Reviews site allAgents has pulled out of talks with Purplebricks which had been held to try and settle the dispute between them over their ‘fake’ reviews row.
allAgents said it withdrew from the negotiations yesterday afternoon.
However, Purplebricks yesterday evening delivered its own strongly-worded version of events, saying that allAgents had been given a week-long opportunity to substantiate 26 reviews it had submitted as being suspect – but failed to do so.
Purplebricks says that, for example, it has queried reviews naming Local Property Experts in certain locations when no such LPE with that name operates there.
A spokesperson told us: “allAgents have had these 26 reviews for one week – presumably they must have had a look at the reviews in the week and if they were genuine would have taken great pleasure in making this fact public to cause maximum embarrassment.
“The fact they have instead chosen to pull out of talks tells you everything.”
The saga was updated yesterday when allAgents issued a short statement saying: “allAgents can confirm that at 2.30pm today, we withdrew from our talks with Purplebricks regarding the negative reviews hosted on our website and the suspension of their account.
“A more detailed statement will be released in the next few days.”
Within hours, Purplebricks released its own statement, saying: “The situation with allAgents has arisen because we were concerned that there were fake reviews on their website and so we performed an audit of the published reviews.
“Last week we sent a sample of these reviews for allAgents to substantiate and verify.
“The reviews included a range of characteristics that suggested to us that they were not legitimate; for instance, the LPE referred to in the review did not actually work in the area or postcode concerned and the email address did not match any known customer of Purplebricks.
“To date we have received no response from allAgents as to their legitimacy or verification. Nor have we been provided with any means of identification by allAgents such that we can authenticate that the authors were customers of ours.
“As the publishers of these reviews, we hope that allAgents will provide this information so that we can quickly resolve this matter and we can all move on.
“We have provided them with all of the information they need to do so.
“As we have said on many occasions, we have no problem with genuine reviews or reviewers, and actively encourage a wide-ranging, robust and extensive review process through Trustpilot, which now has feedback from over 31,000 customers.”
The altercation began when allAgents was accused by Purplebricks of hosting a number of bogus reviews plus others which could not be authenticated.
Purplebricks said it had done an audit of reviews and found that 29% were false and a further 23% could not be substantiated.
allAgents said it received legal letters as a result of which it first pulled the reviews, and then after further legal letters, the Purplebricks page.
allAgents maintained at the time that it requested a copy of the audit so it could investigate the claims.
But Purplebricks’ lawyers declined, saying their client “did not want to be put to further unnecessary costs”.
allAgents countered: “We’re puzzled by this comment, as they claim to already have done the work. Furthermore their lawyers’ letters keep coming. Again, we call on Purplebricks to provide us with the results of this audit.
“If they don’t, we can only assume that it simply doesn’t exist.”
The site then went on to crowdfund, attempting to raise £50,000 in its fight against what it called “corporate bullying”. The money would have been used for any legal costs should Purplebricks have instituted legal action.
However, allAgents narrowly failed to raise enough money – getting £45,380 from 197 supporters.
allAgents told EYE yesterday evening that it nevertheless plans to reinstate both the page and the reviews in the coming days.
It did not however say when it exactly plans to do so.