Purplebricks’ service heavily criticised during BBC investigation

The broadcaster's Morning Live show interviewed two unhappy clients, both of whom said the agency's representatives had 'dropped them' as soon as listing and instruction had been completed.


Purplebricks has been heavily criticised during the BBC’s prime time breakfast show Morning Live after several unhappy clients turned to the broadcaster after their homes failed to sell, leaving them to pay for a service that had failed to find a buyer.

Journalist Holly Hamilton (main image) interviewed two former clients of the estate agency and criticised both its fixed-fee sales service and its claims to be sell homes ‘for free’.

The first was Andy Thomas from East Sussex had tried to sell his ill mother’s home via Purplebricks but who told the programme that, after instructing the agency in May last year and agreeing a £2,800 fixed-fee package which included photos, he claimed to have been dropped by the Purplebricks agent he dealt with.

After complaining to the firm, he was offered a £900 reduction, which The Property Ombudsman (TPO) subsequently said was fair. Thomas, who said he was “exceptionally angry” about the poor service he received, says he will refuse to pay the outstanding sum.


The second client featured on the programme was couple Christina and James from Southampton, who instructed Purplebricks just after its ‘for free’ offer was launched but instead picked the then £1,499 ‘full package’ which was a lot cheaper than the £5,400 quoted by a local but traditional agent.

But after their home being listed, the couple said requests for viewings went unanswered on the app by their agent, including a ‘test’ request for a viewing by Christina’s sister.

“Moving home is the most stressful thing you can do and Purplebricks just added to that stress,” said James. He has also referred his case to TPO and is awaiting a decision.

Holly Hamilton interviewed property journalist and Neg contributor, Simon Cairnes in the piece, who suggested vendors should prioritise quality of service over price, by choosing between well-established local agents and checking their online customer reviews before instructing.

The BBC says it has given Purplebricks a right to reply, but at the time of transmission had not received one.

Watch the programme’s investigation.

Read more about TPO investigations.

Read Simon Cairnes’ in-depth profile: Purplebricks – the rise and fall and rise again of the great disrupter.


  1. The whole (unpublicised) ethos of Purple Bricks is to make one individual try to do the work of a whole team, with no office presence or back up, just a mobile phone working from home. They have to value, list, take all the calls, accompany viewings, negotiate sales & progress chase, resolving often complicated problems along the way. It can’t (of course) be done which is why they are a sham & using them drastically reduces a client’s chances of a good result. No wonder the fees are less. The free idea means simply sticking the property on the internet while they try to sell add-ons to make it pay. Comparing them to traditional Estate Agents is a serious misrepresentation!

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