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  1. #1
    GMC17's Avatar

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    Default C.A.R.S

    Dear LegalBeagles,

    We have been complaining about Purplebricks.com practices since December 2015, I will try to summarize it all up as small as possible and explain in detail on parts if asked.

    Basically we signed with Purplebricks back in August 2015 to sell our home, we was advised to use the deferred payment scheme (fee payment is deferred for 10 months) because we are a low income family and we could not afford to pay the £798 fee. The Purplebricks Agent did not explain how the scheme works, he only said that after 10 months a company called Close Brothers Limited take the fee payment by direct debit.

    After 3 months and only 8 viewings we was very unhappy with the service that we received and the type of people we got viewing our property. There was also a security issue with the way their online booking system works and we experienced a disturbing last viewing that made us stop using them for the remaining 7 months of the 10 months contract. We ended up going back to a local Estate Agent.
    We started a yearlong campaign to complain about the service, security and miss selling of finance to various organisations including: The Property Ombudsman, The Financial Ombudsman, Trading Standards and the ICO, all regarding different aspects of Purplebricks and what we experienced.
    None of these organisations where willing or able to take all of our complaints as a whole and offer a full compensation of the fee. Purplebricks was the most unsafe, misleading Estate Agent we have ever used, I would go as far as to say they are a scam that uses legal loop holes to get paid no matter what.

    Our situation now is we now have a debt collection company called CARS trying to collect £823. This is not the first time they have tried to contact me and they only seem to try by email. The first email I received on 19/10/2016 they said this in the email :

    We have been appointed by Purple Bricks to recover the above outstanding balance owed on your account. As you may have simply overlooked this debt, we are writing to give you one more chance to repay it before we take further action. If we do not hear from you within 10 days we will commence formal recovery proceedings.

    The email suggested to me that they were just trying to pull a fast one and had no knowledge of what this was about. So I called them and I was correct they had no clue, I told them what had happened and that I was still trying to get help in fighting this. I also explained that this fee was paid to Purplebricks in the form of an unregulated Loan in my name that I was totally unaware of when I instructed them to sell my property, this was done by a company called Close Brothers Ltd. This got them totally confused and the person on the phone went away a couple of times to ask his manager what to do, they eventually said 'ok we will put it on hold and can you email us some more details' so I did. This is what I emailed them :

    Dear Sirs

    Thank you for the email. We are currently still trying to sort out our legal rights to dispute this Credit/Loan/Finance as explained on the telephone. We stated complaining about Purplebricks at the beginning of January 2016 to various body’s like TPO, Trading Standards and the Citizens Advice about the service we received from them, this is still ongoing. We later found out that this also included an unregulated Loan (not regulated under the Consumer Credit Act 1974) that was mis-sold to us, which was supplied by Close Brothers Ltd.

    We was not aware, given or told at any point that this was a loan/credit or finance, both Purplebricks and Close Brothers have always denied that this was Credit, Loan or Finance. There was also no means test or check done to see if we could afford to pay back this loan, we told the Purplebricks Estate Agent several times that we are a low income family and could not afford the £798 fee, his answer was ‘You can defer the fee for 10 months and I guarantee you will sell the property before that’ he did not mention this was a loan, credit or finance and did not say anything about Purplebricks receiving the fee as a loan before we received any service.

    If Close Brothers insist that this is not a Loan, Credit or Finance then I don’t see why C.A.R.S is trying to enforce it, if Close Brothers are still willing to pursue this with you, then I have enough evidence to justify this in court as to why we didn’t receive an adequate or safe service from Purplebricks and why we was mis-sold Finance, Credit or a Loan.


    C.A.R.S have just emailed me again after 5 months saying the same thing in an email but this time it said the money is owed to Close Brothers.

    I would like to know if this company C.A.R.S has any right to take this to court because at the bottom of their email and on their webpage its says this 'Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for accounts formed under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 (amended 2006) licence No 521427' As this money was an unregulated loan then wouldn't this mean CARS are not authorised to pursue it?

    Both the FCA and The Financial Ombudsman would not take up our complaint because it was unregulated finance and even though Close Brothers Ltd are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Who do we complain to now or do we wait for someone to take us to court?


    Thank you

  2. #2
    Amethyst's Avatar

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    Default Re: C.A.R.S

    Presumably you made a formal complaint through Purple Bricks at the time when you cancelled, and then took this complaint on to the property ombudsman The property ombudsman found in Purple Bricks favour or is that still ongoing?

