Former estate agent Chris Wood has revealed that the investigation into Purplebricks’ use of Trustpilot by tech magazine Wired is only the tip of the iceberg and that material was left out following legal advice.
Wood helped the magazine put together its article but says his long-term campaign to investigate the company helped contribute to the closure of his business, which shut up shop in March.
“There’s more to come and it’s going to be serious stuff, and it will be more about whether in general anyone can trust online reviews,” he says.
Wired’s article revealed what it claims is evidence Purplebricks is ‘gaming’ the Trustpilot system to ensure positive reviews about its service are posted by customers, an activity that Wood has been highlighting for several years.
Purplebricks has rebutted the allegations made in the article and also told The Negotiator that “it’s worth looking at our reviews on Feefo [instead of Trustpilot] as this is the main review site we flag on our adverts now”.
“Every time something is published about Purplebricks I feel a little more vindicated because some of the stuff I’ve been ranting on about and been getting flack about is coming out into the open,” says Wood.
“This has all cost me an awful lot of money and, probably, my estate agency business too.
Wood says a previous run-in with Purplebricks over a blog he wrote in 2014 that was referred to the Advertising Standards Authority and investigated by Trading Standards is still hanging over him.
“A year after they put me under official caution for writing the blog Trading Standards have yet to talk to me or take any further actions which is ridiculous,” he says. “I’ve put in an official complaint about this.”
Wood says he is working 70-80 hours a week to pay off debts left owing after he closed his SW estate agency PDQ Estates and that he is busy building up his recently-established 3D photography business Ocean3D.co.uk.