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Purplebricks slapped on wrist (again) after complaint over radio ads

Purplebricks has been the subject of another complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority - and the issue has again been categorised as ‘informally resolved.’

A statement to Estate Agent Today by the ASA says: “The complainant challenged whether two radio ads made sufficiently clear that Purplebricks charged a fee for their service. The ads are no longer being aired and Purplebricks gave assurance that they’ll ensure the information is clear in future ads.”

On that basis the complaint was classed as ‘informally resolved’ meaning it will not be the subject of any further investigation.


This is the 12th time that Purplebricks has been the subject of complaints to the ASA. Almost all of them have been upheld, and most informally resolved.

The most recent, before today, was in August when the complaint was over a claim on its website home page that the agency advertised on “all the major portals” when it fact it could not advertise on OnTheMarket, which effectively bans hybrid and online agencies from its listings.

The only complaint to the ASA that was not upheld was almost exactly a year ago and came collectively from estate agents and Plymouth city council’s trading standards team.

In 2016 Estate Agent Today asked the ASA for information about why so many complaints about agents appeared to be informally resolved, sometimes to the annoyance of others in the industry.

At that time a spokeswoman for the ASA told EAT: “Our own public research shows us an informal resolution is the preferred option for both advertisers and complainants. 

“It is a fast and effective way to resolve what are normally complaints about minor or clear cut issues under the rules and which are easily corrected. 

“We do however reserve the right to escalate any complaint to a formal investigation if we feel like the concerns raised represent a significant consumer detriment or if the advertiser wished to challenge the details of the complaint raised.”

Poll: Do online agencies 'get off' too lightly with the ASA?


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    Unfortunately, and as one that has raised a few complaints with the ASA about this very subject, the slap on the wrist does nothing to prevent the damage already done to the honest service providers in the estate agency industry.

    In fact, the consequences to PB of lying in ads is absolutely zero, so why don't we all take a leaf from PB's book and say what we want, mislead the public, fail to mention hidden charges, fail to inform properly about all manner of important small print, and then once we've attracted the 10,000 or so customers from the lies we can shrug it off when we get a gentle slap on the wrist from the ASA. We don't do it because we all have a higher degree of professional integrity and have worked hard to build good reputations in our local market place - because we actually care what our customers think and don't have the budgets to bury bad reviews.

    When will the public realise that PB is not their friend? If they have to lie to get customers then surely that should be one of the biggest red flags going up when deciding on an agent. The problem is that the the lies told by PB and ASA rulings very rarely make it to the mainstream media so the average Joe is never any the wiser.

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    Well said Stephen !

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    Purple Tricks adverts are scandalous. But they are desperate to give a return to the suckers who have invested into this nonsense and its all going down the plug hole and at the same time lowering standards across the property industry and slowing down others involved in chains.

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    The Aussies don't stand for it -why do our Authorities.

    Im in a chain with PB and its a disaster-the supposed LPE isn't even an ex Estate Agent -hasn't got a clue.
    Someone needs to get the TV-BBC/Radio involved and investigate what is a right royal scandal.


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