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Purplebricks' shares stabilise as NAEA stays distinctly non-committal

The share price of beleaguered hybrid agency Purplebricks has recovered some of the ground it lost earlier in the week after a charm offensive on Twitter and the firm’s statement to shareholders. 

On Wednesday the share price lost around seven per cent as the agency was the subject of a BBC undercover investigation on two shows concerning Purplebricks’ use of claims about savings and about the conduct of some of its Local Property Experts.

Yesterday, however, saw a reversal of fortunes. Although the price dipped sharply once again at the opening, during the course of the day the share price rose gently recovering some of its Wednesday losses by mid-afternoon.

Part of this has been attributed to a statement from the Purplebricks board to shareholders - reported here yesterday - and some was put down to a feel-good factor following a charm offensive on Twitter on Wednesday evening.

As the Watchdog show was airing on BBC One, so the Purplebricks official Twitter account - normally used sparingly - went into overdrive in a bid to regain public confidence. 

The account sought out positive comments using the agency’s own hashtag and then retweeted them.

In one retweet, Purplebricks added its own comment that it was “extremely proud of our CEO” in a reference to co-founder Michael Bruce, who was the agency’s spokesman on both BBC programmes. In another retweet, Purplebricks added a prompt to the original poster to urge them to leave a positive review on Trustpilot - even giving them a weblink to make it easier for them to find.

Even one of Purplebricks’ PR team, under her own Twitter account, tweeted on Wednesday evening: “Proud to be a part of Purplebricks and proud of our CEO” adding a heart emoji to her post for good measure.

Meanwhile, Estate Agent Today has asked the National Association of Estate Agents for its comment on the allegations made against Purplebricks on the BBC programmes - the reply was non-committal and did not mention the agency by name.

A spokesperson told EAT: “NAEA members operate to the highest professional standards and have regard to the appropriate consumer protection and property regulations in their dealings with customers.  Where they do not meet those standards, and we are aware of complaints made against members, then we can and will act. If members are in receipt of judgements where they have failed to meet appropriate standards then we would expect them to comply with those judgements from whichever body.”

However, although retweets do not necessarily always mean endorsements, the president of NAEA Propertymark, Katie Griffin, has retweeted two critical tweets from other people about Purplebricks.

One thanked the BBC and its personal finance journalist Steph McGovern for “exposing some of Purplebricks practices .. it is what the public need to know”; the other was a tweet saying the online agency had recieved “a right kicking” over its “blatant misleading, lack of transparency.”

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    What is the point of the NAEA. No support, no comment, no help, just toothless and pointless comment. Thus is clearly an opportunity for our trade body to come out with some kind of support statement for core members, not some wishy-washy management speak nonsense.

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    Tending to agree Andrew. Disappointing.
    Are they scared of upsetting someone?
    They're upsetting me!

  • Phil Hathway

    Selling loans, not houses and 60% of customers don't know they're signing a loan agreement!!
    Then add on the stealth commission from their legal referrals, it's all an absolute joke.
    I'm all for industry disruption but to make things better for customers not worse. Pay anyway just doesn't work in this industry.

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