Watchdog says investigation into complaint about Purplebricks TV advert could take ‘considerable time’

CIELA – the aspiring new trade body for the industry, the Charter for Independent Estate and Letting Agents – says that its complaint about Purplebricks to the Advertising Standards Authority has passed the first hurdle.

It submitted a complaint about Purplebricks’ ‘commisery’ TV advertising and website to the ASA on March 9.

Yesterday, CIELA said: “Our complaint contained five points. The ASA accepted to review four of these points, and has decided to escalate two of them for further investigation.

“The other two points had been raised already by other complainants and were already being investigated.”

CIELA said that the ASA has advised that its investigation could take ‘considerable time’.

Meanwhile, the matter has reached no less a publication than Eye – no, not us, but the current edition of Private Eye.

According to Private Eye, “online estate agents Purplebricks’ advertising involves plenty of attacks on rivals, but the company can’t take criticism itself”.

The piece in Private Eye refers to the CIELA complaint and also to Purplebricks’ Trustpilot ratings.

Private Eye says that Purplebricks’ 9.5 out of 10 ratings are based on “an astonishing 15,000 five-star customer reviews (a large proportion from unverified first-time users of the review site), which helpfully overshadow the 372 one-star reviews, many of which are lengthy detailed complaints from verified users”.

The Private Eye story also mentions “estate agent blogger” Chris Wood and the “various questions” he has asked.

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12 Comments

  1. AndrewOverman

    Is the net finalising closing in?

    Will justice prevail?

    Is it conceivable that we will all get that honest, level playing field we crave?

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  2. Chris Wood

    I haven’t yet read the Private Eye article but have been contacted by/ been in conversations with a number of very highly regarded journalists over the past few months, some of which has been published and reported on in PIE. That these concerns are being taken seriously by mainstream media (some of whom have also received legal threats from Purplebricks) suggests that this is an issue that has legs and not just a sop to pacify some gobby agents and industry supplier.

    I am also awaiting a response as to whether some of these alleged ‘property experts’ can be classed as local or, with just a few days experience and training in some cases, ‘experts’. Other enquiries to HMRC and CMA are also bringing interesting responses/ results.

    Purplebricks have tried to silence many people and organisations asking awkward questions or publishing negative comments with seriously heavyweight lawyers. That, in itself, should raise eyebrows.

    What is deeply concerning is that at least two people at the highest level of the industry appear to be more concerned with rubbishing or belittling the attempts of the few to highlight and take on these very serious and genuine concerns of a large number of decent, law-abiding agents than supporting the very people they purport to represent.

    If you have concerns or issues about a company talk to the company, put it in writing (evidence trail) complain to your local TSO. Be a squeaky wheel. Don’t just sit there, be part of the solution.

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    1. AgentPink92

      We all know that the ‘no commission’ ad is blatantly aimed at foolling people inro believing PB charge nothing, zero, zilch, squiddly dot to sell your property.

      Great ad to get the enquiries flooding in, if you can get away with it, which of course currently they are.

      At the very least the ASA should immediately ask PB to add a prominent strapline to their TV ad and site along the lines of ‘A fixed non-refundable fee of £956 is charged in place of standard estate agency commission’. This qualifying/illustrating of offers etc has to be done on many types of advertising eg., loans, sales etc.

      It is a joke that PB can get away with such an obviously, and deliberately, misleading ad without any type of qualification as to what it actually means.

      The real ‘commissery’ is for the public who quickly find out that there is nothing free at all about PB . 
       

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      1. Woodentop

        I’ve said this so many times before for years. The ASA is not fit for purpose. They are an advertsiing advisory body, not a regulator and have no teeth. Their competence to act within an accetable time frame is a joke, while law abiding companies loose out to unscrupolus companies. We are expected by regulators to act swiftly with any compalints. Do as I say, not as I do is a fitting motto for the ASA!

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    2. Traditionalist

      Anyone remember Harlequin!!

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  3. AgentPink92

    Just a thought …Purplemisery.

    The colour people turn when they find out no commission means a fixed non-refundable fee even if your house doesn’t sell.

    A sign with a glum purple faced couple and the accompanying text would be a very nice addition to our windows.

    Imagine if a few thousand of use did that.

    Now that would cause a stir, get the press and public talking and put real pressure on PB.

    Any takers to get it organised?

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    1. ks20039

      Purplepain would have a better ring to it !

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    2. Woodentop

      Puprle is also the colour of death.

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  4. AgentV

    Why should it take a long time to investigate? Why?why?why? Are they inept or incompetant? It either breaks their rules or it doesn’t……and we all know the truth.

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  5. gk1uk2001

    I await the ‘informally resolved’ outcome with baited breath………….

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    1. PeeBee

      EXACTLY!

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  6. Moolamarkie

    Is this really news?  A complaint is made.  It gets investigated.  A conclusion will be made.  For that very reason, we’re free to complain about pretty much anything.

    It’s the final result that matters, not the investigating.

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