Government backs making conveyancing fees more transparent

The Government has backed a review by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that called for more competition and transparency in legal services such as conveyancing.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has taken a whole year to respond to the CMA report, which was actually published in December 2016 and called for solicitors to display and explain their fees and services more clearly.

The MoJ noted that in the time it had taken to respond, legal regulators had already put in place work to improve transparency, which it said would be monitored before any wider changes are made.

Responding to the CMA on behalf of the Government, Lord Keen of Elie said: “The study identified that a lack of transparency and consumer understanding, particularly in pricing, service and quality, as well as the range of services available, may be preventing effective consumer choice, impacting on the effective functioning of the market.

“You made a number of detailed recommendations to the regulators to address these issues including, but not limited to, the requirement that they should revise their regulatory requirements and guidance to ensure a minimum level of transparency and to improve the quality and prominence of information on providers’ websites, including information on price, service, redress and regulatory status.

“I am aware that the legal services regulators had previously recognised and begun to address these issues.”

Sheila Kumar, chief executive of the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, welcomed the Government support, adding: “The support from the MoJ for the CMA’s recommendations on price and service information should leave the legal sector in no doubt about the importance of implementing the CMA’s recommendation.

“Work on the transparency of price and service information is progressing well between the regulators.

“It is really important that all of the regulators in the legal services market work together towards a whole-of-market solution.”

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3 Comments

  1. Peter Ambrose (The Partnership)

    This is such fantastic news!!

    I am SO glad that the government has identified this perceived problem.

    Just one nagging doubt … How come they didn’t mention panel managers in this?

    Very curious to see if those law firms that are currently prostituting themselves will offer “full disclosure”…

    Would LOVE to see consumer’s reaction if they did.

    “Dear Daily Mail

    I’ve just bought a house and paid more to the referral fee company than my lawyer.

    Why?

    Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells”

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  2. TwitterSalisPropNews53

    Of all the things wrong with conveyancing, and this is the focus. And an incredibly disrespectful idea, treating my home move as one size fits all with every other home mover.

    I actually want my conveyancer to listen to me when I try to explain the details of my house move, rather than the above proposal ending up having them tell me “We don’t need to know, just look at our price on our website, next customer please”

    Solicitors are already required by the SRA to ensure that that their charges are clearly set out in writing at the very beginning of legal engagement, otherwise, they cannot be recovered. Simple as that. A member of the public asks for a quote at the start, and they are given it.

    (True, only solicitors, as they are far more regulated than any other business offering legal services, as solicitors are the gatekeepers of the legal profession – don’t use a solicitor firm at your risk)

    Every sale and every purchase is different, often vastly. This is why so few conveyancers will disrespect the public by offering website conveyancing quotations. Instead they invite the public to email with their specific facts, so an accurate quote can be provided. Otherwise, it can force the public into receiving a very robotic legal service, where the law firm may end up employing very cheap under trained staff to try and be as accurate as they can in the the legal work, wishing they had not quoted upfront such a ridiculously low price….because their local competitors were charging low and they felt they had to as well…..a race for the bottom of the charging laddar….and we all know what happens when law firms compete on price. We are seeing it with estate agents now. Daft charges and shocking service.

    By encouraging the public to look for price as the critical factor, they will be fooled into thinking – naturally – that the only difference between conveyancers is…price. It is nonsense to think then that is a chance for law firms to explain why their price is different, as this is clearly not happening with estate agents. Low published price is too powerful. Corners are then cut to make the low price possible.

    Now imagine corners being cut on the accuracy of the legal work on the conveyancing done on your house, my house, any of the MPs voting for this idea.

    Instead, fix the real issue, regulate the actual human being offering the conveyancing. The standard of vast numbers of conveyancers is not good enough, that is why there continue to be legal errors, and very slow (many aborting as a result) deals.

     

     

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  3. Emmersons46

    How about: “whatever fee your estate agent is charging we will charge the same” and then list the service offered for this fee.

    Transparency across the entire system as to fees charged and the service provided would be of value to buyers and sellers.

    Imagine if home builders had to state the cost of building a new home so everyone could see the profit they make or if Surveyors had to explain in precise terms what it is they do for their money or if banks had to justify charges??

    As far as house sales/purchases goes the Government makes most out of it, then estate agents, (then any panel manager, if you are stupid enough to be involved with these parasites) and then the conveyancer.

    Rest assured dear reader, once they’ve had their fun with conveyancers-you will be next.

     

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