At least some calls from potential customers to Emoov are being cut off and rival estate agents are now plundering the online firm’s remaining listings as the saga of the company’s financial crisis continues.
Over the weekend calls from the public to the telephone number on Emoov’s website home page received the usual choice of options. However, on several calls we tried, whenever a selection was made to enquire about a free valuation or to discuss how to sell a property through Emoov, the caller heard around 20 rings before being cut off.
The agency - which previously relied heavily on social media to enforce its brand and drum up awareness - has not tweeted from its official account since November 22, providing no information to its current or future customers. Properties listed with Tepilo, owned by Emoov, are believed to have been removed from Rightmove and Zoopla; at least some Emoov listings have also disappeared from Zoopla.
Emoov management has told staff that if they continue to work until around mid-week "there is a fair possibility" they will be paid for last month by a new owner.
Meanwhile rival estate agents have admitted that they are approaching what remains of Emoov’s seller database with a view to persuading them to shift their instructions away from the embattled online firm.
“Like other agents we know, we’ve been asking Emoov sellers if they want to move to another firm” one agent has told EAT; “The reality is that 95 per cent of the instructions are way overpriced and going nowhere” another agent has told us.
Another has predicted the Purplebricks and Yopa will be attempting to poach Emoov’s clients in a bid to extend their domination of the online sector.
While all of this has been going on, Emoov’s Trustpilot reviews - a prominent part of the agency’s marketing in the past - have been revealing dissatisfied customers.
One review posted on Saturday - giving one star out of five - was from a frustrated seller claiming to have had their home on the market through the agency for two months without the For Sale board they had paid for. “Why take the money and not supply what you have been paid for?? Never again!!!!”
The intro sentence of a separate lengthy one star post on Trustpilot said: “Emoov have treated all involved in the sale of my house with disdain.”
Another was from a customer apparently seeking a refund because of the publicity surrounding the firm's financial crisis. “It doesn’t look good at all to those seeking refunds. Sky News today announced Emoov calling in administrators only a few months after raising money on Crowdcube. Absolute disgrace.”
Yet another reviewer - entitled ‘Avoid Avoid Avoid’ - wrote: “Buying a house using Emoov is like pulling hens teeth. No call backs, no email replies. No interest at all. Two weeks and still no contact. My solicitor cannot get any answers.”
One more is entitled ‘Incompetent … unprofessional & do not provide the service’ and claims the agency agreed to a refund but - 16 days after the alleged agreement - no monies had been returned.”
Some other recent reviews praise the agency.
Emoov asked Emoov chief executive Russell Quirk for his response to the issues raised.
He declined to give any new details on the sale of Emoov or its possible move into administration but he gave this reply about customer service issues.
“The Emoov office is currently manned. That said, for obvious reasons our staffing resource has been under considerable pressure during November and therefore it’s not been business as usual where service levels are concerned.
“You’ll be aware that Emoov has consistently been rated the best by its customers amongst its competitors year after year via the combined average rating on Trustpilot, AllAgents and Google Reviews.
“Emoov has previously won numerous awards for its customer service and we should be defined by the great work in that regard that the Emoov team have achieved in its nine year existence and which is over and above that of its peers. And not just the past few weeks’ whilst we’ve been firefighting due to an acute shortage of resource.”