allAgents removes over 70 reviews of Purplebricks after legal challenges, claim

Over half the reviews of Purplebricks on the allAgents site have been removed, with Purplebricks saying it would vigorously defend its reputation against lies and defamation.

Martin McKenzie, of allAgents, said that a legal letter had been received.

He told EYE that 71 – over half the total reviews – have been removed

He said: “All the challenged reviews are one stars with the exception of one, which is a three star review.”

McKenzie said yesterday: “allAgents received correspondence from Purplebricks’s legal representatives threatening legal action if we do not remove 71 negative reviews. allAgents has decided to action their request pending further investigation.”

Despite the removal of reviews, last night a number on the site were giving negative reviews of Purplebricks.

A spokesperson for Purplebricks told us: “Purplebricks is proud of its reputation and the quality of the service that it delivers for customers.

“We will defend this reputation vigorously from smears, falsehoods and defamation.”

https://www.allagents.co.uk/purplebricks/

Separately, there was some mystery at the weekend as to Trustpilot reviews of the new US Purplebricks business.

While some reviews remained up on Saturday – including one which said that all the reviews were from the UK – many had been removed and were replaced with a message from Purplebricks USA saying it had reported the review.

The text stated: “We believe this review should be on our UK Trustpilot site. This is currently under review and appropriate action will be taken.”

However, a company spokesperson told EYE: “Purplebricks now operates in the UK under Purplebricks.co.uk and in the US from Purplebricks.com.

“Reflecting this the Trustpilot reviews have, as planned, migrated to the UK site. We look forward to delivering a fantastic service stateside and securing thousands of new brand advocates, to match those in the UK and Australia.”

 

The screengrab below shows that Purplebricks USA has reported Trustpilot reviews on the basis that they should be on the UK site

 

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65 Comments

  1. ArthurHouse02

    This is pathetic. Allagents keep telling us they have technology that prevents fake reviews. If that is the case, then they should have told Purplebricks that they were not prepared to remove the negative reviews. What is the point of these review sites if negative reviews are not allowed to be posted. Shame on you Allagents.

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    1. cyberduck46

      Negative reviews are allowed to be posted, just not fake ones.

       

      If Allagents told you they have technology that stops fake reviews then they misled you.

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      1. PeeBee

        “If Allagents told you they have technology that stops fake reviews then they misled you.”

        And what makes you confident enough to post a potentially libellous response to that effect?

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        1. cyberduck46

          Because no such technology exists.

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          1. Property Pundit

            Link?

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          2. Mark Walker

            A point that Trustpilot has proved about themselves beyond any shadow of a doubt, despite their own assertions to the contrary.

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      2. PeeBee

        “If Allagents told you they have technology that stops fake reviews then they misled you.”

        Misleading ‘this’… misleading ‘that’ –  there’s misleadings everywhere.

        “Because no such technology exists.”

        REALLY?? Just look at this mahoosive ducky-confirmed misleadingness, cut’n’pasted directly from the Trustpilot website:

        “We’re constantly developing our processes to find new and better ways of weeding out the minority of non-genuine reviews. Our efforts include:

        Customized software that detects suspicious reviews and removes those identified as fake”

        Seems ya can’t trust any bu99er these days…

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  2. Curious george

    it sounds to me that it’s the old PurpleBricks flexing their muscles. Interesting that it’s all done around the same time that they launch into the USA

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    1. ama18

      I think we should start calling Purplebricks the property industries very own North Korea 🙂

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      1. cyberduck46

        They should actually do more about all the disinformation. They’ve been very tolerant. I know some of you think PurpleBricks are fair game because they’re a big company but there are employees and shareholders that are being damaged. Many of PurpleBricks’ shareholders are just ordinary people with a bit of money to invest.

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        1. smile please

          You really are quackers!

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        2. PeeBee

          “…some of you think PurpleBricks are fair game because they’re a big company but there are employees and shareholders that are being damaged.”

          WRONG – on so many levels.

          Do you really think we all see this as ‘a game’?

