An intervention by a magazine has led to Purplebricks refunding the up-front fee to a seller whose husband died suddenly and who therefore took her home off the market.
The personal finance publication Moneywise reports that it was contacted by the widowed seller, who it does not name; she described Purplebricks as “callous” over its behaviour in the second half of last year.
In July 2019 she and her husband paid Purplebricks £1,882.
Then she takes up the story in the magazine: “Five weeks later, my husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer. We took the house off the market and he died in November.
“It has been a seriously stressful time for me because my husband died intestate and getting any money for bills has been difficult. I gave up my job to look after my husband, who was only one year off retirement.”
She decided to take the property off the market and explained her circumstances to two Purplebricks representatives, asking for a refund of her fee.
They initially recommended that she keep her account with them for whenever she was ready to sell, but when she declined that idea she says she was offered £300 as a ‘goodwill gesture’.
Then - after what the widow describes as “some to-ing and fro-ing” - she was offered £749.
The widow says she was informed that a full refund was not possible as the agents had already “incurred business expenses” including photography and admin.
Finally late last year the widow was offered £900 which she reluctantly accepted; however, earlier this year she says she regretted her decision and contacted Moneywise.
The magazine article then explains: “When we spoke to Purplebricks’ head office, it was very apologetic – it seems that the two agents on the ground had acted alone.”
The agency itself says: “We are really sorry this was not resolved sooner and will be giving your reader a full refund. Our thoughts are with her during such a difficult time.”
The vendor has now received the full refund saying: “It was a great surprise when I received a further £882 back from Purplebricks. If I used a fixed-price agent again, I would look at its refund policy more carefully.”