    As the account and amount owed is in dispute you should be okay to inform CARS that the amount is in dispute due to lack of service etc, and send them a copy of the latest info you have from the property ombudsman or FCA etc, and ask them to hold the account until such time as the dispute is resolved.


    Just popping some of PB's terms here for reference.
    If you choose to Pay Later we will provide you with the ability to do so subject to the Pay Later Terms. The Pay Later facility is offered to our customers by the Provider. In order to take advantage of Pay Later you agree that Purplebricks can disclose to the Provider such information as we request from you on the Online Platform when you Instruct Purplebricks and when any event should occur that represents a Deferred Payment Date.

    important INFORMATION - PLEASE READ

    If you choose to pay later you are obligated to make payment in full for our services when any of the following occurs, whichever happens first:

    When the property sells and the legal process is complete or
    If you withdraw your instructions for us to market the property or
    If you choose not to use the Conveyancing Services – see further term below or
    Ten months from the date when you agree to use our services.


    You accept that the Provider may from time to time choose to carry out identity and regulatory checks with the information you have provided to us (and the Provider if applicable). Any checks will not appear on your credit history.

    important INFORMATION - PLEASE READ

    It is a condition of Pay Later that you agree to instruct the Conveyancing Services to act on your behalf once a sale is agreed with a purchaser and you hereby agree that you will instruct the Conveyancing Services to make payment in full to the Provider on Completion for the Products and Services taken by you in the event that you have not already made payment in accordance with the Pay Later Terms.

    If you do not wish to take advantage of the Conveyancing Services then payment on instruction is the best option for you. If you decide not to take advantage of the Conveyancing Services at any time, having chosen to defer the cost of our fees, you will be required to pay an additional fee of £360.00 inc VAT when you agree a sale of your property.

    To use Pay Later you must be a natural person who is also a UK resident. Pay Later is not available to companies, businesses, partnerships, charities, trusts and such other organisations that are excluded from time to time.

    Pay Later does not apply to our lettings products and services and payment must be made in accordance with the terms and conditions of the products and services chosen.
    ‘Provider’ means Close Brothers Limited (Company No. 195626) registered in England and Wales, and its registered office is 10 Crown Place, London EC2A 4FT or such other provider as is notified to you from time to time.
    Should you wish to cancel or withdraw any Products and Services you may do so at any time. However, under no circumstances will any full or part credit be made in respect of Advertised Rates. You can withdraw your advert at any time by clicking on the ‘remove advert’ icon on your property page in the Online Platform. In certain circumstances you may be able to re-list the property within a designated period after withdrawal. Details will be made available at the time of seeking to withdraw/relist your Advert.

    You remain liable to pay Purplebricks in accordance with the Pay Later terms should you cancel or withdraw your advert or any Products and Services. Further Advertised Rates may be payable to reinstate any removed or suspended Products and Services.

    In the event that you cancel your advert or any Products and Services and have chosen to Pay Later we will notify the Provider as such circumstances will result in payment being collected from you.
    “We may not win by protesting, but if we don’t protest we will lose. If we stand up to them, there is always a chance we will win.” Hetty Bower

    Any advice I provide is given without liability, if you are unsure please seek professional legal guidance.

    Find Solicitors offering fixed fees on our sister site - JustBeagle.com

  3. #3
    GMC17's Avatar

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    Default Re: C.A.R.S

    Thank you for the reply Amethyst

    Amethyst;716705]Presumably you made a formal complaint through Purple Bricks at the time when you cancelled, and then took this complaint on to the property ombudsman The property ombudsman found in Purple Bricks favour or is that still ongoing?
    No it is not ongoing with the TPO. We complained for all of 2016 the proper way, first a formal complaint to Purplebricks then to the TPO, but because the TPO could not deal with all the issues as a whole they only offered £200 compensation which we rejected. The online security issue and our safety concerns, we tried the ICO as the TPO said this was not within their jurisdiction, but the ICO also would not take up that issue but instead said 'We will, however, keep the concern on file as part of our overall view of Purplebricks'. The Financial Ombudsman and the FCA would not take up our complaint about the mis-selling of finance because the finance was unregulated (not regulated under the Consumer Credit Act 1974) and so not within their jurisdiction.