          All that is wanted; all that is being sought – which has been said countless times – is a level playing field.

          We ARE getting there – step by step – eating the rotting elephant that is the black side of our industry one small bite at a time.

          But when every challenge to a company is met with a ‘cease & desist letter’ from its’ high-profile Lawyers, it slows the process dramatically.

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          1. cyberduck46

            PeeBee,

             

            Level playing field?

             

             

            That’s not how I see it. I see an attack on an easy target. No effort expended whatsoever on the industry as a whole.

             

            What about Foxtons’ trustpilot reviews? Do you tweet in regard to them? Take regular screenshots? Do you stay up all night checking for portaljuggling of anybody other than PurpleBricks?

             

            How about spending a proportionate amount of your time on the Agents who represent 95% of market transactions?

             

            What about a campaign for doing away with commissary and have the same rate for all customers rather than charge more to the ones who don’t know you can or don’t like to barter?

             

            How much time do you spend on the following issues:

             

            “there are plenty of High Street agents actively over valuing to win instructions, duping clients into 5 month sole agency contracts. There are more who are clearly conditionally selling to purchasers who will agree to use their in house mortgage consultants. Others who will put their own avarice first by sidelining cash purchasers in favour of those who will be using in house services. ”

             

            Then of course we could perhaps move on to a level playing field in general. What about homelessness? Surely that’s a bigger problem is it not?

             

             

             

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            1. dompritch134

              Nail on the head right here,

              PeeBee seems to have an obsessive campaign against PB with over 8000 tweets on the one topic, yet there are so many other issues that you could address but fail to do so!

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              1. PeeBee

                Like I said above, Sir – eating the elephant one bite at a time.

                But I think you’ll find that my Tweets have a far wider spread of topics than you care to mention.

                I’ll have a gnaw at the ankle of any elephant that cares to stick itself too close to my gnashers.

                UNLESS, of course, the ‘topic’ you refer to is the property industry; its’ good, bad and ugly – in which case you have in fact hit that particular nail on its’ head.

                Careful, mind – your own Tw@tter account is filling up with #fanboy posts – not to mention #bunnyboiler rants to anyone who gives your fave Agent a knocking that might take a point or two off your share price…

                Hate to think anyone accused you of #OPPTD…

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            2. PeeBee

              “I see an attack on an easy target…”

              In order for you to see them as “an easy target, then you must think that is exactly what they are.

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              1. Property Pundit

                ‘In order for you to see them as “an easy target, then you must think that is exactly what they are.’   Nail on the head right there.

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            3. Property Pundit

              Simple solution – Purplebricks goes full NO SALE – NO CHARGE. Oh and no sneaky extras or obligations either. One simple act will end the bun fight immediately. Tell me why they can’t do this. You can chip in here as well Dom.

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            4. PeeBee

              “there are plenty of High Street agents actively over valuing to win instructions, duping clients into 5 month sole agency contracts. There are more who are clearly conditionally selling to purchasers who will agree to use their in house mortgage consultants. Others who will put their own avarice first by sidelining cash purchasers in favour of those who will be using in house services. ”

              There are some who overvalue to win instructions – I will give you that as I am personally aware of the issue.

              There may be some who carry out the practices you refer to in terms of preferential treatment for potential buyers using in-house (or external) services. I have seen ‘evidence’ which has not fully convinced me but I will stand as one against it if proven.

              I am not sure what you mean about ‘duping clients into Sole Agency Contracts’? – please explain.

              “Do you stay up all night checking for portaljuggling of anybody other than PurpleBricks?”

              Actually, yes.  Do you?

              “What about a campaign for doing away with commissary and have the same rate for all customers rather than charge more to the ones who don’t know you can or don’t like to barter?”

              Go ahead – knock yourself out on that one!  As you keep raising the matter it’s obviously a cause very dear to you and no-one would therefore handle it more effectively or passionately.  (For what it’s worth, those Agents who start their pitch with “Our normal/usual etc etc commission rate is…” make my blood boil – and as far as I’m concerned, if a Vendor can negotiate a deal with an Agent on Fees then he should question whether the Agent is actually any good at the job of negotiating in the first place.)

