Complaint about Purplebricks ‘pay later’ option informally resolved by advertising watchdog

A complaint about Purplebricks has been informally resolved by the Advertising Standards Authority.

The complaint related to the “What’s included in our fixed fee?” section of the Purplebricks website.

A complainant objected that the website did not make clear that if customers use “A choice to pay nothing upfront” option they will have to pay an admin fee of £360 if they do not use the recommended conveyancing service.

Purplebricks agreed to put the qualification shown in the box by ‘i’ as per this screengrab.

Also informally resolved were complaints against estate agents Space 4 Living and MK Property Services.

MK Property Services had run a draw for a bathroom make-over on Facebook but a complainant challenged that there was a geographical restriction on entry not given in the terms and conditions; that the closing date had been extended; and the prizes may not have been awarded in accordance with the change.

The ASA said it received written assurances that any future promotions would clearly set out terms and conditions; the closing date would not be changed unless unavoidable; and that it would clearly demonstrate that the winner was chosen at random.

Space 4 Living had advertised two flats to rent, using images of a ‘show flat’. A complainant said the pictures did not reflect the actual properties which were smaller.

The firm gave the ASA an assurance that future advertising would accurately reflect the property on offer.

A website, Property Collection Worldwide, was also reported to the ASA, with the complaint informally resolved.

The complainant said the claim “UK’s leading estate agents marketing specialists” was misleading. The website agreed to remove the word ‘leading’.

Also informally resolved was a complaint about a TV advert by the Financial Conduct Authority which showed the disembodied head of Arnie Schwarzenegger.

The advert featured the head on caterpillar wheels, reminding people that the deadline to claim for mis-sold PPI expires next August.

However, it was aired during daytime and prompted complaints that it was frightening to children.

A spokesperson for the ASA said: “As the ad did not have any timing restrictions, it was included during some daytime programming. We approached the advertisers with these concerns.

“We received an assurance that they would no longer buy television advertising slots for this ad scheduled around children’s programming to minimise children’s exposure to the ad.”

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42 Comments

  1. Peter Ambrose (The Partnership)

    Thought that I’d beat the rush for comments on PurpleBricks and get my tuppeny worth in first.

    Is it just me, but surely consumers should be somewhat surprised that an “administration fee” can be charged for *not* doing something, amounts to over £300 – nearly 50% of the listing fee?

    We charge an administration fee of £35 for processing bank payments – believe me – these are far more time consuming than you can believe – and get pushback on this …

    We need some of that PurpleBricks Cool-Aid!

    Peter

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    1. Bless You

      ‘Purplebricks agreed ‘  With a hidden pop up box… ffs    ??  If i had a pound for  for every misleading statement that was resolved internally about pb by asa,  i would have a bentley by now…just like Woodford and Bruce have got…

       

      mmm  ,,is there any moral to this story??  Been 3 years now and nobody is protecting our industry or the public.

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  2. jeremy1960

    Oh! Informally resolved! Again?

    Smacks of brown envelopes.

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  3. AgentV

    The whole thing is just a way of charging extra money isn’t it, either through the conveyancing kick back fee (the customer paying a higher than normal charge for the service) or administration charge, whilst trying to hide it.

    In reality it should be at the front end included in the overall fee, since it will be the most used method picked by customers.

    #cynical marketing

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    1. Bless You

      I have started a FREE Estate Agents in Greece…   yeah…   You dont pay any fee’s you just pay for my time by the hour… ( but i dont tell the customer that until after they sign up with me.
      SO its definatly FREE unless i do anything remotly estate agency..you know like ring buyers, do viewings  umm, call a solictor..
       
       

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      1. AgentV

        I still like the idea of a business in Greece!

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  4. Anonymous Agent

    A small i that most people won’t click on or hover on is now satisfactory is it? Perhaps I’ll put my landlord fees on display in my office under a pot plant.

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    1. gk1uk2001

      “Perhaps I’ll put my landlord fees on display in my office under a pot plant.”

       

      Best.Reply.Ever.

