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By Tom Winnifrith, The Sheriff of AIM | Tuesday 10 October 2017
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from ShareProphets). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.
Leading independent estate agents review website AllAgents.co.uk is taking on Purplebricks (PURP) after it tried to stop it publishing genuine but negative reviews, as we revealed HERE. AllAgents has now launched a £50,000 crowdfunding appeal. I have donated - will you?
In September allAgents suspended the Purplebricks account in an attempt to prevent a legal action, yet it has subsequently received several more letters from Purplebricks’ lawyers threatening litigation. allAgents will reinstate Purplebricks’ account and thus allow all the rfeviews negative and positive to be seen when it has raised enough to fund any legal costs that might ensue.
allAgents’ Director Martin McKenzie, says: “The last thing we want is to go to court. We’ve done everything possible to prevent legal action - apart from yielding to Purplebricks’ demands that we acknowledge the negative reviews about them on our site are fake. They’re not fake, they’re genuine grievances from Purplebricks’ customers. This is about free speech, and Purplebricks are trying to quash it by bullying us into submission. We’re just a small business and they have a £60 million cash pot at their disposal.”
We’ve been inundated with messages of support from both the reviewers and people in the industry. Some suggested we set up a fighting fund, so that we can keep on battling for free speech. Ideally, this money will never be needed, we hope that Purplebricks will finally accept these are genuine reviews. Then we can reinstate their page on allAgents and return the money to our supporters. But if they don’t, we’ll use it to fight Purplebricks in court.”
Purplebricks says it has audited the reviews on the allAgents site, 29% of which they claim to be fake, with a further 23% lacking sufficient detail to authenticate.
McKenzie continues: “We requested a copy of this audit so we could investigate these claims. But Purplebricks' lawyers declined, saying their client ‘did not want to be put to further unnecessary costs.’ We’re puzzled by this comment, as they claim to already have done the work. Furthermore their lawyers’ letters keep coming. Again, we call on Purplebricks to provide us with the results of this audit. If they don’t we can only assume that it simply doesn’t exist.”
allAgents seeks £50,000 to cover its legal fees. The money will be held with allAgents’ legal team. “We hope this fund will never be required. However, until Purplebricks provides the results of their audit or accept these reviews are genuine, by providing an undertaking to allow us to continue hosting their reviews free from the fear of litigation, then it will need to exist. This is about far more than just allAgents, this is about free speech,” McKenzie stated.
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