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Purple bricks refusing to refund HOLDING DEPOSIT


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Hello , Happy new year ! 

I proceeded to view an apartment with a purple bricks agent, during the viewing I made it clear that I am a contractor paid on a daily rate, He told me there is no problem, I also asked if I would get my refund if there is a referencing problem, of which he assured me that I would .. I went ahead and paid £439 , I paid this on their website.. Now they have done the reference through legal for landlords and have come back to say, I have to provide a guarantor with a £80,000 salary or have about £60,000 in savings in order to proceed !! 

I have called this agent and told him that I do not have a guarantor nor have this kind of savings! , ... at this point it was all getting too stressful for me besides , the apartment is in london, I own a property in essex, which I planned to let to out as soon as i move to london, but my company decided at the last minute to make me work on Two sites .. london and essex .. so because of the guarantor's request stress , I decided to send the agent this message ..

 

"

Quote

I am just in a dilemma ! I got a pay rise in November, from.£xxx/dy to £xxx/day.. I sent this to Legal Landlords. Apparently the management has something in store for me.. There is now an end of year restructuring to the business which I have just been told I will be shuttling between our London offices and Essex offices Bi-Monthly ! So which means I can't put my house up for rent in essex, as well as maintain another apartment in London.. that apartment is my dream pad as you could see my initial enthusiasm ... This has been my worry as I didn't see this coming .. "

 

To be honest if they had not raised the guarantor's request, I would have proceeded with the agreement and sort things out personally but this being before Xmas, I was overwhelmed with a lot ! 

 

 The apartment has been let to someone else as the Landlord declined my offer on the purple bricks site ..

 

So I sent the agent a message regarding my refund .. below is his reply ..

Quote

"HI  I'm afraid as references failed due to not providing guarantors details the holding fee will not be refundable "

 

I replied

 

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" I did ask you during the viewing and you said I would get a refund if there is any problem ? "

 

He has been ignoring my calls since then !

 

This is £439 !! And as we all know purple bricks have no offices .. how do I go about this please?? 

 

Below photo is what their website states about a holding deposit ..

 

Screenshot_20191226-141657_Chrome.thumb.jpg.ee250269ee12bb578379fc6ca5ec869f.jpg

 

 

 

 

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If you look around for the reviews of this company – PurpleBricks – you will find that on trust pilot, there are over 77,000 reviews of which only 4% are bad. There is an extraordinary number of five-star reviews. However, 4% equates to run about 3000 extremely negative reviews.

If you look at other sites such as reviews.Io https://www.reviews.co.uk/company-reviews/store/purplebricks you will find that out of 197 reviews, rating is only one and 1/2 stars.

And on the review site – allagents - https://www.allagents.co.uk/purplebricks/ out of 257 reviews, purplebricks are basically at one star only.

On sitejabber https://www.sitejabber.com/reviews/purplebricks.com there are 77 reviews of which 46 are two stars or less – with the majority – 42 – is only one star.  on the basis of this sample, sitejabber rates purplebricks overall at 2 1/2 stars out of five. My maths has never been great but I have to say I don't really understand how they can arrive at that calculation. It seems to me that there algorithms is loaded in favour of rounding up towards goodness and away from badness quite heavily. It seems to me that it probably should have been rounded up to only two stars out of five.

 

Even in Australia – two stars – - https://www.productreview.com.au/listings/purplebricks



There has been a lot of talk about the manipulation of trustpilot reviews – although well over 70,000 five-star reviews is pretty impressive. However if you look around the Internet, purplebrick is obviously a very controversial company. They are apparently a huge online agency and am afraid that in this kind of business where you don't meet the people you're dealing with – or at least not very often – it's not the kind of thing I would go for.

On the basis of what you have told us in your post – I would say that you will be entitled to the repayment of your deposit. I noticed that you have been referring to it as a holding fee.

On the basis of the screen print which you have posted, there is absolutely without doubt that this is a holding deposit as opposed to a fee and it simply confirms that you are being ripped off.

Even if this was simply a "holding fee" I think one would have to look very carefully at what exactly was happening here rather than simply accepting the description – but the fact that they themselves describe it as a holding deposit puts it beyond doubt.

The question is how to get your money back – and what you prepared to do about it?

You paid online but did use credit card? If you did then you can rely on section 75 Of the Consumer Credit Act and I would contact the credit card issuer and make a complaint and tell them that you want your money back because you are being ripped off.

If you paid or debit card then there is basically an industry arrangement that provides you with protection and you can begin a chargeback procedure. In that case tell your bank the circumstances and that you are being ripped off and that you want to begin a chargeback.

Alternatively you can begin a small claims action for the return of your money. On the basis of the evidence you have provided, I can't imagine that they will put up much of the defence and I would expect they will put their hands up pretty quickly. On the basis of what you have told us, your chances of success are better than 95%. We will help you all the way - but you have been with us since 2008 so you know that already.

