Purplebricks has come under fire for allegedly misleading consumers about the terms of their fees, copping a five-figure penalty in the process.
According to Queensland’s Office of Fair Trading (OFT), the online agency entered into agreements with clients between November 2016 and June 2017 that did not properly disclose the fee terms.
The OFT also claimed that Purplebricks misled consumers about additional services, despite marketing “low, fixed fees.
Separately, Purplebricks failed to meet certain regulatory obligations, according to the OFT. Those alleged breaches relate to the use of a non-Queensland bank account, inappropriate accounting software and notification of substitute licensees.
The agency was investigated following multiple consumer complaints.
“Queenslanders have the right to expect that real estate agents will make accurate and honest agreements with their clients,” said Fair Trading acting executive director Craig Routledge.
“If real estate agents breach laws and industry regulations, the OFT will not hesitate to investigate and pursue if required.”
Purplebricks was ordered to pay a penalty of $20,000 and enter into two enforceable undertakings for a three-year period to ensure claims about the agency, its services and particularly its fee structure are not misleading.
The OFT said that Purplebricks has already amended both its advertising as well as its contracts and processes to ensure consumers are fully aware of the fee structure before signing an agreement.
Purplebricks has been contacted for comment.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.