Purplebricks adverts ridicule ‘thumb-twiddling’ agents

Hybrid estate agent Purplebricks has released a series of online adverts on the video sharing website youtube, which in some cases mock traditional estate agents.

The five videos, posted last month, have racked up nearly 4m views between them.

The short clips each address a question about the agent.

One, which has had just over half a million views, features a woman who asks: “OK Purplebricks, if you don’t have any branches, does that mean I have to do everything myself?”

A voiceover responds that Purplebricks’ Local Property Experts “can manage every aspect of your sale, wherever and whenever you need”.

It adds: “We think that’s far better than them twiddling their thumbs in an office on the high street.”

In another video, Purplebricks is asked: “Why should I take a risk with selling with someone new? Shouldn’t I just stick with one of the big dogs?”

The voiceover replies with “oh, we agree”, before going on to claim that Purplebricks is one of the biggest estate agents in the UK.

Other videos include questions such as: “How can you charge so little?”

Another asks: “Why bother to get the best price when you don’t charge commission?”

And a fifth video poses the question: “How can you give such great service when you charge so little?”

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59 Comments

  1. Eric Walker

    Odd that these amusing adverts don’t warn that fee is payable whether the property sells or not. I love the one about PB’s motivation to get the best price it to receive a 5 star review on Trustpilot. Also, ‘expensive office rent is clawed back through commission’. What a silly statement.

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    1. NWood95

      I agree. My biggest expense is staffing, not quote ‘expensive high street rent’.  You know, staffing, the part of agency that provides the service.

      They should change the advert and replace ‘expensive high street rent’ with ‘experienced, trained staff’

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  2. Property Ear

    Why take the bait?

    Their credibility wanes by the day.

    Give it 2 years, maybe less – they’ll be dead as Dodo’s

     

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    1. Getinlinechaps63

      That’s naive. They certainly need to pull their finger out, improve service standards and outcomes for clients but in terms of just curling up and dying? No chance. Wishful thinking is a quick route to ruin. I know agents out there who you would be shocked to learn ofvthe financial state they are in – quality brands. Sit in a chair and shout at the sea if you want .

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  3. realreal81

    Are they kiddin! I have just watch the video they are using in the US. Whatever you think of purple brick model, I have never seen such bare face lying and misleading of customers ever!!!

    “Short answer no” OMG!! I actually still cannot believe anyone at PB can defend this sort of shady dealing.

    https://youtu.be/BqbMdqdj7I4

    If you want to see why so many sellers are being duped then watch the first 10 seconds of this commercial! No doubt exactly what the LPE are sitting in people’s living rooms doing, evading the question with the occasional out right lie thrown in! I’m in shock!

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    1. Hillofwad71

      On that note!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4r3fvlxSj0

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  4. ArthurHouse02

    At least with a high street office, estate agents can be working away hard contact people on the mailing list proactively arranging viewings, or, we could all be LPEs sitting at home watching Loose Women, and putting the washing on between appointments.

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    1. Peter

      Lets not forget touting as well!

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  5. dompritch134

    And the Purplebricks daily article quota ticked.

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    1. AgentV

      We only do it to keep you entertained for the day!

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    2. David M

      Morning Dom!!!
      How are you today??  I hope you got through immigration on Friday without too many delays.
      So i’ll keep this brief….YOU ARE AVOIDING MY QUESTION!!!!

      It really is an easy one………”What is your biggest criticism of PurpleBricks??

       Come on Dom …amuse me…….you might even win some fans!!!!

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      1. dompritch134

        My biggest critisism is that they do not litigate enough against slanderous and malicious propaganda.

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        1. David M

          Now Dom that is not cricket…….You know that answer is Pro PB.

          Perhaps it will help if I give you some options…..

          A) I believe their Adverts are misleading to the consumer as they do not make it clear that their business model means that they are paid for advertising property, not selling or renting.
          B) They don’t have confidence in their Sales forces ability to sell/rent property otherwise they would refund their customers if they did not sell/rent their property.
          C) They claim that the dedicated local property expert is available 24hrs a day – if this was the case they would be in breach of working hours regulations.
          D) other……
           
           
           

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        2. Garret2

          Dom, that’s interesting. Its almost exactly the same as my main criticism of NAEA / PropertyMark.

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          1. AgentV

            touche……brilliant!

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      2. Property Pundit

        Still waiting for his answer to Robert May’s question from yesterday:

        An agent with 880 properties sold subject to contract and 1000 properties for sale

        Like for 46.8%

        Dislike for 88%

        Which is it Dom?

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        1. AgencyInsider

          You don’t seriously think the tedious little s*d is going to give you an answer, do you?

