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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Michael Bruce bats away accusation of “bullying tactics”

Purplebricks founder Michael Bruce has batted away a stinging attack on him made by allAgents, a review website.

allAgents has set up a profile for users to leave reviews of the new portal Boomin, which launches shortly and which was also founded by Michael Bruce and his brother Kenny.

But the website’s head - Martin McKenzie - has revived a long-running dispute that existed between his service and Purplebricks between 2017 and 2019.

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Back then the two firms were in dispute over sharply critical reviews of Purplebricks on the allAgents site, which were in contrast to the strongly supportive tone of reviews on other sites, notably Trustpilot. allAgents removed Purplebricks reviews at one point, claiming it had received legal threats from the agency, but later reinstated them.

Now with the Bruce brothers having moved from Purplebricks to Boomin, McKenzie has issued a statement saying: “We are hoping that there is no repeat of the PB bullying tactics and that the Management will allow us to host feedback of genuine Boomin customers without the fear of litigation."

He continues: "The industry is slightly wary in light of the damage the brothers inflicted on the industry with PB. It's the estate agents this time that they need to instil some trust in and that their intentions are sincere. By settling our differences, we believe could have gone a long way to help them demonstrate just that. Sadly, we have reached out to Michael on a number of occasions about making a fresh start but were snubbed.”

Last evening Boomin's Michael Bruce responded in a less confrontational tone.

He told Estate Agent Today: "We would like to thank allAgents for reaching out and for including Boomin on their supplier review page. Our marketing team will be in touch to explore the commercial opportunities offered. We welcome open feedback, positive or negative, that will help us to continuously evolve and deliver a transformational experience for agents and customers."

Meanwhile Boomin has this morning issued details of how it will involve agents at board level - you can see details here.

  • Charlie Lamdin

    It’s worth remembering that despite the high number of reported threats of legal action made by Purplebricks (against myself included), they never actually took anyone to court. All gong and no dinner. I would urge anyone on the receiving end of legal threats made by Boomin’ (and I predict it will only be a matter of time until the first ones happen) to remember the following:

    1. Lawyers aren’t judges. They can say and threaten whatever they like in a letter, but unless they issue court proceedings and a judge in a court makes a ruling or court order in their favour against you, you are free to ignore their letters. It costs very little for a lawyer to send a letter, it costs far more in time as well as money to bring a case to court.

    2. Remember that for a court to find in favour of a defamation claim, the plaintiff must PROVE that they have suffered financial loss as a direct result of published falsehood. So they need evidence of you PUBLISHING a falsehood, and evidence linking the consequences of that falsehood directly to their loss of income. The court cannot find against anyone who expresses an opinion. That is my understanding.

    PB has form when it comes to misleading adverts being banned by the ASA and their sales people tricking customers into signing credit agreements, resulting in poor Mikey grovelling on Watchdog, admitting it and saying they’ll do better. Perhaps they have learned something and will behave better this time, perhaps not. We shall see.

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    What is it about leopards and their spots?

     
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