Fight for your Rights: “Purplebricks won’t do the decent thing now I’m widowed”
Hannah Nemeth helps a reader struggling to get a bigger refund from her estate agent after her husband died and she no longer wanted to move
Thu, 07/30/2020 – 16:56
SF wrote to Fight for your Rights after she was upset about how “callous” online estate agent Purplebricks had been following the death of her husband.
The couple signed up with fixed-price agent Purplebricks to sell their home in July last year.
They picked Purplebricks because its fees were around £1,000 less than the £3,000 that traditional estate agents would have charged.
SF says: “My husband and I paid Purplebricks a fee of £1,882 in July 2019 as an advance for selling our home. However, five weeks later, my husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer. We took the house off the market and he died in November.
“It has been a seriously stressful time for me because my husband died intestate and getting any money for bills has been difficult. I gave up my job to look after my husband, who was only one year off retirement.”
SF decided to postpone her move, explained the situation to the two agents she had been dealing with at Purplebricks and asked for a refund of her fees. At first, they suggested that she keep her account with them for whenever she was ready to sell.
When SF refused, she says they first offered her £300 as a ‘goodwill gesture’ and then £749 – “and that was after some toing and froing”.
The reason they gave for the shortfall was ‘incurred business expenses’ – however, while she accepts that the agent did have costs, such as photography and admin, she could not see how it amounted to more than £800.
Finally, SF was offered £900 and was so stressed by everything she had to cope with that she reluctantly accepted it.
A few months later, she started to regret her decision and contacted Moneywise.
The good news is that when we spoke to Purplebricks’ head office, it was very apologetic – it seems that the two agents on the ground had acted alone.
A spokesperson for Purplebricks said: “We are really sorry this was not resolved sooner and will be giving your reader a full refund. Our thoughts are with her during such a difficult time.”
SF says: “It was a great surprise when I received a further £882 back from Purplebricks. If I used a fixed-price agent again, I would look at its refund policy more carefully.
Outcome: Purplebricks refunds an extra £882