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Purplebricks apologises over conveyancing problem for customers

With the conveyancing crisis at the Simplify Group now approaching two weeks old, it appears Purplebricks has been the worst affected agency.

It is thought that a very high percentage of Purplebricks transactions involve Premier Property Lawyers, one of the Simplify Group’s brands. One industry figure has told Estate Agent Today it could be 80 per cent.

The agency has tweeted an apology to customers saying: “We're working closely with our conveyancing partner to contact and support customers affected by the IT issue. Our priority is helping customers who are exchanging and completing this week, so please bear with us. We apologise to all customers impacted by this.” 

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Purplebricks is also sending scores of tweets to angry customers, delayed by the conveyancing crisis and venting their anger on Twitter in particular; the tweets try to take the complaints offline so they can be dealt with privately.

Rival agencies Yopa, Strike and Fine & Country are also reported to be significant customers of PPL, although with far fewer customers than Purplebricks.

Purplebricks has told Estate Agent Today: “Customers who have opted to use our conveyancers have been impacted by the Simplify issue. We’ve been doing everything we can to help and support these customers, working very closely with Simplify - who are making good progress in restoring their service. Purplebricks platform and systems are operating as normal."

Estimates indicate that five per cent of all residential transactions in the UK now use Simplify Group brands which include JS Law, DC Law and Advantage Property Lawyers as well as Premier Property Lawyers.

After a substantial period of patience by customers, there has been a growing backlash on social media - sometimes aimed at agents, particularly Purplebricks, although the issues all appear to concern the Simplify crisis. 

Simplify has confirmed that clients who want to move to a different conveyancer will not be charged for the work it has done and that, once they are available, land searches already completed may be transferred too.

The Council for Licensed Conveyancers says: “Clients who have not yet exchanged contracts with their seller or buyer must consider whether to wait to progress their transactions when Simplify’s systems are running again or whether to instruct a different conveyancer. The limited access Simplify currently has to transaction files means that they cannot currently provide files to another conveyancer. We are pressing Simplify to address this. This could mean that you would need to start from the beginning, and this may result in your transaction taking longer.”

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    Will Purple Bricks be returning the £300 or so they receive in commission from Solicitors for recommending or rather forcing customers to use their panel solicitors ?

    Another company in Scotland Conveyancing Direct in Scotland has ceased trading and this is what happens when Estate Agents use conveyancing firms that chase volume at bargain basement fees.

  • Matthew Evans

    They should probably set a calendar reminder to do this every week!

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    And what a surprise - cheap fee model invariably results in poor service, lack of investment and relies on high volumes that aren't always going to be there. Dreadful strategy that will mostly end in tears and people suffer as a result. Agree with Ken - PB should send back the extra commission they receive.

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    • S S
    • 19 November 2021 23:31 PM

    And of course PB will compensate clients by the sharing of their commission! NOT.
    Vendors using PB want the cheapest service...and unfortunately pay peanuts expect monkeys.
    Pay for a professional service with qualified staff and trusted partners - that costs more but gives better results and provides a good house selling experience.
    The "commissary" advertising by PB undervalued professional service and experienced estate agents - it didn't disrupt the market, it hurt the people who probably needed a good agent the most.
    If we, as agents don't value our service and compete in the "Race to the bottom", why should
    any vendor value what we do?

    C B
    • C B
    • 20 November 2021 07:32 AM

    Well said. 👏

     
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    Strange I didn’t see them apologising to customers who may have been unable to take advantage of SDLT saving as a result of poor, slow Conveyancing they recommended?
    So will they now be reviewing their recommendation policy and sending work to conveyancers based on ability rather than how much they pay?

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