Avoid discount conveyancing, says solicitor

Ariane Buteux

March 5, 2008

MTA Solicitors has warned that new entrants to the online conveyancing market could be pulling the wool over clients eyes by quoting low fixed fees but piling on extra costs which could escalate to an amount in excess of £500.

Shared ownership, mortgage and stamp duty fees are all typical added extras heaped on unsuspecting consumers by these shady firms.

In particular, MTA has outlined rule number seven of the Law Society Code of Conduct which stipulates that both solicitors and their agents must be ‘clear and up front with fees’ – with failure to do so putting them in direct breach.

David Green, CEO of MTA Solicitors built on this concern, explaining that achieving the best price should not mean consumers have to compromise on service: “A successful conveyancing department must offer the client a first-class personal service at a competitive price.

“Attempting to provide the service by utilising non-qualified staff with little or no experience and an over-reliance on a case management system will lead to problems. When someone is making one of the biggest purchases of their life we believe they are entitled to have one person allocated to their case, to whom they will have direct access to.”

The firm advises that consumers only sign up to a particular service once they have the final fee outlined in writing, otherwise they run the risk of penalty fees should they wish to back out at a later date.

MTA also stressed that under Law Society ruling, the fee quoted should never include commission payments or referral fees – these should always be separate to the solicitor’s flat fee.

“Customers need to be savvy in this competitive market,” concluded Green. “Realistically, fees should be around £500 for an average house in order to secure the services of a top quality conveyancer.”

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