The Chief Ombudsman for the conveyancing sector has recently warned that ‘conveyancing factories’ pose a considerable threat to customers as complaints from UK homebuyers increase regarding conveyancing solicitors.
The conveyancing factory
As anybody who has been through the process of buying a property knows, it can be both a stressful and frustrating time – not helped by elusive Conveyancing Solicitors and rushed work.
A recent report named ‘Losing The Plot’, states that residential conveyancing made up 17.5% of the 7,500 complaints dealt with by the Ombudsman’s office in the past 12 months. Complaints include delays, inadequate service and final invoices charging a much higher amount than the original quote.
Referring to schemes such as ‘no sale, no fee’ and large conveyancing companies prioritising volume over quality of work, the Ombudsman, Adam Sampson, has urged Conveyancing Solicitors to recognise the emotional consequences of poor service.
According to reports, a large part of the problem is that huge companies are taking on more clients than can be handled effectively, meaning that Conveyancing Solicitors are forced to cut corners and sacrifice the personal touch in the interests of getting through their workload. Needless to say, for a customer embroiled in an all important house sale or purchase, this factory style service is unsatisfactory and ineffective.
There however appears to be a number of hybrid companies such as Express Conveyancing who manage a panel of high street law firms, offering specialist conveyancing services with customer care being a primary focus – something where traditional firms have always lacked.
Combatting the conveyancing conveyor belt
In order to avoid the frustrations outlined above, it’s important to choose a conveyancing solicitor who has the time and interest to handle your case effectively. When meeting with a potential conveyancer, don’t be afraid to ask candid questions such as:
• Are the specialists on the field of what law service you require?
• Do they charge hourly or use a fixed fee approach?
• How would they communicate? Do they predominantly use electronic means or post?
The right solicitor will be happy to put your mind at rest with these few simple questions and to give you his or her assurance that you will be treated as a priority. If a solicitor is vague or seems reluctant to respond, it may mean that he or she has been instructed to withhold this kind of information – and should be avoided.
When entering into a contract with any professional – and paying for their services – you should expect promises to be honored and to be given full transparency as to how and when the work will be done – and by whom.
Before instructing a solicitor, check them out review sites such as Trust Pilot or Google Reviews to see what previous customers have said about them. Reviews are a good way of weighing up the pros and cons of a solicitor without having to spend a lot of time asking them uncomfortable questions – and you can often open a dialogue with a reviewer.
Despite the doom and gloom highlighted above, it’s not all bad – there are some great Conveyancing Firms out there and, when you find one, make sure you tell the world by leaving a review!