              “What about homelessness? Surely that’s a bigger problem is it not?”

              As my job is to match homes with their potential buyers I have to say not in my line of work, it isn’t.

              If someone wants to employ me to take on homelessness then I will give it every ounce of commitment that I give my current line of work.

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              1. dompritch134

                What about this blatant fee rigging by agents???

                https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/sep/18/cma-fines-cartel-of-estate-agents-rate-fixing-burnham-on-sea?CMP=twt_gu

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                1. Chris Wood

                  Dear Dom and Ducky

                  PB PLC set fees which all of the agents they supply a service to must charge. They have no choice. Furthermore, PB PLC and the hundreds of independently registered companies trading as LPEs’ have all agreed between them that they will all charge the same figure.

                  If you are not feeling slightly uncomfortable reading that, I can tell you with absolute certainty that some LPEs’ most definitely are.

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                2. PeeBee

                  “What about this blatant fee rigging by agents???”

                  LOVE IT! Your collection of straws are depleting rapidly if that’s the best you can clutch at, Sir!

                  You are of course referring to a hooley blown up around the agreement between SIX Agents in ONE town in the UK.

                  No exactly a mass cartel, then.  Just a misguided tiny one representing 0.0003% or thereabouts of the total number of branches spread throughout four politically interlinked countries.

                  It was an arrangement to set a MINIMUM Fee.  Nothing about ‘fixing’ costs – just protecting their bottom line – which surely is good business sense for any company.  And if one does it – it should make good business sense that the rest follow suit.

                  But of course that never happens.  Others see the Fee of one – and beat it.

                  From what I understand the Agents were free to charge whatever they wanted ABOVE that minimum – there was no ceiling.

                  What they did right was identify a Fee at which their businesses would be able to survive and service their clients.

                  What they did wrong was agree it collectively and thereby enable one of them to rat out the rest.

                  The Fee level that was ‘fixed’ was 1.5%. The report does not state whether this was inclusive or exclusive of VAT.

                  Average ‘Sold’ price for the town is around £220k.  Therefore the ‘minimum’ Fee charged under the agreement would theoretically be somewhere around £3300.

                  That’s what I’d charge (inclusive) for a property of that price – and it’s WAY higher than my average earning per property.  But I’ve billed that kind of figure – more than once  Conversely – there are Agents in my town who potentially wouldn’t know how to type that figure onto an Invoice as they’ve never had one that starts with a 2 – never mind a three!

                  Oh – and before you go off on one – am I advocating a cartel or anything like it? NO!

                  Am I advocating that Agents need to recognise their value and strive to achieve it? ABSOFRICKINLUTELY!

                  The report went on to state that such and agreement was “thereby denying local homeowners the chance of getting a better deal when selling their homes.”

                  Sorry – but what about your favourite Purple buddies?  Or the Head Shepherd’s outfit? Tepiwhassname? uMooooove? Scratched? There is PHENOMENAL choice out there of budget Listing firms you can pays yer money to.

                  Unless, that is, the CMA and the Telegraph look at those companies in a different light to that of ‘traditional’ Estate Agents?

                  Could it be that CMA were concerned that the Agents involved were in fact not denying people the ability to list with budget alternatives – but more that those listings would have a lesser chance of resulting in actual sales?

                  Who knows?

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  3. NDS790

    allagents have just compromised their integrity to a bully

    Their is no point in having reviews if  just the threat of a legal action will prompt a company to remove all the negative reviews

    Do the board of allAgent –

    do you really think Prirplebricks wants more publicity with a legal suit about negative reviews

    dont you have liability insurance against this sort of bullying tactics

    if you can not fight for your independence you might as well close down

    this just shows why Google Reviews are the best. It would be fun to see if Purplebricks solicitors could try and bully Google

    Do your job and remain independent or close down.

