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to take this Purple Bricks complaint further?

(52 Posts)
DefinitelyCommisery Wed 27-Feb-19 18:35:20

Feel like I've been conned! I listed my house for sale with Purple Bricks at £575,000. This price was set by the court during divorce proceedings and agreed by their estate agent. The house has been at risk of repossession due to ex's non payment of the mortgage.
I signed on with Purple Bricks in June and in 6 months I only had 1 viewing which resulted in 1 offer far below the asking price from a couple that had not sold.

In desperation, I signed on with a local estate agent in December and had 40 viewings and 4 offers within 2 weeks- many of the prospective buyers said they had seen the property online with purple bricks but the pictures were so bad they didn't view- saying the house looked very dark. The local estate agent said this was because the camera PB used had a wide angle lens attachment which blocked the flash. Id initially accepted the photos as I just thought that was how my house 'photographed' but since seeing the other photos I can really see what a bad job they actually did. These viewers confirmed that the local estate agents pictures were more representative of the property and not photoshopped.

During the course of marketing with purple bricks they kept telling me to drop the price and blaming brexit which I duly did until I'd got down to 500k and still no viewings. If I had gone with a local estate agent earlier i would have sold the house earlier for a higher price mitigating the higher fee and some!

Given that the local estate agents were able to sell the house within 2 weeks it can only be that the photos were so substandard it was detrimental to the sale. Purple Bricks are now demanding their flat rate of £849 be paid despite only getting me 1 viewing in 6 months and losing 75k by following their advice! I don't have the £849 because the house sale still hasn't completed. I've written a complaint like many others in the same boat but don't expect them to waive the fee given other experiences I've read today. Apparently, 60% of houses are still for sale after 10 months with Purple Bricks. I just don't think their sales model works.

AIBU to follow the procedures to escalate this to the Ombudsmen/ file a claim myself to county court?

RedHelenB Wed 27-Feb-19 18:38:46

Surely you must gave ok d the photos. Can't see this has much legs tbh, but if you go with the cheap option I wouldn't expect to get top price.

RebootYourEngine Wed 27-Feb-19 18:40:27

Im not an expert but i would take it further. Do purple bricks have estate agents or do they just put the house online and do nothing else?

SalrycLuxx Wed 27-Feb-19 18:42:04

How exactly did you lose 75K by following their advice?

Did you not ask local agents to quote?

Whynham Wed 27-Feb-19 18:42:14

You have no idea if your house would have sold for the higher price if it were advertised elsewhere.

DefinitelyCommisery Wed 27-Feb-19 18:44:26

Yes I did query the photos but was told that was how my house photographed. At the time I didn’t want to pay £5k for estate agent and they promise the same thing in their advertising without the massive fees.

I wish I could turn back the clock and I genuinely had no idea the no viewings were related to the photos when the purple bricks agent kept telling me it was to do with Brexit and telling me to drop the price.

The pending repossession means every penny counts and I’m just gutted all round.

TheInvestigator Wed 27-Feb-19 18:45:38

When you changed estate agents, why couldn't you set the asking price back to the original? (I've never sold a house so don't know if you're not allowed to put it back up once reduced).

If you're allowed to increase the price, then you can't blame purple bricks for the 75k loss because your new estate agents would have given you a new valuation, or you could have told them the court ordered one.

You also said OK to the photos. You know what your house looks like, and you live in the real world so you must know that photo quality can make things look better or worse. If you thought the house didn't look good in the photos, you should have done something about it.

PoliticalBiscuit Wed 27-Feb-19 18:47:22

I don't think morally you owe them any money and they've provided very little of value.

That said, I'm sure their systems are fairly tight and I'm not sure I could cope with a divorce, a house sale, and fighting an EA at the same time.

SalrycLuxx Wed 27-Feb-19 18:47:24

They took photos which you apparently accepted. If you weren’t happy you needed to complain there and then.

DefinitelyCommisery Wed 27-Feb-19 18:47:36

The house was valued at £575,000 and I dropped the price in 25k increments on advice of the purple bricks estate agent. I then couldn’t list it at a higher price when I relisted with a more effective agent. The local estate agents said if time was on my side (ie 6 months earlier) they were confident they would have got the asking price. The offer I was forced to accept due to imminent repossession was £500k.

Namechangeforthiscancershit Wed 27-Feb-19 18:48:47

Do purple bricks have estate agents or do they just put the house online and do nothing else?

Yes that’s all they do- but they are very clear on that upfront.

