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.”
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.”