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Graham Awards


Purplebricks: 'formal complaint' from independent agents

The fledgling group being set up to represent independent estate and letting agents is preparing a formal complaint about Purplebricks based on what it claims to be “misleading advertisements.”

The Charter for Independent Estate and Letting Agents - which hasn’t yet formally launched but has held preliminary meetings to establish its structure - says its founding members are making “final preparations” for the lodging of such a complaint, initially with Purplebricks itself.

A statement from CIELA issued last evening said that the complaint was “in particular that claiming savings when comparing a no-sale, no fee model versus an advertising fee is recklessly misleading.”


CIELA says if Purplebricks does not itself take “remedial action” then the issue will be taken to the Advertising Standards Authority.

Estate Agent Today has asked to see a copy of the complaint from CIELA when it is completed.

A statement from Purplebricks this morning says: "CIELA sounds like a sensible initiative for the independent agents - we wish them well".

CIELA - which holds its next founders’ meeting next week, ahead of a formal launch scheduled for March 1 - says it is also unhappy with the government’s pledge to ban letting agency fees imposed on tenants in England. 

“CIELA’s view is that this is an overreaction by Shelter and the government to the exploitative behaviour of a small number of rogue agents, and a sledgehammer to crack a nut which will have adverse unintended consequences” says a statement from the organisation, which says it is to lobby its members about “whether they feel enough is being done to combat the looming threat of the ban.”

  • Mike Lewis

    I'm sure PB will be quaking in their boots! Come on guys, the only way to counter this dreadful advertising campaign is to club together and promote what "real" estate agents do and spell out, in clear wording, exactly why we charge accordingly. More importantly though would be to emphasise the fact that the likes of PB are simply listing services and NOT true property professionals. For instance, what other professionals work purely on a speculative basis, no sale no fee?? Maybe it's also time for the NAEA and dare I also include the RICS, to get up off their proverbial backsides and get involved too!

  • Chris Mervyn

    Mike Lewis you are absolutely right on this. The industry is changing and I am heavily into pointing out the differences. Without consumer education and a more powerful reason for choosing a 'real' agent against other companies that now perhaps earn much more money from just ancillaries, then we'll all be complaining the same come this time next year etc etc. I'm on the board of the NAEA as the exec for the Westcountry and I do feel that the new 'Protected' Propertymark initiative is at least a step in the right direction. I would be keen to speak to anyone however in my region who has well thought out and constructive ideas about new legislation to push for which would enable more clout be put behind the new term 'Protected' too.


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