It started with a tweet – but it soon led to some very strong exchanges of views between consumer rights broadcaster Alice Beer and other twitterati.
Beer was flagging up a piece on radio, and since it was about those beastly people, estate agents, what could possibly go wrong?
Stumbling into the war zone, she tweeted: “93% of estate agents do not list their fees and 72% of home owners agree the first fee given to them. Why? Today doing radio interviews asking for greater transparency from high st agents.”
It was followed up with a picture of Beer (plus notes) at the microphone explaining that it was “home owners” wanting this transparency according to new research from Purplebricks.
It all proved to be quickly akin to lighting the digital blue touch paper.
One person tweeted: “Guessing Alice has shares in Purplebricks then.”
Beer replied: “You are completely wrong and that is a very leading accusation.”
Another said: “A study by Purplebricks!!! A good balanced report then.”
Beer responded: “Commissioned by, not carried out by. Do you think I came down with the last shower.”
Enter another tweeter, who said “Surprised PB ‘commissioned’ anything to be honest. They usually dress it up as a ‘fee’ . . . That’s what needs investigating.”
And so it went on . . . and on . . . and on.
People weighed in with all sorts of comments, and perhaps most (okay, all) were surely not quite what Beer – who by this time had wisely given up on the debate – can have expected.
There were exchanges about how many properties Purplebricks sells; its reviews; and criticisms of Beer herself, with one person saying: “I thought you were independent?”
Another said: “Feels to me that your emphasis is extremely biased towards one side of the story. Is this what reporting is all about?”
We suspect that Beer, who is the consumer editor for This Morning, may not want to return to the subject of online agents at any time in the near future.
And indeed, we see that she is now more comfortably looking at how to dry your laundry indoors.
Below – the notes used by Alice Beer during the radio piece which looked at the apparent lack of transparency of high street agents, based on research from Purplebricks