Purplebricks fined nearly $16,000 in Australia over misleading marketing

The U.S. division of the much-hyped company, which promises "low, fixed fees" for clients, says its marketing strategy is different stateside.

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Purplebricks, the fast-growing flat-fee real estate brokerage that launched in the United States just over six months ago, is facing some troubles with advertising in its older markets abroad. The U.K.-based company faced a slap on the wrist for its marketing in the United Kingdom in July. This week, the company's Australia division incurred a A$20,000 (nearly $16,000 U.S.) fine for misleading marketing. The Queensland Office of Fair Trading, an Australian state agency, told Purplebricks it violated the 2014 Australian Consumer Law and the Property Occupations Act. Australian consumers complained about misleading advertising that promised "low, fixed fees." Consumers said they weren't made aware that they had to pay their Purplebricks listing fee even if their property didn't sell or services were canceled. Queensland also penalized Purplebricks for regulatory violations about where in Australia it had a bank account and use of its software. The real estate startup charges ...