I don’t believe you have lost £75k. You just can’t know what you would have got if you had marketed through someone else initially.

You will have approved the photos.

Honestly I think what’s happened is you used a (very) cheap agent and got what you paid for. With a side helping of the new agent wanting to stir a bit about the old one.

Namechangeforthiscancershit Wed 27-Feb-19 18:49:30

The local estate agents said if time was on my side (ie 6 months earlier) they were confident they would have got the asking price

Agents are ALWAYS confident that they can get £x. Until they have to.

DefinitelyCommisery Wed 27-Feb-19 18:51:43

Taking all the comments on board, thank you.

PoliticalBiscuit- I really am done with it all wink I’ve had about as much as I can take! At some point karma will get my prostitute shagging, non mortgage paying, non maintenance paying ex and I’ll be sitting back with a cocktail enjoying my new found peace!

Whynham Wed 27-Feb-19 18:52:02

The estate agent would tell you they think Purple Bricks are doing a bad job because they are the competition. They cannot for sure know it would have sold at the higher price no matter how confident they are.

Mammajay Wed 27-Feb-19 18:52:40

Agents will always say they could get more in this situation.

Alsohuman Wed 27-Feb-19 18:52:57

We looked at a house and rejected it because it was on with PB, we knew they’d do nothing to ease the transaction through. That house was eventually sold through a conventional agent. I wouldn’t pay them, OP.

spanieleyes Wed 27-Feb-19 18:53:06

I then couldn’t list it at a higher price when I relisted with a more effective agent
Of course you could..

they were confident they would have got the asking price
Well, they would say that, wouldn't they!.

Nickpan Wed 27-Feb-19 18:54:02

have you looked on Rightmove to see what price other similar houses were marketed at? Don't forget, you'll only see asking price on Rightmove, not buying price

DefinitelyCommisery Wed 27-Feb-19 18:54:27

The thing that Really gets me is they claim to be as good as any other agent yet the stats are glaringly obvious they aren’t.
1 viewing in 6 months compared with 40 viewings in 2 weeks.
I researched it all and it seemed like a good option but I’ve made a really crap call and I don’t want to pay them!

tentative3 Wed 27-Feb-19 18:55:07

You're obviously frustrated and upset, and if you're just venting then fair enough. If not, I'm afraid you just need to chalk it up to experience. You've no way of proving the 'loss', indeed it's unlikely that a house worth 575 got as low as 500 without anyone looking past the photos and at least booking a viewing.

What did the estate agent you're with now value the house at? What offers did you get?

We sold our last house with purple bricks. The photos were fine, we added two to the agents' pictures, but that was more due to the sun not being out the day he came. We sold it to the first viewer. Would I use them again? No. There are high street agents offering fixed price packages now, our agent wasn't very useful during the actual sale process itself, and our current house isn't cookie cutter enough to be a purple bricks house.

Your comments about their business model: well, if they're getting paid regardless I don't suppose it really matters to them if the houses are still on the market.

KatnissMellark Wed 27-Feb-19 18:55:56

Purple bricks do what they say on the tin. They're not a traditional agents and don't do everything a traditional agent do. We sold with them for full asking price in less than two weeks, but we got feedback from lots of friends on our advert, had a few photos redone in better light/from different angles, changed the order of the photos and tweaked the wording of the advert, all via the agent but at our instigation.

I think you signed the contract and they've fulfilled their obligations so you have to pay. You could try to argue for a reduction but I'm not sure you've really got a leg to stand on, sorry.

DefinitelyCommisery Wed 27-Feb-19 18:56:10

My buyers have had a valuation survey and it indicates the house is at least 40k undervalued but repossession hearing is too close for me not to have a sale in place however low.

KatnissMellark Wed 27-Feb-19 18:56:39

Oh and EVERY local agent we spoke to slagged them off to high heaven. Perhaps because they were £thousands cheaper and taking their business.

Motherofcreek Wed 27-Feb-19 18:57:01

Dreadful company! Ours was on for 6 weeks with one view. Pictures were awful. Sold through local estate agents in the end.

I didn’t have to pay purple bricks anything though confused

thewinkingprawn Wed 27-Feb-19 18:57:21

Of course you can relist the house at a higher price - why on earth couldn’t you? The new estate agen won’t want you to because he wants a quick and easy sale (although you also need one by the sounds of it). I think you will have to pay purple bricks / you approved the photo’s and agreed to the price drop

Motherofcreek Wed 27-Feb-19 18:57:37

Did you not tell PB you were changing to other company?

