Website suspends Purplebricks reviews page after legal threats

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s largest independent estate agent reviews site allAgents has removed Purplebricks’ page after the online company questioned the authenticity of critical write-ups.

Purplebricks, which is expanding into the United States and Australia, has pitted its no-commission model against Britain’s traditional high street estate agents such as Foxtons and Countrywide.

“Due to repeated threats of legal action forcing the removal of content and negative reviews from our website, we have regrettably taken the unprecedented step in suspending the Purplebricks profile page until further notice,” allAgents said.

All but one of the reviews allAgents has been asked to remove, around half the total for Purplebricks, gave it the lowest one-star rating.

“Purplebricks is proud of its reputation and the quality of the service that it delivers,” the estate agent said on Tuesday.

Shares in Purplebricks have risen more than four-fold since it listed in December 2015 and it has made its consistently positive reviews a focus of its earnings reports.

AllAgents director Martin McKenzie said he believed the reviews queried by Purplebricks were genuine, and that it uses “stringent checks” including verifying email and IP addresses.

“Our business is founded on trust, and we will never let the impartiality of our reviews be compromised in any way,” he said.

Reporting by Alasdair Pal; editing by Alexander Smith