Purplebricks has strongly refuted claims that it has tried to skew Trustpilot reviews in favour of positive feedback.
It has also denied that it invites customers to post their reviews at too early a stage of transactions.
Its comments come after publication Wired ran a highly critical story under the headline: “Are Purplebricks’ glowing Trustpilot reviews too good to be true?”
The sub-headline says an investigation has “found evidence” that Purplebricks “selectively screens” reviews.
The article says that of 69,000 reviews on Trustpilot, 89% are as positive as they could be.
“[They] achieve the top rung of Trustpilot’s five-point rating system: excellent.”
There are 7% ‘great’ reviews, 1% ‘average’, 1% poor, and 3% ‘bad’ says the article.
The article compares Purplebricks’ reviews on Trustpilot with those it receives elsewhere, including on allAgents.
Wired says it asked KwikChex, a website it describes as tackling “online distortion”, to investigate, and says it found evidence that Purplebricks is mostly likely “gaming the system”.
KwikChex director Chris Emmins said: “That doesn’t necessarily mean that thousands of fake reviews are being published, but there are ways to game or manipulate the system to achieve very strong results.”
It claims that customers suspected of being dissatisfied are not invited to leave reviews; others are asked to post reviews before their homes are sold; and staff are incentivised to obtain reviews from customers, including “multiple” reviews from satisfied customers.
However, a Purplebricks spokesperson said: “Everyone selling with us has the opportunity to leave an honest review of their experience.
“We do not pick and choose which customers should leave a review – and we do not seek to get reviews removed.”
The spokesperson went on: “In keeping with Trustpilot’s best practice policy, we ask everyone selling with us to leave a review of their experience with Purplebricks at the Sold Subject to Contract (SSTC) stage via a customer email.
“Lettings customers are asked for feedback at the ‘move in’ stage also via email.
“We work closely with Trustpilot to ensure our policies and practices are market leading, fair and transparent.”
A Trustpilot spokesperson told Wired: “If we find that any company is violating our guidelines, we investigate and take appropriate action. If a company is found to be in breach of our guidelines, we can issue warnings, formal cease and desist proceedings and ultimately a consumer alert on its Trustpilot page, letting the world know of attempts to mislead consumers.
“Our compliance team is currently undertaking a full investigation into the invitation methods being utilised by Purplebricks.
“We have previously sent a legal letter to the business requesting further explanation around some of their invitation practices and a meeting is scheduled to take place next month.
“Should it be deemed that the company is in breach of our guidelines, action will be taken.”