A year ago the story about a spat between Purplebricks and the UK largest agent reviews site would have stayed a specialist concern for agents and perhaps regulators.
Similar stories about the company’s multiple run-ins with the Advertising Standards Authority in the past have hardly stirred much interest overseas or even within the UK’s national press.
But Purplebricks’ recent expansion in the US and Australia means its minor scrapes with UK regulators and review sites now make global headlines.
The latest clash between the online agent and – this time – allAgents.co.uk has been so far reported in the Australian Financial Review, The Times, and the New York Times. among others.
The story broke late yesterday after allAgents removed Purplebricks’ profile page following “repeated threats of legal action”, the review site said.
The arguments started after Purplebricks noticed that approximately half of its reviews on allAgents posted by users were the lowest, one-star rating and asked the review site to remove them.
Purplebricks told Reuters that “Purplebricks is proud of its reputation and the quality of the service that it delivers.”
The company appears to have taken legal action against allAgents, which is based in Glasgow, and the reviews site has now posted a message announcing the “account suspension of Purplebricks”.
Users will be free to post “genuine reviews” about Purplebricks but allAgents says “at this time we will not be willing to publish them”.
The online agent has clearly annoyed allAgents with its legal manoeuvres as the site says it will also no longer allow Purplebricks customers to list properties on its property portal.
AllAgents director Martin McKenzie said he believed the reviews queried by Purplebricks were genuine, and that it uses “stringent checks” including verifying email and IP addresses, he told Reuters.
“Our business is founded on trust, and we will never let the impartiality of our reviews be compromised in any way,” he said.