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  5. Thomas Flowers

    Is this ‘admin fee’ really a deferred payment fee and should, therefore, be promoted boldly and compellingly with £300 viewing service and the fee is payable regardless of sale?

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    1. PeeBee

      “Is this ‘admin fee’ really a deferred payment fee…?”

      In a nutshell, no.

      It’s a mandatory exit-clause payment for a vendor to buy themselves out of using PB-nominated solicitors – who pay them an equivalent amount in referral fees.

      As Close Brothers have their own ‘methods’ of recouping the monies that are owed to them by vendors in their “it is NOT a loan” (credit: Michael Bruce) relationship with the Purple Painsters; and the deferred payment / NOT-a-loan may well become due before the property sells (if, indeed, it actually sells at all), there will be no requirement for the solicitor to settle this NOT-loan in many cases.

      ASA know this. I am at a loss as to why, then, they have agreed to settle with their famed “informal resolution” and are not protecting the public they serve from this blatant misleading – hidden behind a tiny Purple pop-up… in equally tiny font.

      Beggars belief.

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      1. BrandNew

        There are those who believe that the ASA is corrupt and/or scared of PB’s lawyers. Their decisions only lead some to think the worst of them………

        I couldn’t possibly comment.

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      2. MrLister

        PeeBee. Get your facts right before you post. PB don’t use Close Brothers and when they did there were no credit checks and no interest charged. I’m no expert but that doesn’t sound like a loan agreement anyway. As I keep saying, us high street agents need to up our game, not make up stories about PB to suit our own agenda.

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        1. PeeBee

          MrLister / P J

          “Get your facts right before you post.”

          I do – and they are, thank you.

          “PB don’t use Close Brothers…” 

          Allow me to add what you judged prudent to omit

          “…as of recently. VERY recently.”  Yes – we know that, thank you.

          “PB don’t use Close Brothers and when they did there were no credit checks and no interest charged. I’m no expert but that doesn’t sound like a loan agreement anyway.”

          I didn’t say it was a loan – did I?

          I actually quoted your partner’s grave and cheerless PurpleLeader verbatim when he stressed more than once to the millions of viewers on BBC Watchdog “it is NOT a loan”.  Hey – who am I to argue?

          The only people who seem to disagree were a company by the name of Close Brothers Limited – who wrote to PurpleBricks customers who took out one of these not-loan agreements… and bu99ered that nice cosy idea up by calling the not-loan a “Close Brothers Retail Finance Loan Agreement” on the head of the letter.

          Tsk – some people, huh?

          Now, of course, The PurpleBricks not-loan is being ‘facilitated’ by Specialist Lending Limited.  Pretty ironic name, that, don’t you think?  You know – them having the word “Lending” in their name and this being a NOT-loan and all?

          But the reason they didn’t enter into the post above is that, as they are such new kids on the PurpleBlock, none of their NOT-loans have matured yet – so let’s bring them into the equation sometime in 2018 when the #CONmisery complaints start coming in with their name on them, shall we?

          “As I keep saying, us high street agents need to up our game, not make up stories about PB to suit our own agenda.”

          Who is making up anything?  Show us who, and where it is that they are doing it, please.

          And I don’t know about YOUR agenda – but mine is to do everything I can to protect the industry and the public it serves.

          Shouldn’t that be everyone’s agenda, MrLister/P J/whoever else you wish to post as?

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  6. David M

    Whilst I am not n expert in this field I would say that this again highlights the “Gamble” that is using a ADVERTISING company rather than a SELLING company.

    As such I would say that any company that charges a fee with no guarantee of success/return should be enforced to highlight how successful they are before anybody parts with cash.

    In that way I would recommend something similar to fruit machines ;  they are obliged to clearly display the percentage return-to-player figure (% RTP), or the odds of winning a prize.

     

    Also I wonder if we have been mis-reading what PB refer to as “sales” – could it be a successful sale to them is when someone purchases their service and not the sale of a property….

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    1. dompritch134

      Yet they sold billions of pounds of property including marketing and facilitating the transaction.
      Saving thousands for people including me from extortionate fees from high street agents.

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      1. David M

        So Dom you have sold a property through PB?