     

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    1. ArthurHouse02

      Dont think you can review Purplebricks on Google 🙁

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      1. smile please

        Or Facebook…. wonder why that might be …

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        1. r29woolf

          Is it not possible to create a page called “Purple Bricks Fan Club” where all their “delighted” customers can leave reviews…?

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          1. KemptownAgent

            Sounds like a fun idea, I might well do it!

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      2. cybelex

        You’re right ArthurHouse02 it seems you can’t review PB on Google – how strange!

        Apparently if a business removes themselves from Google Maps no one can leave a review …

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        1. Chris Wood

          “Apparently if a business removes themselves from Google Maps no one can leave a review …”

          Odd, given their oft’ trumpeted ‘local’ expertise.

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  4. AgentV

    “We will defend this reputation vigorously from smears, falsehoods and defamation.”

    ……but it’s ok for us to to aim those at smaller local businesses through our marketing and advertising!

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  5. ama18

    Micheal Bruce boasts on TV about being the most reviewed estate agents in the U.K , yet shuts down or takes legal action on any independent review website other than Trustpilot! People are buying over valued shares and using their services based on their independent reviews.

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    1. Chrispy

      Can we PLEASE get watchdog back on the case

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  6. AgentV

    Is anyone up for a fight against the playground bully?

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  7. AgentV

    If over half the reviews have been removed presumably that means up to half of them remain….and these will be the better ones. So this bullying tactic has now made the company look a lot better on another review site………hmmm….where have we seen that happening before?

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  8. Aaron

    It says more about PB than it does allAgents but it will be interesting to see what the pending investigation reveals, and whether it validates that AA independent checks are indeed worthy or whether PB strong arm them into submission.

    Personally I think AA have to fight this to validate their own claims on how their reviews are verified accurately etc

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  9. dompritch134

    I highlighted the fact that Allagents were actively canvassing for negative purplebricks reviews on social media 4 weeks ago. What goes around comes around.

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    1. Property Pundit

      So that automatically means they’re fake then Dom? Is that your logic?

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  10. Chrispy

    You couldn’t make it up!

    Do All Agents not understand how this will impact on the credibility of their site! ‘yes Mr customer purple brick’s just flexed their muscle and had all the poor reviews taken off’ shows a clip of this news story.

    Let’s hope this is one of the first nails…

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  11. Property Peep

    Remember to get tweeting this story, put it on Facebook etc etc. Remember to # it to watchdog # it to Steph McGovern ( the reporter who went after them on Watchdog )

    And lets request anyone who has had their reviews taken down, to re-write them as many times as is necessary.

    The other option would be for AllAgents to stand up to PB, simply take down all the reviews, good and bad. Place a banner on the front page explaining why they can no longer include PB on their website as they are being threatened with legal action, due to the number of negative reviews.

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  12. cyberduck46

    AllAgents wouldn’t have removed the reviews if they knew they weren’t fake.

     

    The only system that can work is one like TrustPilot’s where the company under review can flag a review and once flagged, it will be removed and then unless it is verified as authentic will remain removed.

     

    TrustPilot’s system is flawed because it allows for fake positive reviews to be unchallenged and allows reviews to be canvassed at convenient times for the company. However I challenge anybody to propose a commercially viable alternative.

     

    For me, the idea that a big company would get involved with writing or getting others to write fake positive reviews doesn’t hold much water. A whistleblower could report them. Fake positive reviews are more of an issue with small companies.

     

    Any clearly fake positive views are more likely to come from a malicious source in my eyes. One that wants to suggest to the public that TrustPilot’s reviews are fake. Anybody know of anybody who’d like to damage PurpleBricks’ reputation?

     

     

     

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    1. El Burro

      ‘getting others to write fake positive reviews doesn’t hold much water’? Perhaps this post from another blog (not my work) will enlighten you Cybeduck:

      :Guardian Money investigation has uncovered fake reviewing on an almost industrial scale, with companies paying offshore contractors to post numerous glowing accounts of their activities, yet maintaining they are from unbiased consumers.