    As the account and amount owed is in dispute you should be okay to inform CARS that the amount is in dispute due to lack of service etc, and send them a copy of the latest info you have from the property ombudsman or FCA etc, and ask them to hold the account until such time as the dispute is resolved.
    As I said none of these or other organisations where able to compensate or justify what had happened to us as a whole against Purplebricks. So it has not got resolved. We received a poor service that was unsafe and we was unknowingly setup finance by an Estate Agent. I cannot put every single detail here what happened, but from 2016 alone I have over 100 documents and emails that I have wrote explaining what did happen and if any solicitor is interested in taking on our case for free then please contact me. We cannot afford a solicitor to represent us so I am trying to get as much information as I can on our rights to avoid being taken to court. That is why I am just asking about our current situation now with C.A.R.S.

    C.A.R.S have just emailed me again after 5 months of silence, there is something going on here and I think its to do with the fact that the miss-sold finance was unregulated, that is why I asked the question. I'm trying to get the facts on what companies can and cant do regarding unregulated finance and the Consumer Credit Act.

    As this money was unregulated finance then wouldn't this mean C.A.R.S are not authorised to pursue it?


    Just popping some of PB's terms here for reference.
    This maybe for your reference, but I would like give you some more info. Purplebricks did not even follow their own complaints procedure listed on their site let alone all the terms and conditions or follow the TPO's Code of Conduct, that why the TPO was offering £200 compensation. The Close Brothers Terms and Conditions were also misleading and our formal complaint to them was also ignored, even when I pointed out why they should have not authorised the finance. The whole experience that we received from both Purplebricks and Close Brothers Ltd was very misleading and unclear regarding the Terms and Conditions from the day the agent visited our home. Both companies used wording in their terms and conditions to hide the fact that there was a finance loan given from Close Brothers to Purplebricks in the name of the seller, the PB Agent made out it was just a direct debit taken at the end of the 10 month period. There was no mention of finance or loan to us from the agent or in the T&C, the first time we become aware that finance was involved was seven months after we signed up. Both companies insisted to the TFO,TPO and FCA that their was no loan or finance and referred to it as a 'Facility' yet seven months after we signed I received an email from Close Brothers Retail Finance with the subject : Re: Close Brothers Retail Finance Loan Agreement 782158-001.

    I then called Close Brothers Ltd and found out exactly how this scam works, the lady told me that when you sign to instruct Purplebricks to sell your property Close Brothers pays Purplebricks the fee (£798) as an unregulated loan in the sellers name, the reason they do this is because Purplebricks has no legal right to sell finance and also this stops anyone (as we found out) take action against them with the TFO or FCA. This also means Purplebricks get paid before you have received any service from them, unlike other estate agents and that they get the money no matter what.

    Thank You

  4. #4
    GMC17's Avatar

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    Default Re: C.A.R.S

    Anyone willing to answer my question?

    not very impressed with this site so far.

  5. #5
    Amethyst's Avatar

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    Default Re: C.A.R.S

    Fair enough.

    CARS is now regulated under full licence 716456. The interim permissions number was 521427.

    They are a debt collection company. Yes they are entitled to pursue you for the money.

    Basically you signed up for a service with PurpleBricks which cost £798. Purplebricks enabled you to put off payment of that £798 via Close Brothers paying and you agreeing to pay back Close Brothers. Have they sent you a copy of the agreement ? Was there one or just pay later terms on the PB website ? Have you a copy of that?

    There were no charges or interest for this 'loan'. There was only a single payment to make. You could have paid it upfront then tried to obtain a refund due to the issues you experienced, or as you are doing, tried to get agreement not to pay the bill because you were unhappy with the service.

    Your issue is with the service you received from PurpleBricks, which you have taken up with the Property Ombudsman who have obtained an offer £200 compensation for the trouble you had, although you feel that PurpleBricks should refund the money (to Close Brothers) as you didn't receive the service you signed up for (in your opinion) and you should owe nothing.
    “We may not win by protesting, but if we don’t protest we will lose. If we stand up to them, there is always a chance we will win.” Hetty Bower

    Any advice I provide is given without liability, if you are unsure please seek professional legal guidance.

