Recently, the Legal Ombudsman released a report which criticises how some legal firms present and explain their fees. This in turn led to clients incurring larger costs than expected dramatically impacting their lives.
The Legal Ombudsman provides a free service to all members of the public and was created to solve legal complaints in a fair and independent way. If you find the legal service you have received to be unsatisfactory, the legal ombudsman has the power to ask the lawyer and firm to put it right. If the ombudsman believes the lawyer provided a reasonable service, they will explain how and why.
Shockingly, complaints about lawyer’s fees represent 20-25% of the problems people go to the ombudsman with. This is why the ombudsman created a report explaining what law firms are failing to do for their consumers and how they can improve their pricing information. The ombudsman also included case studies to demonstrate poor service in relation to the costs information provided.
Mr R’s story (Direct quote)
“Mr R was a first time buyer and to keep his costs down he decided to use an online firm of conveyancers. He looked online to compare costs from different companies, and it seemed to be more straightforward than calling around local law firms to look at who to use when he was buying his house.
The firm he chose sent Mr R a lot of information and estimate for a little more than £650. The final bill was more than four times greater than that. It also included costs for work that wasn’t mentioned in the estimate. Mr R had trouble contacting the firm but was eventually able to complain. The firm agreed to reduce the bill but that still left him with about £1,650 to pay.
Mr R told us that he was upset and confused by both the amount – and because he couldn’t work out where he stood with the firm. The paperwork was so complicated he felt he had to pay or he would get in trouble somehow. Part of why he was upset was because he’d chosen to use this online service as it seemed simpler and more straightforward than a traditional lawyer.”
The Legal Ombudsman requested the conveyancer refund Mr R £300 for the distress caused and explained to Mr R why the remaining fees were a necessary expense. However, it is important to note that Mr R still had to pay double what was originally expected.
Interested in reading the full report? Please click here.
The report is important to In-Deed as it confirms that the morals the company is built upon are ones supported by the Legal Ombudsman.
If you would like to discuss your quote or are confused about the conveyancing process you can contact an In-Deed legal expert who will go through your quote, explain the process and talk about our service. We’ll even review competitor’s conveyancing quotes and help you understand them in greater depth. We can also have your lawyer contact you before you instruct us to discuss the specific details of your conveyancing.
To find out more about In-Deed please call 020 434 0603 to speak to an In-Deed Legal Expert or send us your conveyancing questions and expect a response within two working hours!