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        1. dompritch134

          Yes I have and saved thousand in fees, achieved my full asking price and was delighted with their service.

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          1. David M

            Great  – Me too.
            I would love if you could answer a few questions for me – it’s great analysis.   (Obviouusly we need to be 100% truthful otherwise it’s not going to help anyone)
            1.  In the Interests of fairness could you advise who you work for ; just want to make sure we are being transparent.
            2.  How many other agents did you speak to before deciding to list with PB? and who?
            3.  What Prices did the they other agents sya to market at?  and what fee would they charge?
            4.  What did PB LPE say? or did they take your valuation?
            5.  What did you sell for?
            6.  What package did you go for with PB?
             
            Thanks in advance!!
             

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            1. dompritch134

              I will answer your questions but you need to answer mine.
              1. Myself
              2. 3 high street inc, bairstow eves, leading independent and small independent 
              3. Ranging from £445 – £460k 1.25% plus vat
              4. The LPE worked previous for haart for 10 years and moved to PB for better work8ng conditions. Valued at £460k
              5. £460k
              6. Pay upfront.
               
              my questions to you
              1. Who do you work for or business you own?
               
               

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              1. David M

                Thanks for this.
                I am going to make a few assumptions, feel free to correct me if I get anything wrong.
                You currently (or have very recently) worked in the property industryYou conducted the viewings yourself  – perhaps, like me, you believed you could do a better job than LPE on viewings.You had a view of the market value of the property prior to asking the estate agents to visit.You are either an LPE or currently have an interest in Purplebricks such as shares etc.
                So using this theory if you had engaged a High Street agent and told them you would not accept a penny under £467,000 (presuming it’s outside of London or £466,000 inside London)  – not only would you have been better off but you wouldn’t have risked being left out of pocket.
                As for me I am simply an employee of a small indempendent firm in central London, having worked in Agency for the last 15+ years.
                Thanks for the chit chat though, very interesting.
                 

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          2. AgencyInsider

            Good for you dom. Delighted you had such a good experience. Now, do you think you could stop acting like a stuck record? You have made your point countless times and we all know exactly where you stand in relation to Purplebricks. It has become SO boring. Would be good if you backed off and left us delusional old trad agents to bitch and moan to each other about Bricks and any other disruptor/game changer.

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            1. dompritch134

              Don’t like it dont read it.
               
               

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              1. Bless You

                Ban Dom in the name of #FAKEDOM.
                 

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            2. Property Pundit

              I love a mystery as much as the next person – Area 51, Loch Ness Monster, Shergar, Bermuda Triangle, etc, etc – but one I can’t get my head around is why Dom spends any of his valuable time on here. As you say, it’s now a broken record. Those of us who are actually involved in the industry are inevitably going to bite back, on here and in real life., when faced with an ‘interruptor’ business (sorry I don’t regard them as a disruptor because they won’t last in their current form). Dom clearly has little understanding and appreciation of the nature of competition in business, agents were never going to roll over without a fight. He probably thinks they should.

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  7. dompritch134

    I would like to see who the One single complainant is each time?

    No doubt a high street moaner.

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    1. AgencyInsider

      Keep it up dom. You are excelling yourself.

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      1. dompritch134

        Check the ruilings out yourself, it is one single complainant.

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        1. AgencyInsider

          No it isn’t. Here is just one example with multiple complainants.
          https://www.asa.org.uk/rulings/purplebricks-group-plc-a17-384367.html

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          1. Bless You

            Dominic Pritchard

            Add Friend
            More Options

            Lap-dance at Stripper
             
             
            think i’ve found him on facebook…. 

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  8. davehedgehog

    Dom,

    You say you are not in the industry, you say you don’t work for PB and you are not a shareholder but you are on this site day in-day out slagging off estate agents…May i ask what is the ‘obsession’…Did one upset you as a child?

    I’ve googled to see if there is a word for ‘hate/fear estate agents’ you know, like ‘arachnophobia’ but there isn’t, so it must just be you.

    Have you ever bought a pair of trainers at say ‘JD Sports’ and then seen them £2.75 cheaper in Sportsdirect and then hassled the **** out of them month on month? I’m sorry I just don’t get it.