    Find Solicitors offering fixed fees on our sister site - JustBeagle.com

  6. #6
    GMC17's Avatar

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    Default Re: C.A.R.S

    Thanks for the reply,

    Have they sent you a copy of the agreement ? Was there one or just pay later terms on the PB website ? Have you a copy of that?
    Have they sent you a copy of the agreement ? No and we told the TPO this, the TPO said they don't have to because they are an online estate agent, even though its in the TPO's Code of Practice.

    Was there one or just pay later terms on the PB website ? Have you a copy of that? I'm not sure what you mean, I have copies of everything now, over 100 documents and email as I complained to everyone I could find on the internet.

    Basically you signed up for a service with PurpleBricks which cost £798. Purplebricks enabled you to put off payment of that £798 via Close Brothers paying and you agreeing to pay back Close Brothers.
    Its a lot more complicated than that, what you described is how it should have gone and probably does with most of Purplebricks clients who pay upfront.

    What we experienced was completely different. Security issues, misleading information, unprofessionalism and patronising disrespect.

    The TPO awarded us £200 for Purplebricks not following their own complaints procedure and for the PB agent not explaining the fee properly (that it had to be paid if the property sold or not). The TPO would not accept other complaints even though I proved that Purplebricks failed on several points in the TPO's code of practice. The TPO also would not deal with complaints regarding the miss selling of a finance loan by the PB agent and the security issues, stating this was not within the TPO's jurisdiction. So after a year of complaining no organisation was able to deal with the complaint regarding what we experienced as a whole.

    This is what happened regarding the miss-selling a finance loan.

    We was not aware or told at any point that this was a loan/credit or finance, both Purplebricks and Close Brothers deny that this was Credit/Loan or Finance, they referred to it as a 'Facility'. There was no means test or check done to see if we could afford to pay back this loan.

    I then phoned Close Brothers and was told they only did a credit check to check for iva or CCJ. So we complained to Close Brothers and showed them that we were currently already in debt of more than £14,000 which we pay £8 a month to a company called Cabot Financial since 2009 and that this would not show on a credit check because its more than six years old. So we would have not been authorised this credit in the first place, but Close Brothers dismissed this even though we found in the small print it said '(f) you are not aware of any circumstances that would affect our decision to enter into this agreement with you.'

    We haven't had credit cards or loans since 2009 and we definitely would not have signed up if we knew finance was involved.

    On the day the Purplebricks Estate Agent visited us we told him several times that we are a low income family and could not afford the £798 fee, his answer was ‘You can defer the fee for 10 months, but I guarantee you will sell the property before that’ he did not mention this was a loan/credit or finance and did not say anything about Purplebricks receiving the fee before we received the service. The PB agent only said ' A company called Close Brothers will take the fee by direct debit after 10 months or when your house is sold'. The online form to sign up with Purplebricks is split into two parts the first part looked like the basic contract you sign to instruct an estate agent, the second part looked like and was the direct debit form. This is all we expected because that is all we was told, that we needed to tick two boxes online, 1 to instruct PB and 2 to confirm the DD details.

    We only found out that finance was involved 4 months after we stopped using Purplebricks and 3 months after we started complaining, in the form of an email from Close Brothers Retail Finance.

    We tried to complain to both the FCA and The Financial Ombudsman about the miss-sold loan, but both the FCA and TFO would not take up our complaint because it was an unregulated loan and they both said they only deal with miss sold finance formed under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 (amended 2006). This is deliberate so if someone like us complains, it stops us getting compensation and taking it further.

    CARS is now regulated under full licence 716456. The interim permissions number was 521427.

    They are a debt collection company. Yes they are entitled to pursue you for the money.
    How can a company (C.A.R.S.) regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for accounts formed under the Consumer Credit Act legally pursue the finance, when the FCA and TFO cannot take up our complaint because it was unregulated?

    We cannot afford a lawyer to deal with this case iv checked how much it would cost on your site, so I'm currently writing a report that I will be sending to the BBC Watchdog programme where we hope we can get some justice and expose Purplebricks and Close Brothers.

    Sorry if I have wrote a lot but this just tinny bit of what happened. I hope you can answer my last question.

    Thank you.

  7. #7
    Bobby Bear's Avatar

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    Default Re: C.A.R.S

    Hi GMC17

    sorry to to hear about your corrupt experience with PB s . I'm now going through the same experience. I'm just wondering how you are getting on with your situation??

    Many thanks

    BB

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