Easymatch founder and Chair of CIELA (The Charter For Independent Estate & Letting Agents), Charlie Wright, is never one to mince his words, but he pushed the boat out this week creating a blog post entitled “Purplebricks founder and CEO Michael Bruce is a liar and a conman”.
On the back of news that the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled Purplebricks ‘commisery’ TV adverts as misleading, Wright doesn’t pull any punches, claiming the online agent is “tricking vulnerable people into parting with money they can’t afford to lose.”
He goes on to say that “Watchdog’s investigation into the many complaints made against the company made little difference, as Mr. Bruce’s slippery performance and their equally slippery TV ads continued unchecked.”
The Proptech executive then gets personal, “Shame on you Michael Bruce. You are nothing more than a common thief to me, the Del-boy of conmen who got lucky, abusing the livelihoods of other honest people so you can go and buy another shiny, ill-fitting suit.”
Bruce responded to ASA’s ruling, “We are surprised by the ASA judgement on the flat fee wording because prior to air our adverts went through the proper approvals process, including the official clearance body Clearcast who have continued to support their original judgement with the ASA”.
“Purplebricks is firmly on the side of the consumer, offering an alternative to the commission based model. As a leader of industry change some noise is inevitable” he said.
DealMakerz is still unsure if CIELA have officially launched as an organisation, last we heard it had problems with insufficient membership and hadn’t achieved a ‘full launch’. A huge swathe of the estate agent industry are independent and they need representation in the market, especially in the face of potentially stifling online competition.
We’re just not sure that calling the CEO of a £500 million property company a ‘slippery conman in an ill-fitting suit’ is the way to go about it. Create a free or non-profit association, grow that network, hold reputable events using members from that network – then utilise your members to create a lobbying push to key influencers in the industry and government.
DMZ doesn’t see where publicly labelling Michael Bruce ‘Del-Boy’ fits in to that tried and tested strategy.
In any case, we now have Michael Bruce branded as Del-Boy and Nick Candy dubbed Ricky Butcher. So who is the property industry’s Grant Mitchell? Actually, don’t answer that.
To read Charlie Wright’s blog in full, click here.