Class action against Purplebricks to be triggered this month

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A pressure group says it is ready to take legal action against agents including Solihull-based Purplebricks.

Contractors for Justice (C4J) is pursuing a proposed Group Litigation Order against certain online estate agents such as Purplebricks on behalf of hundreds of former workers hired as self-employed estate agents.

The premise of the claim is that, in law, these self-employed agents were in effect employed for the purposes of holiday pay and pension contributions being owed by the company to the individual.

The claim is for as much as 20.7% of each person’s total earnings from the companies that C4J is set to pursue.

C4J has announced it now has enough claimants “to trigger the legal process against Purplebricks.”

A C4J statement says: “Claimants now number in the hundreds and the current cohort will be ‘sealed’ and pre-action papers submitted to the courts from 14th December. Any potential claimants that are considering joining the action have until midnight on 14th December to submit their intention to proceed via the C4J website.”

Each individual submission is anonymous and is accepted on a no win-no fee basis. C4J says that if the claim is not successful, there will be no legal fees to pay.

Individual claims could be worth tens of thousands of pounds, it said.

It has been reported that the C4J GLO may be worth over £20m in compensation payments.

“I’m frankly amazed at the take up,” said C4J spokesman Peter Fletcher.

“From the day that we announced that we were supporting formerly self-employed estate agents in a claim to recompense their holiday pay and statutory pension contributions, my team have been inundated with interest from hundreds upon hundreds of Purplebricks agents in particular.

“Our case is clear. Companies that masquerade their staff as self-employed in order to save themselves huge sums in employment costs will end up simply funnelling that cash back to the individuals that have lost out by being part of such schemes.

“We are now full to the brim with potential claimants and will be shutting the door on this first cohort of petitioners on 14th December. It’s possible that there will be a second cohort at some point in the future but far from certain that this will be possible or needed.”

A statement from Purplebricks said: “We have always taken legal advice in regards to our model – and the advice is very clear that there is no legal basis for this potential action. The service we offer our customers is completely unaffected.”

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