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Australia: Discount real estate agency Purplebricks punished for misleading ads

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Affordable British online real estate agency, Purplebricks, has been lightly punished by the Australian consumer agency for its misleading advertisements that state the company provides "low, fixed fees."

The U.K.-based company, which launched in the U.S. six months ago, was fined nearly $16,000 for ads deemed to be misleading to consumers. The Queensland Office of Fair Trading said the ads duped consumers who were charged to post listings even if their property didn’t sell. In the U.S., Purplebricks charges sellers a nonrefundable, upfront fee of $3,200.

The ads — with the theme “save yourself from commisery” — are a play on “commissions” and “misery.” Purplebricks was also fined in the U.K. after boasting of “fees saved.”

In response to the Australian fines, the company has adjusted the wording of its ads in a “small segment” of the market, the company said.

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