Fiveredbricks Wed 27-Feb-19 18:57:48

Everyone I know has sold their house within 2-3 weeks on Purple Bricks. Maybe they're just awful in your area?

Namechangeforthiscancershit Wed 27-Feb-19 18:58:13

The thing that Really gets me is they claim to be as good as any other agent yet the stats are glaringly obvious they aren’t

I wouldn’t use them as I do not need any extra stress when moving, but I know people who are really happy with them. The were quite proactive though with the ad and pictures, and mostly were selling cheaper houses than yours which I’m sure is a factor.

Why did your buyers disclose their valuation survey to you?

thewinkingprawn Wed 27-Feb-19 18:59:13

If the house was valued by the survey at 40k more than you got for it then your current estate agent is culpable, surely.

Namechangeforthiscancershit Wed 27-Feb-19 19:00:31

At some point karma will get my prostitute shagging, non mortgage paying, non maintenance paying ex and I’ll be sitting back with a cocktail enjoying my new found peace!

Couldn’t agree more! I really think the problem here is the repossession (so, your ex) rather than PB. Unfortunately most people do struggle to get the full market value with the threat of repossession hanging over them.

Icedlatte Wed 27-Feb-19 19:04:30

But with pb you had 1 viewing in 6 months during which time the house was priced at £575, £550, £525 and finally £500.

With the EA it had lots of viewings priced at £500.

How is that a fair comparison? The photos may be better from the EA, but a saving of £75k makes it instantly more attractive, regardless of quality of photos.

Bluntness100 Wed 27-Feb-19 19:13:08

I'm sorry op, but the reason uoh got no viewings was the price was too high. If you'd tried to sell it for 575 with the brick and mortar agent, no matter how good the pics, you'd still have got no viewings.

You are contractually bound to pay them. You can take them to court to claim they broke the contract, but the likely hood of you winning is remote. As such, if you don't pay, they will come after you and the debt will increase.

Yogagirl123 Wed 27-Feb-19 19:16:26

From my understanding you sign a contract to pay PB whether you sell or not after a certain period of time. Check the contract you signed.

SassitudeandSparkle Wed 27-Feb-19 19:18:02

That's how PB works though, isn't it - a flat fee regardless of whether it sells or not? You could have put the house on the market with the EA for any price you wanted.

I'm not a fan of PB by any means and I do think it's worth paying an EA to handle a sale - but I'm not sure you've got a case here OP, sorry to say.

DefinitelyCommisery Wed 27-Feb-19 19:20:40

It was on with PB for 6 weeks at 500k still no viewings. Ex had a repossession hearing in January so I had to have a buyer in place to delay proceedings.
There were 4 offers- highest was 520k but buyers hadn’t sold and I needed to have a complete chain to present to the court.
So lots of factors really which I take on board are out of their control but it doesn’t stop the overwhelming feeling of being conned and backed into a corner.
Thank you for all of your replies.

Awwlookatmybabyspider Wed 27-Feb-19 19:21:13

I'm In the process of selling my dads well my property now. I'm with House Simple. They don't take anything until the sale is complete. If PB take a cut regards less of whether or not the property sells. What's their incentive to to help get the property to sell.
Funny they don't mention that on the Advert.

DefinitelyCommisery Wed 27-Feb-19 19:27:37

PB give you 10 months to pay the flat rate regardless of whether you have sold.
I asked them if they could wait until mid April when house completes but they said it was payable in March regardless and they will debit the funds. Well, that’ll decline anyway but it’s just more stress.

BlueCornishPixie Wed 27-Feb-19 19:28:02

I think while it's annoying, you approved the pictures. I think if the house was worth 575 they would have to be really shit pictures to get no viewings at 500k.

You also kind of get what you pay for, you didn't want to pay for an estate agent so went with purple bricks, with purple bricks you have to put tin more of the effort, checking the pictures and listing.

The estate agent could say "I could have sold it at 3mil" once it's safely sold at 500, because they will never have to prove it.

Godowneasy Wed 27-Feb-19 19:37:56

I'm a fan of online estate agents and think they could totally put potentially conventional estate agents out of business altogether. No wonder the conventional estate agents feel threatened!

I sold an expensive flat with an online estate agent (Housenetwork, not PB) a couple of years ago and I was really pleased with the service, and the huge amount of money I saved myself by using an online estate agent.

The photos were really excellent though and I think it was key to getting viewers/buyers through the door. It also helped that it was a bright sunny day when they were taken.

