, said: “Although disappointed, we are not surprised that our rating on allAgents Reviews has come out lower than we would have hoped.
“We are aware that in recent years we have moved away from asking our customers to use this site. As a result, in the last six months we have only received 25 reviews on allAgents.
“We instead measure our customers’ satisfaction using Feefo and Google and in the last six months received 480 reviews across the two platforms.
“We encourage anyone thinking of using Romans to review our scores on the aforementioned sites where we have scored 4.5/5 stars on Feefo and 4.2/5 stars on Google.
“We made the conscious decision to utilise Feefo and Google over allAgents as we felt they were both widely recognised by the public as being trusted, independent review sites, with Feefo offering the added bonus of only genuine customers being invited to comment.”
Romans’ statement suggested that it is readying itself to take a similar approach to allAgents as the stance adopted by Purplebricks.
The response came as allAgents revealed what it judged to be the best-rated and worst-rated firms on its website over the past year, according to the reviews posted there.
Yesterday, it listed the five ‘best’ as:
1. Bradleys Estate Agents
2. Ryder & Dutton
4. Manning Stainton
5. Reeds Rains
Purplebricks, with which allAgents has been engaged in a public legal dispute over the legitimacy of its reviews, topped the list of the ‘worst’ rated companies on the allAgents site.
The ‘worst’ list is:
3. Entwistle Green
4. Farrell Heyworth
5. Goodchilds Estate Agents
Late last year, allAgents reinstated reviews of Purplebricks on its site after a period of removal which followed legal letters questioning the authenticity of a number of the reviews.
Purplebricks has been using Trustpilot, where it has around 35,000 reviews listed, and also announced the launch of a second review platform with Feefo starting early this year.
At the time, it said: “In the overall scheme of things allAgents is now listing just 73 reviews of Purplebricks (which may or may not be authentic), covering a period of over three years, which represents just 0.07% of the over 100,000 customers Purplebricks has acted for since it was founded.”
Purplebricks declined to comment about the rankings released by allAgents yesterday.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Belvoir, which owns the Goodchilds brand and which is a sister company to Northwood which scores well on allAgents, said: “Goodchilds is a small west midlands-based network that is 100% franchise operated.
“The Belvoir Group acquired the network in October 2015 and is currently in the process of rebranding the Goodchilds offices to either Belvoir or Newton Fallowell.
“A renewed focus on generating genuine, positive reviews will become part of this rebranding process in the coming months, as their trading style changes to be in line with their new respective brand.”
Entwistle Green and Farrell Heyworth have also been approached by EYE for comment.
Alongside its lists of the best- and worst-rated agents on the site, allAgents also made the accusation that more than a quarter of estate agents get property valuations “completely wrong” in the view of consumers.
It claimed that of the vendors who posted reviews on its site in 2017, 27% thought agents were “way off the mark” when it came to valuing their home, up from 20% in 2016.
AllAgents claimed 60,000 consumers posted reviews on its site last year.
AllAgents also claimed that 38% were unhappy with the fees they were charged, up from 30% in 2016.
Martin McKenzie of allAgents said: “When a consumer gives a negative score for valuation accuracy, this means the estate agent has got it completely wrong.
“Everyone accepts a little wiggle room over price, but this sizable increase in valuation dissatisfaction is extremely worrying for the consumer and the industry as a whole.
“If estate agents are getting it so wide of the mark, questions need to be asked about why they’re overvaluing a property so significantly. Are they doing it to try and secure the business? Or because they don’t have a proper grasp of the real state of the market?
“There are clearly some rogue agents out there, trying to deceive vendors by hiking valuations in order to get their business.”
Meanwhile, McKenzie, whose site claims to have seen a 23% increase in traffic in 2017, said the increase in the number of consumers who were unhappy with fees was a “very worrying trend which the industry needs to address”.