Purplebricks is to be investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over a ruling the watchdog published last year which upheld a complaint by the Charter for Independent Estates and Lettings Agents (CIELA) about its TV advertising.
CIELA claims that Purplebricks is still not being clear about its upfront fee structure, despite the ASA saying it should do when, in October, the ASA found that Purplebricks’ ‘commisery’ TV ads had breached its Code of Broadcast Advertising.
In the comments, the ASA said Purplebricks must “ensure that when making a comparison to other fee models in their ads, they made it clear that their flat fee was always payable.”
Last week CIELA made a further complaint to the ASA, pointing out that several of Purplebricks’ online adverts made the same claims, and had not been amended to reflect the ASA’s earlier decision.
CIELA has been told by the ASA that its complaint will not be taken forward.
In an email to CIELA, it has said that “having considered your complaint, we have determined that it is not necessary to reinvestigate the issue, in light of the previous ruling.
“Instead, we will refer this matter directly to our Compliance team to take action; the Compliance team does not report to complainants or publish the details of its work, but please be assured that it will address the problem.”
CIELA claims that no-where on its website does Purplebricks clearly state that unlike traditional agents its vendors pay up-front, rather than on completion.
But in one homepage box, ‘What’s included in our fixed fee”, there is an oblique reference to the up-front fee, when the copy says: “Use our competitively priced conveyancing services, and you need pay nothing upfront. Instead, you’ll pay when your property sells or after 10 months, whichever is the sooner.”