If you do anything on the telephone with them, then make sure you have read our customer services guide and implementing the advice there. This is essential

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Wow!!  Thank you so much Bankfodder ! You Have been my lifesaver over the years! And I was so so marvelled when I saw your post ! I thought "He is still here !" .. such an ANGEL !! :)

 

I read through your response, and the customer services link ... I called Purple bricks Agent again , He didn't pick up so left him a polite message.

 

"Hello xxx this is xxx Can you please call me regarding the London apartment, Thank you "

 

He has just called me back, told me that they will be withholding the deposit  so i told him " I did not fail the reference because I explained to you from the onset that I am a Contractor" , of which he replied that he will not be making a dime out of the deposit anyways because I paid purple bricks online, that I should email the accounts office , he gave me the email.

 

Please how do I word this please  so they know , I am not playing and will take it further if they  don't refund me at this stage  ?

 

Thanks in advance

 

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Please monitor the thread for a fuller reply later

Did you record the call . if not why not

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If you want to take control of this problem then you will have to engage with this thread. You need to react quickly and assertively and if you leave delays you will only bring comfort to Purple Bricks.

 

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Hi, so sorry! Yes it was recorded

 

I sincerely apologise for the delays.. my email was not giving me notifications

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Congratulations on recording the call. Many people don't.

Can you check your notifications. Have you configured this forum not to send you notifications or is it that they are going into your spam folder?

Also you should monitor this forum for responses anyway.

Your last question was how to communicate with them and tell them that you weren't prepared to play their game.

I think it's a question of what you are prepared to do. You could either simply start writing to them and hoping they will respond – and hoping they will respond positively or else if you have the appetite for it, you could bring a small claim in the County Court.

I'm afraid that I was to undertake a fairly aggressive and assertive view of these things and I would be considering taking the small claim.

On the evidence we have from you, you have an excellent chance of success. The County Court fee for a claim of this size would be about £50 or so – but you need to check on the County Court website. If they push you to a hearing then you would probably spend about £100 or so on a hearing fee/allocation fee and if you won you would get all of this back.

You would be suing for the return of your deposit plus interest plus your costs. The interest is 8% per annum – which is a very good rate although it won't amount to very much considering the value of your deposit and the amount of time they have had it. Still it is better than a kick in the teeth.

One thing that intrigues me is that the money has been referred to by you as a holding fee and yet in the terms and conditions which you have very helpfully posted up, it describes the money as a deposit.

Can you tell us why you have been using the word "fee"

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Thanks let me listen to the recording , to hear if he referred to it as a fee or deposit , because that might be my error

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I'm really interested to know if it was referred to as a fee before you paid it. When you paid the money over, was there any kind of contract – anything in writing – anything said? Surely you didn't just pay the money.

Presumably it was paid online. It might be helpful if you access them online again and went through the process but this time took screenshots or even a video of the process so that we could see what was written. If you follow our customer services guide then in the second or third post, there is a set of instructions as to how to take a screen video

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Okay thanks .. i have just listened to the recording, He referred to it as a holding fee ..ok let me check on their website to as you advised

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Can you also please tell us what the monthly rent was on this property

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Thanks. Also did they send you the rejection in writing? If they did then please could you post it here redacted.

Thanks

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Does the "Mrs" decided to withdraw refer to you or to the landlord/lady?

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Yes but you haven't answered my question

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Okay, are you prepared to take a legal action. A county court claim on the small claims track?

I rate your chances at better than 95% – and quite frankly if they don't put their hands up then they are being pretty stupid but on the other hand maybe most people don't challenge them and simply accept the situation.

If you are prepared to go that route then don't expect the money to be repaid immediately because I doubt very much whether they will cave in on receiving your letter of claim – but you will have to do send one. You are obliged to give 14 days notice of a forthcoming legal action.

If you are prepared to go ahead then let us know and we will help you prepare a letter of claim. Do not threaten a legal action unless you are absolutely prepared to carry out your threat. Don't bluff. This means that you send a letter giving 14 days and on day 15 you issue the claim.

You send the letter of claim and in the intervening time you read around this forum for information on how to bring a small claim. It's very easy but it's worth knowing a bit about it in advance so that your level of confidence improves. You should also register on the County Court money claim website – it's free – and start drafting your claim. You can save your work as you go. The particulars of claim which you have do file will be very simple and we will help you do it.

Don't forget the although I rate your chances of success very highly, there is always a slight risk – and if you did lose then you would lose your claim fee and the allocation fee.

 

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Did you supply them with the details of the guarantor or not? What is it that you are apologising for in your first screenshot?

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I told him over a phone call that I dont have a guarantor earning anout, £80,000 they were asking and he asked if I had about £60,000 in savings, of which I said no  .. 

 

The screenshot was when the stress was getting too much but I never concluded that I wanted to withdraw

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