Purplebricks hits back at BBC claims

Online estate agent Purplebricks has hit back at claims made in a television documentary which caused its shares to plunge.

Purplebricks has hit back at claims made in a TV documentary

The firm was the subject of allegations by the BBC that it used a banned claim in its marketing material and embellished sales figures.

Concerns were also raised over the way Purplebricks allows customers to defer payments.

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Its shares dropped around 8% as a result on Wednesday.

However, in a stock market announcement addressing the issues raised, the firm said it is “confident” that the disclosure of the terms and nature of the deferred payment facility are “clear and transparent”.

Last year the Advertising Standards Agency ordered the company to ditch promotional material claiming customers could save more than £4,000 on average by using its services.

But the BBC flagged that the group had repeated the claim in promotional emails.

Purplebricks said a “standard email format (had) inadvertently still included the savings figure” and apologised for what it called an “oversight”.

The BBC also aired claims that the firm’s “local property experts” (LPEs) provided exaggerated instructions and sales figures for their respective areas.

Purplebricks “believes that the figures provided by the LPEs concerned have fairly reflected the performance of the teams operating in those areas”, but it nevertheless committed to ensure its experts are clear about the statistics they use.

Purplebricks founder and chief executive Michael Bruce said: “The board and the group are committed to the highest levels of customer service and disclosure, and we believe this is reflected in the business’ sales growth and the high levels of customer satisfaction; evidenced by its 23,000 Trustpilot reviews with an average score of 9.5 and its rating of Excellent.

“The group is the most positively reviewed estate agent in the UK,’’ he added. “We seek to satisfy and surpass our regulatory obligations at all times, and where we find circumstances where we have fallen short we seek to rectify these situations at the earliest opportunity. The Purplebricks’ offering has already saved consumers in the UK tens of millions of pounds when selling their properties, and we are focused on building on this position still further.”