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          1. Robert May

            Give him chance.  My guess is he found out that 12000 sstc properties and 15000 for sale properties dosesn’t mean an agent has sold 80% of their listings but 44.4%, but to say so publicly will cause a bit of embarrassment.

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            1. Dom_P

              You know, I’ve just realised why someone was rude to me on a comment yesterday, quoting ‘with your standing with the readership’ as an insult…they thought I was this guy!

               

              It appears we share a first name and first initial of surname. Please let it be noted that I am not him!

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              1. dompritch134

                You will be forever tarnished as a pariah. Might as well pack up and go home.

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                1. David M

                  Dom – I don’t view you as a pariah ……..I do think that you might be not taking a step back and seeing the bigger picture, hence the reason a number of people think you connected with PB.

                  I believe this is enhanced by your lack of volunteering a criticism of PB.

                  I can tell you numerous bad things about full service  – success based agents but doesn’t mean that I don’t support them.

                   

                   

                   

                   

                   

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              2. GeorgeHammond78

                Sincere apologies – I did indeed think you were the ‘other one’…..

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                1. Dom_P

                  No problems at all; easy mistake to make, it just baffled me for most of the day wondering what I’d said or done!

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  6. Shaun77

    It’s very decent of PB to create these videos in order to help educate a rather dubious and appehensive public.

    I’m sure, that in the spirit of doing the decent thing, they’ll also be creating one to demonstrate that around half of their customers spend £1,000 simply to see their property advert posted online and not get anywhere near selling it. They will then have to instruct a traditional agent to get the job done and in doing so, waste not only their money but a considerable amount of time which in itself may well have eroded their property’s value.

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  7. GPL

    I may well end up Crowdfunding from our High Street Estate Agents to produce some PurpleDonkey Ads we can all circulate across Social Media…..

    Another example would be the Purple Coloured Homeseller counting up to 1000 as the camera pans lower and we see the homeseller throwing Purple £1 notes onto a pile…. and then setting fire to them!

    …..and the voiceover runs with…

    “Paying up-front to Sell Your Home?

    You might as well do this instead…

    it’s the only way you’ll get a warm feeling paying Upfront for Online Only”

    “Don’t burn your Money…use a High Street Full Service Estate Agent – No Sale, No Fee!”

     

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  8. AgentV

    From the lady in the bath advert;

    If we don’t get you the best price, you won’t give us the best review.’

    Once again absolute poddycock. We all know that Trustpilot reviews are taken at the point of the property advert being made live, so how would any of the reviewers at that time know what sale price (if indeed any) they were going to get?

    Great pity they got Dawn French, who I had huge respect for, to tell porkies on their behalf!!!

     

    BSOS23PC

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    1. Shaun77

      This is to subliminally suggest that they must be getting the best price to have achieved all those TP reviews. Very crafty…

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  9. David M

    I would say a number of these videos breach the ASA ruling that PB must advise that the Fee is payable is paid up front and non-refundable when comparing themselves to another fee model.

    ASA will surely be delighted to hear that PB has ignored the guidance issued.

    This gives ALL Estate agents a bad name and implys we are an industry that is comfortable in misleading the consumer.

    So if you really care about your reputation put in a complaint.

    https://www.asa.org.uk/make-a-complaint.html

    I’m sure the more people that do it the more likely a sizeable fine will be issued.

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    1. Certus

      Done – 4 mins well spent
       

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      1. cyberduck46

        Well done. Better than sitting around twiddling your thumbs I suppose 🙂

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        1. NewsBoy

          Also done.

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        2. Thomas Flowers

          Cyberduck, I believe thumb twiddling is better than hand-wringing upon listing contract signature and ignoring your mobile thereafter?

          Particularly, if this thumb twiddling is actually keeping your clients fully apprised of developments by text during the whole selling process if you are not able to actually speak to your client for whatever reason?

           

           

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          1. PeeBee

            Don’t LPEs engage in thumb-twiddling as well?

            Or is theirs simply a limbering-up exercise for the digit in readiness to perform the #coin_toss?

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  10. Certus

    Where on earth is the NAEA? Propertymark?

    I thought they were here to help support and improve standards. Their silence re purplepricks seems to endorse this type of belittling advert of property professional members.

    Their best attempt was walking up a hill. Jeez… I have no idea what they do for us, shame I just paid my dues!

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    1. AgentV

      PB are paying members of their organisation….so they are taking the dosh and keeping their lips sealed!

      Does this answer your question?

      Don’t think they will do anything until other members start telling them they are not going to renew until they start standing up for the majority of their membership!

      Are you going to renew next time??