      Many of the fake reviews uncovered by Money were written by computer science specialists in countries such as Bangladesh, India and Indonesia, who, for a relatively low fee, will write and send false reviews using scores of aliases and fake addresses. Many offer their services to western companies on Freelancer.com, which promotes itself as an international website on which you can “outsource anything you can think of”. Companies simply post their requirements and wait for freelancers to start bidding for the work.

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      1. cyberduck46

        And my point about the risk of a whistleblower if a big company did this?

         

        I know these things are possible but my opinion is that it would be a stupid company or a small one that actually employed these services.

         

        Do you not think PurpleBricks get enough positive reviews from their invitations when the property becomes SSTC? 60,000+ customers in the last 2 years and what’s the SSTC rate? Above 80% is it not?

         

         

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        1. JimmyDimmy49

          At what is you role at PB cyberduck – Head of Disillusion/Naivety??

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        2. Property Pundit

          ‘what’s the SSTC rate? Above 80% is it not?’ Are you telling us it’s over 80% or just guessing? We’re still waiting for proof from PB that this figure can be verified & substantiated.

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          1. Chris Wood

            It could also be 88% or 91.6% dependent on which press release/ lawyers letter you read. In each case, no evidence to substantiate these statements made by the CEO or official legal representative of a PLC which, as I’m sure CyberDuck will confirm, is a legal requirement.

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    2. DonShore93

      “once flagged, it will be removed and then unless it is verified as authentic will remain removed.” That’s not compliant with CMA regs.

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      1. Chris Wood

        Link?

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        1. DonShore93

          Quoted from Cyberduck’s post

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  13. Chris Wood

    Having been on the receiving end of one of the Bruce bothers bullyboy legal letters and given a lengthier and more polite version of the Arkell v. Pressdram defence, I can confirm that in my case (and that of another agent I am aware of who suffered a similar threat), no further action or response was forthcoming.

    AllAgents either need to explain why their system allows/ allowed fake reviews onto their site or, with respect, grow a pair.

    .

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  14. marlington52

    I was looking at the Purple brick site has anyone noticed they do not state the fees for the additional services.

    Such as; EPC, Premium listings, viewings, etc…

    They state what they do but not what they don’t do.

    Is this not the case just lost by Foxtons.   I know it is lettings but surely the same principle.

    EYE NEWSFLASH: Case of national significance as council wins appeal against Foxtons

    There terms state
    Energy Performance Certificate (‘EPC’)

    It is a legal requirement for you to have commissioned an EPC before we are able to start the marketing of your property. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have a valid and up to date EPC in place before your Advert goes live. The Online Platform will prompt you about the obtaining of an EPC and will not let you publish the Advert until you have either provided an EPC or ordered one from us.
    HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

    For Sale and To Let Boards

    For the avoidance of doubt, Purplebricks will not erect a ‘To Let’ board unless you ask us to do so and pay the Advertised Rates in force from time to time and published in the Online Platform.

    WHAT IS THE ADVERTISED RATE?
    Extras
     

    Extras are a unique opportunity for you to offer your property for sale and/or let with certain value added extras.

    You can choose to offer any one or more from the list of Extras and you can include a maximum value. You can also change these from time to time or withdraw them.

    By adding an Extra to your marketing, you agree to offer that Extra to the purchaser/tenant if an offer is accepted by you. You further agree to be bound by the terms associated with that Extra.

    Where notified, some Extra’s are conditional upon you using the Advanced Conveyancing service and by offering that Extra, you agree to use such service.

    WHERE IS THIS LIST OF EXTRAS?   HOW MUCH DOES THE CONVEYANCING COST?

    How can a customer make an informed decision when the true cost of the service is hidden?

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  15. GPL

    Dear Brucie & Co….

    You really should stop throwing stones in that large glasshouse… it will only lead to tears, well before your bedtime!

    If you dish it out, then be prepared to take it, otherwise overhaul all your Advertising Bluster and make it transparent and 100% factual/honest.

    Just because you think you are a Portal G@d, it doesn’t mean you are.