In the op's case it sounds as though the photos were poor and perhaps the house was initially over priced too. I don't think there's any recourse with PB as she'd agreed to using the photos.

Bringmewineandcake Wed 27-Feb-19 19:43:59

What did the t&c say about payment of their fees? They’ve definitely done a shoddy job if they only got you 1 viewing in 6’s whether you’re bound by the contract to still pay them is the sticking point.

AndThenWeWillBeAllDone Wed 27-Feb-19 19:44:31

I tried to buy a house through PB. Viewing cancelled because offer had been put in. I loved the house location and when the sale dragged on put a note through the door saying if it falls through this would be my ball park offer. Sold price was £10k less than my ballpark so PB lost seller £10k for the sake of saving £2k on fees.

Bringmewineandcake Wed 27-Feb-19 19:47:42

Sorry...the thread had moved on by the time I actually hit post blush

KatnissMellark Wed 27-Feb-19 19:47:48

I tried to buy a house through PB. Viewing cancelled because offer had been put in. I loved the house location and when the sale dragged on put a note through the door saying if it falls through this would be my ball park offer. Sold price was £10k less than my ballpark so PB lost seller £10k for the sake of saving £2k on fees.

How is that PB's fault? Those are sellers decisions. The seller decides the price to list at (with guidance), decides what viewings to accept/cancel, what offer to accept confused

tentative3 Wed 27-Feb-19 19:54:00

OP, sounds like you're having a shitty time so take on board what's been said here, forget about purple bricks, get the house sold and forget about your dickhead ex. The best revenge is living well, so go out and live bloody well.

Whatelsecouldibecalled Wed 27-Feb-19 20:00:34

Sounds like you’re having a really shit time OP. I hope your ex gets what is coming to them.

In regards to PB sounds like your local property expert was a bit rubbish. However you will still need to pay them as you signed a contract with them. Went for the cheaper option and it didn’t pay off for you.

I have just sold my house through PB and couldn’t have had a different experience. Property expert was great and knowledgable of the local market. House priced accordingly and plenty of viewings. I carefully checked the advert and did a little editing before I approved but it was of good quality to start with. We sold in 30 days of it being on the market.

Remember each time your house was reduced it entered into another search bracket. I would imagine there are more people maybe able to buy at 500k than 575k. Not that I could afford either!

Possibly a bad experience for you with PB but I think it is very area dependant. There are thousands of great reviews on trust pilot etc. If you were going to complain at all I would suggest it’s about your property expert not being that great. Good luck

Namechangeforthiscancershit Wed 27-Feb-19 20:02:53

How is that PB's fault?

I wondered that!

ILoveBray Wed 27-Feb-19 20:49:20

I'm confused why they are expecting you to pay them? Surely you only pay if the eventual buyer was introduced to your house through their service. It sounds like they weren't.

Or do I have this completely wrong? Never used Purple Bricks confused

AndThenWeWillBeAllDone Wed 27-Feb-19 22:40:55


Because a traditional agent does his or her best to get the best price for a house because of the % commission. Higher price =higher commission. PB working on a flat rate fee have no incentive to get the best price only to get the house sold so they can stick a sign showing how successful they are. PB didn't get the best price for the house and should have advised to allow further viewings and go to best and final. That's what a traditional agent would do.

KatnissMellark Wed 27-Feb-19 22:53:33

@AndThenWeWillBeAllDone if an agent is charging 2.5% commission, the £10k difference is worth £250 to the company, and probably 10 or 20% of that so max £50 to the individual agent. They quite frankly won't give a shit and will just want it sold. What you as a buyer/seller think is a significant amount of money (and is to you!) is absolute pish to agents.

If you read the TS&Cs when you go with PB and understand the offer, it's a great concept. But only if you go in eyes wide open and willing to do a lot of legwork yourself.

AndThenWeWillBeAllDone Wed 27-Feb-19 23:03:04

@KatnissMellark I disagree that agents on commission don't push for a higher price than those on flat fees.

KatnissMellark Wed 27-Feb-19 23:11:31

@AndThenWeWillBeAllDone I think they do too, but don't think they're really bothered about £10k here or there. And PB don't purported to do what traditional agents do. In my experience anyway. But as there a franchise-type model things probably do vary area by area.

Namechangeforthiscancershit Wed 27-Feb-19 23:32:21

The agents around here are currently being incentivised on price reductions because they want sales. So just getting you to agree a lower asking price benefits that individual agent regardless of any sale. Nuts. And that is in the most expensive city (housing costs vs earnings) in the country

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