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Trade body explains Purplebricks complaint as war of words continues

Fledgling trade body The Charter for Independent Estate and Letting Agents (CIELA) has described Purplebricks as the 'biggest enemy currently facing independent agents'.

The organisation has taken to its blog to explain why it has written a complaint letter to the high-profile hybrid agency.

The CIELA writes that it can think of no other single organisation 'doing more harm' to the reputation of estate agents than Purplebricks.


It also accuses the firm - which recently announced its intention to launch in the US - of misleading consumers into 'parting with money that they may well not be in a position to lose if their home fails to sell'.

The blog goes on to say that the CIELA has received legal advice suggesting that the agency's advertising may be in breach of consumer protection legislation. 

The trade body accuses Purplebricks of taking instructions and up-front fees away from genuine agents that deserve them. It states that its goal is to increase market share for independent agents and this is therefore one of the primary reasons why it is targeting the agency founded by Kenny and Michael Bruce.


"A well-aimed sniper shot can slow even the biggest adversary," reads the blog posted on the CIELA website on Sunday.

"While a change to their advertising may not bring them down, it could do significant harm to their sales, which in itself would prove the advertising was misleading in the first place."

Purplebricks has declined to comment on the CIELA’s release.

The CIELA was formally inaugurated last week and is set for official launch in October.

Some 12 regional officers and an unspecified number of county and London borough officers will be appointed before the end of March.

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    Progress will alway have it doubters - Are CIELA missing something here? Surely a vendor knows exactly what the T&C's are with PB and they still proceed. You can't uninvent the invented - Customers have a requirement, PB fills it (9.4 on Trustpilot with over 14,000 reviews) I think that says it all.
    Please stop this "war" - CIELA's words remind me of a petulent child. How about changing your business model to suit what vendors and buyers want instead of insisting your 50+ year old model still works and PB is the naughty boy in the playgorund daring to change an industry. Are we simply jealous of their success? Another point, I haven't heard CIELA say one word about how they could improve their customer experience - Perhaps if they focus on that and not bashing the competition then they wouldn't need to cry in the corner....

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    It's not progress, PB is simply an alternative - and i will applaud CIELA if they get their message out to the consumer. I reckon most trad agents have a sales staff ratio of at least 3 or 4 times that of PB in any given area i.e. a more experienced and supportive service.

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    I am so torn on the whole PB situation, on one hand I think what they are doing is fantastic, whatever you think of them to take the share of the market they have is amazing. On the other hand I find them obnoxious, so many linked in post's showing market share and constant press. Maybe it is the future but I think there will always be a place for traditional agents.

    I do find all the purple bricks bashing a bit childish though. if everyone is so convinced they are terrible let them fail, I think people are just threatened and that can only be a good thing for them.

  • Terence Dicks

    Nothing PB does is fantastic. They are allowed to advertise without making it clear that the "fee" is paid regardless of whether they sell or not. Their so-called Local Property Experts have no need to sell the properties they list as they are paid an immediate fee from the initial listing. All they do is to list said properties on portals. It is also not made clear to prospective clients that should their property be sold, and they do not use PBs own conveyancing firm, the "fee" is increased by £300 and the whole fee is immediately payable upfront. Their own conveyancing firm is, by the way, a complete and utter shambles and cost considerably more than a decent conveyancing firm. If they were not so underhanded in everything they do, I would indeed applaud them, but show me the profit they have made, or any other "online agent". The model they use is clearly unsustainable without crowdfunding or diluting share issues. I do not apologise for any views I air on this site, but have the right to do so. I have worked in this industry for over 30 years, and ANY agent either online or high street who acts like PB and House Simples earn the disdain of any decent agent.

  • Trevor Mealham

    In 2016 the CMA concluded that traditional bricks-and-mortar estate agents were a separate market and that online estate agents exercised “only relatively weak competitive pressure” by Michael Grenfell, CMA Executive Director

  • John Evans

    Martin Jones did you arrive on a banana boat? PB stopped facebook reviews because there were too many complaint about them. Trustpilot allow the paying client to remove too many negative review. Wise up man!


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