    Here’s my opinion… when I see Purplebricks I think “somewhere to list a property for sale, overpriced for listing a property for sale, not an estate agent”. I also can’t help thinking PIMPLEFARTS …however that’s just my sense of humour.

    Purplebricks cannot honestly think they can remove every Negative Review that  is True? …..Oh, they do? Right… that’s an honest approach then…. ?

     

     

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    1. KemptownAgent

      I just flip the ‘b’ in bricks upsidedown

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  16. DonShore93

    This just highlights the fact that independent review sites have had their day, even the big ones like Trustpilot – it’s Google all the way from now on. Reviews, I think we can all agree, are nothing without credibility, and this is, as ‘Chrispy’ has already said, just another nail.

    I suggest reading reviews of TrustPilot on TrustPilot itself and other review sites like reviews.io – you will see businesses and reviewers that have used them complaining that they lack credibility. Google is not perfect, far from it, but at least it doesn’t directly derive revenue from businesses as a result of their reviews.

    The bottom line is – if I were  consumer (and I am!) – I would ask any business why they were showing me reviews from any site other than Google (and, BTW, you will find Purplebricks reviews on Google – under the location of their agents – e.g. ‘Purplebricks London’ where they score 2.0 with 3 x 5*, 1 x 2* and the rest -8 – 1*).

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    1. Mark Walker

      Fantastic.

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  17. marlington52

    Also there right to rent guidelines are incorrect.

    https://www.purplebricks.co.uk/terms/information-for-a-prospective-tenant/#section-1
    Right to Rent
    This check ensures that you have the right to live in the UK.
    In order to process your application, please provide a photocopy from the below list of acceptable documentation.
    The government guidelines clearly state
    https://www.gov.uk/private-renting/document-checks

    check your original documents to make sure you have the right to rent a property in England

    Not a photocopy the original documents!

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    1. Mark Walker

      They are going to fall foul of the first enforcement action a body bothers to make, as there are a multitude of regulations surrounding our Estate Agency industry and they have behaved in a cavalier manner to some of these regulations already in their short history.

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      1. DonShore93

        Mark Walker: Agreed – neither they, and few of their competitors, comply with the CMA regulations regarding reviews – and anyone who doubts the CMA has teeth should read this: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/somerset-estate-agents-admit-to-price-fixing where four agents were fined £370,000. It’s a case of ‘when’ not ‘if’.

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  18. Mark Walker

    I wonder when they’ll get round to getting Twitter to censor the disappointed customer tweets on there.

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    1. Property Pundit

      Or Reddit – some beauts on there or mumsnet.

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  19. flower10136

    Purplebricks cannot and should not be allowed to control every review. How anyone can think this is ok is beyond me. The review sites are at fault here – no one is regulating them. All agents should be ashamed of themselves

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    1. DonShore93

      Review sites ARE regulated – by the Competition & Markets Authority – and, please bear in mind, so are their clients (“it was sold to me by X review site” is no defence): https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/online-reviews-and-endorsements-information-for-businesses

       

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      1. flower10136

        can you please let trustpilot know

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  20. PeeBee

    **BREAKING**

    The AllAgents page for PurpleBricks reviews has been suspended.

    A case of ‘One down…’, perhaps?

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    1. DonShore93

      A review site would need: a) deep pockets and b) to be extremely confident of its moderation systems to take on a big business in open court – it would be just as likely to expose flaws in the review site as it would in the company under review.

      With Yelp departing back to the US at the end of last year and now this, I sense the ‘beginning of the end’ for reviews sites.

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  21. PeeBee

    This one’s to ducky & dom

    Let’s have a look at the first page of PBs Trustpilot reviews today, shall we?

    Eighteen of them are 5-Star.  Of those only THREE are ‘Verified orders’.

    One is a 4-Star.  It is UNverified.

    The last is 1-Star. Again, it is UNverified.

    That particular review, however, bears the notification “Reviewer contacted”.

    It is the only one on the page that has this.

    I wonder why?

    Actually – no, I don’t.

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