    If you don’t like us, don’t use us, it’s that simple.

    Do you live alone Dom (probably), or is there someone you can speak to about this. Get a mirror Dom and have a good, good look at yourself and ask ‘Why am I doing this?’ ‘Why do I have this hate of Estate Agents’?’

    Or are there other professions you despise? Do you go on other professions websites and slag them off? I’m just trying to help Dom!

    Oh and lastly, don’t ask me to lose my anonymity and give you my real name because i won’t….I don’t want you smashing up  my front door with an axe yelling ‘HERE’S DOMMY’.

    Good luck with it all mate.

     

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    1. AgencyInsider

      Comment of the year davehedgehog. A work of pure genius.

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    2. dompritch134

      Hi Dave headgehog bit weird name.
      I don’t hate anyone, but personal attacks is showing you up sir.
      If I hold views which are in direct contrast to your own, this does not mean I hate you. 
      If I wish to make points which are not in line with the masses does not mean I’m irrational.
      If I deal daily with estate agents which I do, it means I do have a vested interest in the subject.
       

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      1. davehedgehog

        Thank You Agencyinsider…Ok Dom, fair enough, don’t say i didn’t try to help.

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      2. dompritch134

        Also Dave I do hold a Building Surveying degree with project management, I also  hold NVQ levels in Estate Agency.

        I have bought and sold dozens of houses in the last 10 years, so yes i do have an interest in the Industry.

         

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      3. Woodentop

        Err dompritch134, would you like to correct your comments or shall I give you the list of your own works, that contradicts this posting? Just about every post you make when PB are mentioned and effectively zero on any other subject. I and I suspect most on EYE don’t believe you are not connected with PB.

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    3. AgentV

      I don’t get it either.

      By the very nature of this site nearly every agent commenting will be good honest ‘best interests of their clients’ people. If they weren’t they wouldn’t waste their time commenting on here. Why would any rogue or underhand agents expose themselves to added risk of being found out, by posting on this site.

      So in effect our friendly commentators regularly come on an industry website to have a go  at the good guys…..for what purpose? None of us are ever going to agree with what they believe or change our minds, because we all know the truth.

      We all believe we charge non investor subsidised fair fees reflective of the amount of work we do, and the costs we occur in running our businesses.

      None of us like the perpetuated propaganda that you can get a great Completed Sale result by paying less than its costs to have a good plumber spend a day changing your boiler……propaganda which is designed to destroy our small family supporting local community businesses in order to give a few people more wealth than they can spend in a hundred lifetimes.

      BSOS23PC

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    4. PeeBee

      davethehedgehog

      I think you’ll find that dom-boy IS a PurpleShareholder.  He’s dodged that question, I note.

      His #fanboy rival ducky is the one who may or may not be a PurpleShareholder – today, at least.

      Not sure about yesterday or tomorrow, however – it’s so hard to keep up with his dealings I think he struggles himself sometimes…

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      1. Woodentop

        Everyone has noted that the duo are all go for PB from so called members of the general public.

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  9. Peter

    Informally resolved – No surprise there then.

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  10. Estate_Agent_Memes

    If any proper Estate Agent had this many negative reviews they would be out of business. The only reason PB are still going is because they take their fee up front.

    https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/purplebricks.co.uk?languages=en&stars=1

    oh and add-on commissions for selling loans and massive referrals for referring legal services. SOO transparent! LOL

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    1. Bless You

      What negative reviews?????   Everyone loves Pb and alltheagents is a fake business where until PB turned up no agent ever got a review on the same day as instruction..thios is ground breaking stuff. #fake marketing has never been stronger.
      Yours Sincerely
       
      The Boss of the ASA who didnt have 100,000 shares donated to his retirement fund,.,.,.
      Lol Peace be with you Dom, PB and Woodford  for you have sinned this year many times….
      Bless you all. 

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  11. Woodentop

    As the a story on the news today has now highlighted, the days of misleading/omitting statements is about to come to an end. The wild west has a sheriff who now says he’s back off holiday. Time will tell.

    Report
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