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Independent agents say Purplebricks complaint 'purely a starting point'

The fledgling group claiming to represent independent estate and letting agents, CIELA, says it has lodged a complaint against Purplebricks with the Advertising Standards Authority - and describes this as “purely a starting point.” 

In a statement released last evening the Charter for Independent Estate and Letting Agents claims Purplebricks has refuted its lengthy complaint, submitted to the hybrid agency some weeks ago and reported at the time here.

“As a result of [Purplebrick’s] refusal to accept our points on their advertisements, we have accordingly filed a complaint with the ASA and expect a response within the next two weeks” says the CIELA statement.


No wording of the submission to the ASA has been released.

The statement says the organisation’s aims including seeking “to defend consumers from misleading corporate advertisements and [we] will actively pursue any such adverts by national agency brands we become aware of.”

It also encourages its member agents to let the organisation know of any advertisements from national agencies that are considered misleading, and “to take these matters up themselves directly with the ASA” if other local agents make claims that members regard as misleading.

“We will be providing easy guidance on how to submit a complaint to the ASA with the best chances of it being upheld if it breaches their guidelines. In short, your complaint must quote the specific guideline clause you believe has been breached and why, otherwise your complaint is likely to be dismissed” concludes the note.

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    Describing a competitor as "the enemy" is not helpful and merely strengthens the company itself, and the argument of those who see no value in the full service model. The business model is not wrong, it is the way in which they conduct themselves that is so often the problem.

    If CIELA wish to be taken seriously they should focus on all agents of all business models that are not playing fair. I wish CIELA the best of luck but I honestly believe that the best way for all law-abiding and hard-working agents to achieve the result they seek (of a fair, level playing field) is to join or re-join the NAEA and work for change from within its auspices rather than trying to re-invent the wheel.
    Certainly the NAEA itself needs to change, and I for one hope to be part of that change, however it offers an established proven organisation that still retains some currency within the media as a reliable trade body and professional organisation.


    Have you not noticed that the NAEA and ARLA Etc. have now become 'property mark'.
    A 'consumer protection' organisation and profitable (to them) 'trainers'.
    They have not supported their members properly for many years and this latest move cements this. They are no longer needed.

    Jon  Tarrey

    Well said, Chris.

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    The NAEA have done little or nothing to support its memebers agaianst the on-line threat but seem more content in layering more re-tape over professional agents, which on-liners seem to have little regard for. If CIELA want another target look to the Purple Brick trust pilot reviews. They are so consistenetly given 5 stars, and the way they are written speaks of artifice.

    Jon  Tarrey

    Online threat? Is it really that much of a threat? It holds a very small share of the market, and even then PB has most of that chunk.

    Purely online agencies are few and far between, and most go out of business fairly quickly. The hybrid model - mixing the best of online and traditional - is the future, and that's how PB like to describe themselves despite having no physical branches.

    There are things I can't stand about PB - none more than so their exceedingly naff "Commisery" adverts and some of their more outlandish claims like being open 24/7 - but I don't quite get the attack-dog approach that they are often bitten by. They don't deserve the huge amount of opprobrium poured on them, that's for sure.

    "They are so consistenetly given 5 stars, and the way they are written speaks of artifice"

    Of course some of their reviews are artificial, but that's the case for many others. Reviews are a nonsense in the agency world, because they can be so easily manipulated and placed there. If anyone is choosing their estate agent on the basis of reviews, rather than hard, thorough and detailed research, then they are a fool. There is a great deal of difference between a meal out or a mini-break away and selling a house, so if anyone is taking the TripAdvisor approach to selling a home then they need to have a serious rethink.

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    Is it me or does CIELA's pursuit of PB seem like selection of an easy target and therefore an excuse to score points and get more potential members onside?


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