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  11. MrIndependent

    Watching those I cant help but feel a cringe of ‘damn the general public are going to like these ads’!!! Whatever we all feel about PB (and ill hasten to add I dont work for them and never would) they do put out a bloody good advert to a general public that has become naturally suspicious of us as an industry…

    I hope you guys above are right and they blow so much funds on media mass marketing that they cant claw back and fall away over coming years, but I have a suspicion they are going to be a constant irritant for quite a while.

    I do hate PurpleBricks, because fundamentally I hate their business model of charging for something they havent done, but having worked in both corporate and independent estate agencies I can also express a significant ill feeling for corporate estate agents too, for generally aggressive behaviour, lack of morals and knowingly charging ridiculous fees knowing the customer can get better value elsewhere, all because most of the money has to walk up a food chain to fat cats sitting on their arses all day…

    The time is now for the independent estate agencies, we can carve a path for ourselves down the middle of these two options for the consumer and I am having fantastic success of doing so – offering the excellent service I always have but at a fraction of the cost to the consumer that I used to have to charge, because my fees are only going to me and my boss full stop. So I can at least feel grateful to PB for shaking the market to my benefit also!

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    1. AgentV

      Once we independents have got ‘Collective Marketing’ properly up and running there will something to counterbalance the propaganda……it would be great to have you join us.

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      1. JustPlainSavage04

        you forgot to put your email address

         

        no need to thank me

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        1. Getinlinechaps63

          You had too…

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        2. Beano200062

          Beginning to get a bit boring/trollish JPS some may have laughed the first time.

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          1. JustPlainSavage04

            My sincere apologies Beanooo

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  12. Chris Wood

    Back of an envelope calculation so take it thus:

    Interim results show administrative and marketing costs for the half year (UK) at 19.4 Million. Divided between 650 ‘LPEs’ = £29,846 per office (if registered at TPOs) for a half year (£59,692 annualised).  With an estimated LPE turnover* of circa 30% PA, recruitment costs are likely to continue to be a significant factor.

    *based on cross-correlation of TPO registrations, Companies House and Purplebricks own agent search function. This in itself (if correct) suggests that it is only a few on the Purple pyramid that are making the advertised incomes.

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    1. cyberduck46

      Chris,

       

      PurpleBricks have a far more scaleable model than a high street branch network.

       

      Apart from advertising for new LPEs & training there’s very little cost of adding an LPE.

       

      If a High Street chain expands to a new branch you are paying for what PB pays plus the premises and more staff.

       

      I think you will also find that some of the UK admin caters for overseas too.

       

       

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      1. Robert May

        There is a dilution cost to the existing listers; while there was one Uber driver in an area things were great but suddenly Uber floggs another licence and the first driver ‘s trade is naturally diluted. Add a 3rd a 4th and so on and soon the Uber drivers have vehicles and overheads they cant afford, Uber do well.

        When each rep was ‘expert’ to 29 local areas the 4% of clients who thought they were saving with a  disruptor agent was less contested. As the sector becomes more competitive and more disruptors are added the number of clients being fought over isn’t expanding proportionately.

        A listing rep no longer has  29 activity centre to  mine, they have 5 and that is up against firms offering a £99 to list service that competes like for like with the more expensive listing services.

        The problem isn’t the cost of adding a listing rep, it’s finding, attracting and keeping the ones who’re any good.

        Why would an agent capable of building and running a territory choose to pay away about 60% of the fees they earn to head office when other franchises only take 10%?

         

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        1. htsnom79

          Additionally, a churn rate at that level is not good in any business it would generally mean that a) the parent company is off loading a lot of bad recruitment choices proactively or b) those recruits, good and bad, are not finding that reality marries with the promises and so are leaving of their own accord.

           

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          1. cyberduck46

            htsonm79,
             
            Do your own research.
             
            Chris Wood tried to tell me that PB’s conversion rate was 14% (or was it 17%, I forget).
             
            He’s currently under formal investigation by the ASA in regard to claims he’s made.
             

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            1. Robert May

              How do you know that?

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              1. cyberduck46

                >How do you know that?
                 
                >Chris Wood tried to tell me that PB’s conversion rate was 14% (or was it 17%, I forget).
                 
                I have screenshots and a copy of the letter PurpleBricks’ solicitors sent him with his comments added.
                 
                >He’s currently under formal investigation by the ASA in regard to claims he’s made.
                 
                Because the ASA informed me of the fact.
                 
                 

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        2. cyberduck46

          >The problem isn’t the cost of adding a listing rep, it’s finding, attracting and keeping the ones who’re any good.
           
          Well if you are comparing with traditional high street costs, the cost of adding is a factor. I mentioned the cost of finding and attracting but of course you are correct it is important to keep the ones who work well with the PB model.
           
