Individual Local Property Experts who are self-employed with the likes of Purplebricks and others are being urgently signed up separately to redress schemes, such as the Property Ombudsman Scheme, in order to avoid breaking the law.
It is understood that these individuals and businesses are now being fast-tracked into membership of authorised redress schemes.
We understand that these self-employed individuals have not until now been recognised as separate entities, but have instead been treated as part of the organisation they work for on a commission-only basis.
It appears this has potential breach has now been spotted, highlighting the implication that some local representatives of online and hybrid agents as well as self-employed associates of high street agents, as businesses in their own right, should be signed up to a redress scheme.
It seems that the difficulty applies to any organisation that uses self-employed agents.
The implications could go far beyond membership of redress schemes, extending to tax, money laundering and data protection obligations.
Last night, Purplebricks told EYE: “Purplebricks are members of the Ombudsman scheme and have always sought to abide by their regulations and underlying principles.
“We have always been available as redress for consumers should the need arise.
“In order to further promote professional standards in the industry our Local Property Experts have or are in the process of completing registration with the Ombudsman.”
Yesterday evening, a TPO spokesperson also told us:“Purplebricks are TPO members and their local Property Experts have applied for TPO membership at the request of Purplebricks head office. This news will enable TPO to protect consumers should a dispute arise.
“Our membership department is in the process of registering members and any firm in a similar position is very welcome to talk to us to ensure they are compliant with the law.”