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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Purplebricks: another complaint prompts watchdog to intervene

Purplebricks has changed the wording of an advertisement on its website after a watchdog stepped in following a complaint.

According to the Advertising Standards Authority the website claimed that customers could defer their payment to the hybrid agency at no extra cost.

“The complainant challenged whether the claim that payment can be deferred at no extra cost was misleading because they understood that to defer payment customers must agree to use the Purplebricks conveyancing service or pay an admin fee of circa £350” a spokesman for the ASA has told Estate Agent Today.

The ASA contacted Purplebricks, which at that point agreed to change the wording.

“We therefore consider the case to be informally resolved without the need for an investigation” says the spokesman.

The ‘informally resolved’ status is the lowest level of finding from the ASA, and indicates that the authority is satisfied the advertiser will amend the wording to conform with its code. There will be no formal investigation or further action about the issue.

This is thought to be the 13th time that Purplebricks has been the subject of one or more complaints to the ASA - but it is the first since October 2018.

Almost all of them have been upheld and most have been classified as informally resolved, indicating no further action required to settle the issue.

The only complaint to the ASA that was not upheld was in 2017 and came collectively from estate agents and Plymouth city council’s trading standards team.

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

At that time - 2016 - 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.”

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    Is it even permitted to make it conditional that a deferred option is conditional on paying for an additional service for which they may receive a referral fee. Looking at PB’s website there is no reference to referral fees so perhaps they don’t receive them, oh but then they probably don’t have any interest in Premier Property Lawyers!!

  • Lenny White

    Good challenge! PB not misleading just a blatant lie.

  • jeremy clarke

    Ah, informally resolved, again?
    What do this lot have to do to actually get punished?

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    ASA are suppose to instil confidence that ads are honest, however it seems PB can tell lies drag their heals and then remove for the 13th time after gaining traction in the meantime

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