          >Why would an agent capable of building and running a territory choose to pay away about 60% of the fees they earn to head office when other franchises only take 10%?
           
          Well if the figures you quote are correct, this is exactly what has happened isn’t it? If these territory owners leave then you promote from within or get somebody else who is capable of running a territory.
           
           

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      2. Woodentop

        So scaleable it doesn’t make any money! The adverts breach BPR’s and PB is unable to support its own business model, relying solely on continuous knocking the competition with public propaganda. If they were that good, they wouldn’t have to resort to such poor leadership and propaganda. They epitomise everything the public dislikes about a sales service provider. It has reached such a level that PB have now demonstrated a determined and consistent breach of BPR’s that could cost them £millions if the authorities take action.

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        1. cyberduck46

          Woodentop,
           
          >So scaleable it doesn’t make any money!
           
          But it does make money in the UK which is what we are talking about. 
           
          H1 2016 £6m loss (approx) on £7.2M turnover
          H1 2017 £0.3M loss on £18.3M turnover.
           
          H1 2018 £3.2M profit on £39.9M turnover
           
          The scaling into profitability is demonstrated by the figures.
           
          >The adverts breach BPR’s and PB is unable to support its own business model, relying solely on continuous knocking the competition with public propaganda
           
          Seems like it works both ways to me. I’ve never met an agent who has failed to have a dig at PurpleBricks. It didn’t take long after I listed with them for the local agents to come calling with dodgy info. and then you have the comments on here like your saying they don’t make any money.
           

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          1. Thomas Flowers

            Cyberduck…..Aghh the scalable model nonsense?

            So why have they tripled their fees in Australia and then increased them further in USA?

            I do hope that PB has not used  UK shareholders money as a fee experiment or capital account to expand into higher fee markets before the UK market collapses as a consequence of miserable returns?

            Surely PB have only replaced branch costs with TV and other marketing costs?

             

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          2. Woodentop

            I wondered what spin you would come up with. What nonsense you spout all the time. Time for you to go and play in some other playground. £6m loss plus £0.3m loss before final deductions = £6.3m loss plus. Now take your so called £3.2m profit before final deductions =  a Grande loss of £3.1m plus deductions still outstanding. Your are a complete idiot when it comes to knowing a business profit and loss works. As for your other comment on BPR’s breach. Look it up, you are out of your depth. Agents do not use media advertising to knock each other. That is the observation that was being made. You have become one of the biggest TROLLS on EYE. You are biased to the extreme and anti- estate agent to the extreme. Time that EYE pulled the plug on you, but then we wouldn’t have such a laugh everyday when PB is mentioned.

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    2. Shaun77

      Chris – surely the A&M costs can’t all be atttributed as LPE income, as some of this will have to go towards administering the plc, along with the plc’s advtg & mktg spend, or am I missing something?

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      1. AgentV

        There seems to me one main issue in all of this. Does anyone, apart from our stalking duo, honestly believe that that any person can get the very best ‘walk away result’ (completed sale price, less fee) for any client by being paid less that the day rate a plumber charges to swop your boiler?

        I work tirelessly to achieve the very best result for my clients, but I couldn’t do it for £250 per property (and I am the most dedicated agent I know in our area). At an average of 25 to 30 viewings per property, I would have to do over 5,000 a year, let alone any of the other work….just to earn a reasonable living!

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  13. dompritch134

    Just had this great email from a central london agent, which makes some questionable claims and strange grammar.

    Dear Dominic,
     
    I trust my email finds you well.
     
    I tried in contacting you this afternoon with regards to your property on Flat 1######### and if you have given any thoughts on selling as we can see a massive movement on the market and we have a number of investors that they are look to buy at the soonest on that specific location.

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    1. PeeBee

      AWFUL ’email’.  Makes you wonder if the sender/author’s first language is actually English.

      As for the content – you know fine and dandy what to do if you wish to use it as complaint material, dom-boy.

      Or are you just going to have these uber-relevant-to-the-days’-news events happen totally ‘spontaneously’ – by some miraculous coincidence – in order to make a pathetic point?

      #YOUR_CALL.

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      1. dompritch134

        Would you like me to send it to you? I’m quite happy to forward it on, I received it today at 1338 from an agent who valued a property for me 3 years ago.

         

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        1. PeeBee

          Nope – your word is enough.

          I just have to check these things.

          Almost every trainer in the land has a set of ‘genuine personal experiences’ that they use in their sessions.

          I’m sure they did happen… once… to someone…

          But nevertheless they all claim it was them.

          My original comment is still perfectly relevant – just omit the question that made up the third paragraph.

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